Crockpot Corn, Ham and Potato Chowder

I do believe it’s been over a year since I last posted a recipe, but a lot has happened since then!  In the last 9 months I got engaged, quit my job, packed up my house, moved across the country, and got married (pic below).  Aside from the fact that I’m married to and live with my best friend, there is so much more time to cook and try new recipes.  In fact, we’ve hardly eaten the same recipe twice since we’ve been married.


Photo credit:  Picture a Moment in Time (Katrina Sebastian)

A few new favorite recipes are:

Last night we had book club at our house and I wanted to make these Ham and Cheese Sliders, but had 2 problems.

  1. Hawaiian bread is really expensive.
    Solution: make homemade buns (click here for a GREAT recipe).
  2. Lunchmeat is disgusting, especially ham lunch meat, and it’s not good for you.  Ground up who-knows-what mixed with way too much salt and a bunch of preservatives and then formed into a loaf.  Why would you want to eat that?!
    Solution: cook a ham and enjoy the leftovers.

After cooking the ham I ended up with plenty of ham slices for the sandwiches as well as about 6 c. of diced ham AND a meaty ham bone.  The ham bone and some of the diced meat went into the freezer for pea soup (recipe coming soon), but I wanted to make a chowder with the rest of it.  After going through a bunch of recipes there didn’t seem to be anything that wasn’t loaded with all kinds of cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, etc. so I came up with my own recipe and hope you enjoy this creamy goodness as much as we did!




  • 4 1/2 c. ham, diced
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4-5 russet potatoes, cubed (skins on)
  • 1 bag frozen white corn
  • 4 c. low-fat milk
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 1 T. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 1 c. chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in a little olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Dump onion and garlic into crockpot and add potatoes, corn, milk, 4 c. chicken stock, thyme and ham.  Cook on low for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, dissolve 2/3 c. flour in 1 c. chicken stock and add to soup.  Stir to combine and cook for another hour.  We had enough soup for dinner plus 2 1/2 quarts for the freezer and a day of leftovers for the hubs’ lunch.

PS – We got an All-Clad 7 qt. crockpot with an aluminum insert for a wedding gift, and it’s AMAZING.  You can sauté in the insider right on the stove and then go straight from stove to crockpot to finish your recipe.  Check this thing out here!


Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

My brother, Mike, lives in my basement and is the most spoiled tenant EVER.  I feel guilty when I leave on business trips and can’t cook him dinner, so I’ve been freezing meals for him.  That said, in my quest to eliminate as many preservatives as possible from my cooking I’ve become anti-cream soup and, thereby, largely anti-casserole.  Needless to say, Mike has been enjoying a lot of homemade soups. 🙂

This recipe is one of the first I made in my new house and I believe we’ve gone through 5 of 6 pots of it.  I’ve got my friends hooked on it, and Mike’s friends hooked on it.

Here’s the thing… the rice makes it!  I tried making it with plain brown rice, but it’s got to be Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Blend.  No substitutions.


  • 1 lg. onion, dicedBrown Rice
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 3 lg. celery stalks, diced (save the leaves)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c. Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Blend
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (I love lemon so I usually use the juice of a whole lemon)
  • 1/3 c. italian parsley and leaves from celery stalks, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauté vegetables and garlic in olive oil.  Once onion is translucent and celery starts to become tender add stock and rice.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until rice is tender.  Add chicken, herbs, and  salt and pepper to taste.


Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup… minus a lot of the fat

I just looked at the date on my last post here, and it’s been almost an entire year since I posted a recipe.  I’ve been working, traveling, working, teaching, working… oh, and I bought a house.  I’ve actually been cooking quite a bit and have a bunch of new recipes I’d like to document here so that they’re findable.  And, because I think you’ll enjoy some of these too!

In the course of my traveling for work I’ve eaten out a lot more than normal.  I was at Panera on one of the trips and, while it sounded really good, had to deny myself Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup because I know it’s terrible for you.  I got home and went in search of a broccoli cheese soup recipe.  Lo and behold, I found a recipe claiming to be Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup.  The problem?  It called for half and half, 1 1/2 sticks of butter, and a lot of cheese.

We swapped the half and half for skim milk, used 3/4 c. butter and 3/4 c. olive oil, and went with low-fat cheese.  And guess what?!  It’s AWESOME.  Enjoy!


  • 1 T. olive oilbroccoli cheese soup
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 6 c. skim milk
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 4 broccoli crowns, chopped
  • 3 c. shredded carrots
  • 12-18 oz. low-fat shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions in olive oil until translucent.  Set aside.

Combine flour, olive oil, and butter and whisk for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add milk and chicken stock.  Bring to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Add onions, broccoli, and carrots.  Cook over low flame for 30-45 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

Remove from heat.  Add cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite Mexican places on the South Side of Chicago, Carbón, just started serving Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I’m slightly addicted, but can’t afford to go there all the time because it’s $4 for a small bowl.  So… I decided to make it.  It’s super easy!  I found a recipe on and, of course, doctored it a little.  Here’s the recipe with a few of my edits.


  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 5 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
  • 3 c. frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 c. chopped onion
  • 2 1/2 T. lemon juice
  • 3 c. chunky salsa
  • tortilla chips and shredded mexican blend cheese for garnish

Place chicken and onion in a large pot and sauté until chicken is cooked through and onion becomes transparent.  Add cumin and chili powder, then remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce burner to low and simmer for 30 more minutes.

To serve, crush tortilla chips into bottom of bowl, pour soup over top, and then sprinkle with cheese and more crushed tortilla chips.  Serves 10-12.

I wanted my soup a little thicker, so I dissolved 3 heaping T. cornstarch in a little cold water (like making gravy from drippings) and slowly stirred it into soup that I had brought back up to a boil.  Don’t do this until soup is done and you know the end consistency.  Also, start by adding half the cornstarch mixture, check consistency, and add more if you’d like.

NOTE: This would work well in a crock pot.  Throw raw, uncut chicken breasts into crock pot and cover with remaining ingredients.  Leave on low while you’re at work and then when you get home take the chicken breasts out, shred, and add  back in.