New Year's Pantry Challenge, The name of the game is flexibility, Day 8

Today's Menu:

Fruit Smoothie (Persimmon, Orange Juice, Raw Milk, Kiwi, Flaxseed)
Leftover french toast
Scrambled eggs

Wheat Berry Salad
Sliced Apple
Sourdough Toast
Hard-boiled Eggs


Sweet Potato Fries
Sourdough Toast with Marinara & Ricotta Cheese
Sliced Oranges
Chocolate Truffle Peppermint Cookies

It's kind of funny that I wrote about my Meal Plan yesterday because today I already rearranged my plan. I guess that's why it's important to have wiggle room; life happens. Tonight I had my Writer's Group, which meets once a month. Our family was invited to a Monday Night Football party as well. I sent Ericlee and the girls to the football fiesta with Sweet Potato Fries (since they were to bring finger foods to share). Meanwhile, I ditched my plan to make Potato-Cheese Soup and opted for a simple sandwich with leftover marinara sauce and ricotta cheese I had in the fridge. This afforded me some extra time to work on my writing and bake some cookies for the ladies in my group. (Yeah, I know Christmas is over but my tree is still up and I needed one last hurrah.)

I decided to work on the Potato-Cheese Soup tonight before bed so it would be ready for lunch tomorrow when our friends the Toslands are coming over. The winter months are a perfect time for experimenting with soups and chilis; they also make great leftover for lunches throughout the week. I scored a bag of potatoes at Fresh & Easy a few weeks ago for 33 cents. Yep, you read that right. I'm all about the deal.

I have a fabulous recipe for Potato Cheese Soup that my friend gave me years ago. It's something like what they serve at Marie Callender's restaurant. As I looked over the recipe, I realized I didn't have the chicken broth it called for, and I didn't want to use the 16 oz. of cheese it required. (My girls are little mice and I have to ration out my cheese this week.) I decided it was time to make my own Potato Soup Recipe with the ingredients in the pantry. A creamy, chowder-like soup sounded like the perfect comfort food for a cold winter's afternoon.

If you're the type who likes to follow a recipe line by line, here you go. Otherwise, you can review the basic idea and use what's in your pantry or winter garden. I can imagine leeks or chopped kale or even sweet potatoes adding something interesting to this recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of those. I chose to make the cheese my soup's garnish so I didn't have to use up expensive cheese but still got that comfort-food-melty-goodness on top. (My girls were fooled.) Enjoy the journey.

Potato-Corn Chowder

-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 large yellow onion, sliced
-6 cups or about 3 lbs. russet potatoes, cubed
-1 purple carrot, chopped
-1 orange carrot, chopped
-1 teaspoon paprika
-2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-1 teaspoon celery seed
-2 tablespoons dried parsley
-3 cups water
-4 cups milk
-4 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
-1 15-oz. can corn or 2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1. Saute onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
2. Add potatoes and carrots. Sweat in pot about 15 minutes.
3. When vegetables are tender, add water and spices (paprika, salt, pepper, celery seed, parsley).
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Meanwhile, stir together flour and milk. Add to soup pot and boil 5 minutes.
6. Lower heat and simmer until liquid thickens. Add corn.
7. Serve with garnishes sprinkled on top.

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