January is National Soup Month. In Wilmington, the cold winter weather begs for homemade soups for dinner. This Loaded Potato Chowder is thick, hearty and satisfying chowder that is sure to warm up the entire family. The chowder is not only health; but quick and easy to prepare. Add a salad and fresh bread and you have a great meal the family will love.
3 large baking potatoes (about 2½ lbs)
3½ cups milk, divided
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter
2-3 green onions with tops (¼ cup sliced)
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Optional toppings such as chopped cooked bacon, sour cream or steamed broccoli florets
Slice potatoes in half lengthwise; place in covered baking dish. Pour ½ cup of the milk over potatoes. Microwave potatoes, covered, on HIGH 11 minutes. Remove baking dish from microwave. Move center potatoes to ends of baker and outer potatoes to center. Cover; microwave on HIGH 8-11 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Remove baking dish from microwave. Coarsely mash potatoes.
Meanwhile, whisk cream cheese until smooth in a small bowl. Slowly add remaining 3 cups milk, whisking until smooth. Add cream cheese mixture and butter to baking. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 3-5 minutes or until mixture is hot. Slice green onions.
Carefully remove baker from microwave. Grate cheddar cheese over chowder; add green onions, salt and black pepper, and mix until cheese is melted. Serve with toppings, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings (8 cups/2 L)