Lightened and Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Loaded Potato Soup_1 on Whisk Together

Book Update:  I finished “Divergent” and “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth this weekend.  Yes, 1000 pages. But they are young adult books… so it’s more like 500 pages, right?  Well anyway, if you liked “Hunger Games”, then you will probably love these books, too.  Or if you can hold off, the third book in the trilogy comes out in October and then you can read all 3 books in a row without waiting!  I think I would end up in the Erudite society.  But the good society, not the corrupt version.

Positive Psych this week is discussing Spiritual Evolution and how religion has changed over the centuries.  Some really interesting quotes:
-“Over the last two thousands years literate humans ‘forgot’ how to think with the brain with which they were born.”
-“If the universe were just about humans, it would be a terrible waste of space.”
and I learned that all of our organs mature by age 20… except for the brain.  It matures around age 60.  Well, I’m halfway there at least. 🙂

Recipe Update: Here is another hit from the America’s Test Kitchen book “Comfort Food Makeovers”.  This is one of my favorite soups to get at a restaurant.  Though the loaded potato soup at O’Charleys is much thicker… I still liked this one a lot and loved the trick on using the potato skins in the bacon grease.  Hey, it’s there, so you might as well use it!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (Light)
serves 6

3 slices bacon, chopped (I cut mine into bits with kitchen shears – easy peasy)
1 and 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled but keep the peelings for 2 of the potatoes and chop them
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 Tb. flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
1 sprig fresh thyme (this is out of season for me, so I used 1/8 tsp. dried thyme)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt (I used Fage!)
2 oz. light cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
salt and pepper
2 scallions, sliced thin

1.  In a great big pot:  cook the bacon.   Remove bacon and keep the grease!
2.  Put the potato skins that you kept into the bacon grease and cook those about 8 minutes.  Take them out and put them with the bacon.
3.  Put your chopped onion in the same pot with the bacon fat.  Cook around medium heat until soft – 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic- cook 30 seconds.  Add flour – cook 1 minute.  Add broth and stir that in little by little.
4.  Add potatoes, mustard and thyme.  Simmer and put the heat on medium low.  Put the lid on it and cook about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are done.  (The book said 7 minutes, but mine took longer.)
5.  Take out the thyme sprig if you used fresh stuff.  Take out half of your soup and put that in a blender and blend that until smooth.  Or if you don’t want any chunks…. you could puree all of it.  I liked the chunks though.  So, I pureed half.  Add that back into the pot.
6.  Add in your half and half.  Temper the yogurt:  add a little hot soup to the yogurt to bring up the temperature.  Then, add all that into the soup.  Stir!
7.  Add your cheese and salt and pepper.  Stir!
8.  And your done!  It isn’t as complicated as the steps read.  The bacon, fried potato skins and scallions go on top of the individual bowls of soup.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

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