This is a recipe that uses regular pantry ingredients, comes together quickly and has no cream or sour cream for added cost or fat. It does rely on the bacon for richness and flavor, although you could get by with a little less in the recipe. I think about this recipe when milk and/or potatoes are on sale, although it’s always inexpensive. Ready in about 25 minutes, it’s wonderful on a crisp fall or cold winter day!
If you make this with a really good homemade chicken stock, it will rival any soup out there; In a pinch, I’ve made it with boxed, and even with chicken base, and it’s still really good, and still really cheap. To my mind, this is so different from canned potato soup, it’s a whole ‘nuther animal (or vegetable, in this case!)
This recipe can easily be doubled, but doesn’t freeze well. The cost is $1.66 for six servings, for 28 cents per serving. (Look below: Had I shopped a little better, I could have saved an additional 66 cents and served it for 17 cents per serving!)
Hearty Potato Chowder, serves 6, cost $1.66
- 6 slices of bacon, diced
- 3 T chopped onion
- 5 medium potatoes (about 1 3/4 lb) diced in 1/2″ dice
- 2 medium carrots, diced finely
- 2 cups water or chicken broth
- 4 cups 2 percent milk
- 1 t salt – you may not need the salt, it depends on the chicken broth, so taste.
In a large saucepan, cook bacon until just crisp, remove and set aside. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat and saute onion and carrots in the remainder. Add a little butter if you need more fat.
Add potatoes and water or stock and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add milk and warm through, but do not boil. Salt if needed.
Remove 2 cups of the mixture and blend, then add back to the pan, or use a hand masher and roughly mash a bit of the potatoes until it reaches the consistency you like.
Time & Money Saving Strategies:
For pricing, remember to use your coupon matching sites for your local stores. My favorite is Pocket Your Dollars in my area, but every store has a group of enthusiastic couponers who can point you to the best bargains. Don’t be discouraged if your prices are higher at first – just keep shopping the best sales and follow the strategies and you’ll get there! Check under Saving on Basic Ingredients for more detailed information and storage hints – use <control f> to search each page to bring you to the item you want to check out.
- Bacon: Often on sale. It was $.48 cents a pound on sale last week with a coupon, so this recipe could have cost less. It freezes well and takes up very little room in the freezer, so stock up at the best prices. When I’m adding to recipes for everyday, I buy the least expensive I can find. I paid $1.98 pound on sale. Regular bacon has about 18 slices in a pound, so my total is 66 cents.
- If cutting from a cold slab, try taking it out of the package and slicing it on the perpendicular while it’s whole, you’ll need about 1/3 of the package.
- I often make this after I’ve had bacon for breakfast or a BLT on a previous day. Just save a few slices aside, crumble and wrap. (It’s less likely to be someone’s snack that way.) Pour the fat into a small container so you can saute your onions in it. The bacon will keep several days and the fat indefinitely in the refrigerator.
- Potatoes: Buy on sale: This is a good recipe to have in mind when you see the larger bags on sale. Keep your potatoes well aired and in a cool dark place. I take mine out of the plastic and put them in a heavy grocery bag and roll the top down. I bought 10 lbs of potatoes for $1.99, (and of course, Aldi’s had them the week after for $1.19.) Watch for sales around any holiday and St. Patrick’s day. Five potatoes are about 1 3/4 lb so factoring out my $1.99 price, I spent about 35 cents.
- Onion: Again, buy on sale; they keep well. If you’ve bought too many onions to use, don’t let them go bad. Slice or dice them, give them a quick saute and portion into ziplocs labeled “onions” for casseroles. You’ve just saved yourself a step for next time you make a dish. They say not to store next to your potatoes. My onion was three cents.
- Chicken Stock: If you read me regularly, I make my own with scraps of vegetables and bones – here’s the basic recipe I use for Best Turkey or Chicken Stock - it’s not particular and though it simmers for a long time, the burner is barely on – I just count it as free.
- Carrots – Often less expensive in 2 pound bags, they often go on sale more in 1 pound bags. I always have some in my fridge. They keep well and I use them to sneak in a little nutrition in a lot of recipes as well as for a vegetable on their own. My cost for these $.49 per pound (2 medium are about four ounces) about 12 cents.
- Milk - Always on sale somewhere in my area for $1.98 a gallon, sometimes we have really great prices and I buy more than usual. Think of recipes like this one when you need to use it up. (Puddings are another recipe that need a lot of milk.) I substitute the different percentages in many recipes, the lower percentages will give you a less rich soup. Because this recipe is thickened with the blended potatoes, it will still have a nice, thick consistency. Milk has 16 cups to a gallon, my cost is 50 cents.
Nutrition: Per Serving: 210 Calories; 6g Fat (27.1% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 18mg Cholesterol; 554mg Sodium
Your Own Spin: A few green onions or chives would be a welcome garnish. Try a little grated cheese over each bowl. Omit the bacon, and substitute ham for a different flavor. Of course, you could use richer milk products: half and half or even cream to finish the dish.
My Pay Off: A soup that is pretty much a meal on its own (simply add a muffin or a hearty piece of bread, perhaps a salad) at a cost that pretty much beats out canned.
- Potato and Bacon Chowder (dietforfoodies.wordpress.com)