We’ve been outside playing in a winter wonderland for a good part of the cold day–it has snowed, iced, sleeted and generally shut down our hilly city in the South. This kind of a day calls for SOUP. And potato soup has one added benefit–it’s warm milk, people! This meal is engineered for the toddlers who need to eat up their warm (milk) soup and drowsily settle into an early bedtime.
WARNING: if your only concept of potato soup is a thick pasty canned version, or an expensive heavy cream restaurant version, the first taste of this soup might be a little scary for you. This is a basic, simple potato soup that a person can make at home with pantry staples. Cream adds a lot of expense, and cholesterol. Don’t be afraid–just try it with an open mind.
First, chop up your RED potatoes into bite sized pieces. I leave the peels on for nutrition, color, and texture. Cook your potatoes in a big pot of heavily salted water. How many potatoes? Well, how many will you eat? Our family loves this soup, so sometimes I will chop up the whole bag so we can have leftovers.
While my potatoes are coming to a boil, I make a little “noodle” called kuchen. I believe this recipe came down from the Frugal Gourmet or from my mom, or both. Anyway, the kids LOVE these kuchen noodles. Basically, I crack one or two eggs in a bowl, beat the egg and then add salt and pepper. I also love to add chives (or wild green onions) if I have them. At our old house, we would have wild onions growing all winter and spring. (Gosh, I miss them now!–although the yard always smelled like onions after Ed would mow.) I love the bright green color. Then I add flour and stir until it thickens up. I keep adding flour until it forms a solid little mass. As soon as the potatoes are boiling, I drop small shaggy pieces of this noodle mixture into the pot. I bring it back up to a boil and then add 1 12 oz. package of frozen “veggie soup veggies.” Basically, this is a premixed pack of veggies that one can use for soup base. I get the one from kroger for “gumbo” because I like the okra and red pepper in it. I buy it on sale when I can for $1. I just cook the potatoes, kuchen, and frozen veggies until the potatoes are done to perfection–not mushy, but tender. At this point, drain off the water and then add milk just to cover the top of the potatoes and veggies. Gently simmer and add salt, pepper and perhaps onion powder until the flavor suits you. Of course, you can add a slurry of flour and water to thicken your soup. Just be careful to babysit the soup. Burnt milk–yuck to smell, yuck to eat, and terrifically yucky to try to clean the pot.
A word about crackers: most saltines are made with hydrogenated vegetable oil. We try to avoid this. Don’t believe the zero grams trans fat label. IT’s A LIE! If the ingredient list says it has hydrogenated vegetable oil, then you are eating trans fats. Pepperidge Farms’ Goldfish crackers are trans-fat free but also pricey. They do taste great, if one can afford it.
The cost for this meal–less than $7
2 eggs $.25
1 c. flour $.15
1 pkg. frozen veggies $1
1/2 gallon milk $1.50
Of course, you can certainly add bacon or ham to this soup.
Happy supper, happy leftovers, and happy early bedtime for the sleepy babies!