18 October 2010

This is a recipe adapted from one I read in a new cookbook, The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. The author has a food blog, Coconut and Lime, where she posts her original recipes. The book is great, because it's an entire cookbook of slow cooker recipes and not one of them includes cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient! The recipes are all healthy and very creative.

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup

½ large onion, diced
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup sour cream
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup green onion, sliced

Place the onions, potatoes, water, and salt into a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 hours, or high for 4 ½ hours.

With a ladle, remove some of the cooking liquid and set aside. Either mash potatoes using a potato masher (for a chunkier soup), or puree using a stick blender (for a smoother soup). Add more cooking liquid until soup is desired consistency. Stir in the cheese, sour cream, bacon crumbles, and green onion.

Garnish with more cheese, bacon, and green onion, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Okay, so my version isn't quite as healthy as the one in the book. I increased the sour cream (reduced-fat is fine), cheese, and bacon. I know, I know, but it's cold outside and I need comfort food! :) The other thing I changed is the amount of salt. The recipe in the book called for ¼ tsp. ¼ tsp for 4 large potatoes? Who could eat that and not find it bland?

Overall, I loved this soup. Mashing it with a potato masher was my idea; I like a few chunks of potato in my soup and I didn't really feel like digging out the stick blender. Taking the cooking liquid out was my idea too; it just looked so watery before I mashed the potatoes that I was worried it would be too runny. So I took about two cups out and saved it. Then after mashing, I started adding it back, and actually ended up adding all of it back. But it's a good way to customize the consistency. I loved the raw green onions in it; it really made it taste like a loaded baked potato to me. But Jim doesn't like raw onions, so I only put them in my serving. Then I chopped up a few more and put them in a container in the fridge for when I had leftovers.

I'm sure I'll be making this again throughout the fall and winter. I had planned to serve this soup with sandwiches, but when it was done, it looked so good that we had no interest in sandwiches and ate the soup all by itself.

Again, I highly recommend this cookbook if you are a slow cooker user. I found about 30 recipes in there that I want to try eventually!

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