Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Lighter Loaded Potato Soup.

Today is Halloween which means tomorrow kicks off the start of the Thanksgiving season. This is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year. The anticipation of seeing family members that live far away, decorating the house, cooking (& eating) wonderful food, hearing the fireplace crackle, filling my home with the scents of the season, and pulling warm sweaters and boots out of storage to wear....not to mention the sounds of Christmas music that will soon penetrate the house. I love it! A few years ago, I invited some friends and family over the day before Thanksgiving. I fixed a huge pot of potato soup, mini mexican corn muffins, and my favorite salad (recipe in September archives). It was really very simple to put together. We did it at lunch so the kids were free to run and play outside and the adults stayed inside and visited. I had a chocolate pound cake for dessert, but hardly anyone wanted it because the soup was so hearty and filling. It was just a wonderful time and really kicked the Holiday season off for me. I hope to do something very similar this year. The fact is, you can't go wrong with potato soup. It's a proven crowd pleaser. Today I'm giving you a recipe for a lower fat version of the soup I made. It is just as good and filling with the added health benefit.  I recently read a book called The Reluctant Entertainer (I bought off of Sandy, the author, gives some great ideas to take the fear out of entertaining. Plus, she's got a wonderful website called I hope you can plan to do something like this over the course of this month, even if it is just inviting your next door neighbor over. Practice hospitality. It's a dying art in our culture today. Make your company feel wanted and welcomed. That's all that really counts. Your house doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to have a culinary degree. Just be yourself and let your guests know they are important to you. Isn't that the purpose of having people over? Okay, enough of that. Here's the recipe for Lighter Potato Soup adapted from Cooking Light October 2010. I got the photo and adapted recipe from Tessa at This recipe serves four. However, it can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled to accommodate your group, but cook the potatoes as outlined in batches of 4 so that they will be properly done. You will need 4 (6 ounce) red potatoes, 2 t. olive oil, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 3 T. all-purpose flour, 2 cups 1% low-fat milk (divided), 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. black pepper, 3 bacon slices (fried & crumbled), 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 4 t. thinly sliced green onions. Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on high for 13 mins. or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly. While potatoes cook, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute′ 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cups milk and add to broth and onion mixture. Then add in remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often, being careful to not let the milk boil over. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper. Scoop potato in soup and discard skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup using a potato masher. It's important to taste it at this point. It may need more salt. Under seasoning is probably one of the biggest mistakes made when cooking. Potatoes are about as bland as you can get. They need salt. Make sure it's seasoned to your liking, but don't go overboard. Remember your toppings (like the bacon and cheese) will add a little salt too.  Ladle soup into four bowls and top with cheese, green onions, and bacon. You can even put various toppings out in bowls and let your guests decide how they want to garnish their soup. This is a good one to serve on a cold day. After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year. Right? Let's start acting like it and spread some of our blessings around.

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