Warm Chowders for Cool Days

Now that the days are getting cooler, a warm dinner really hits the spot at the end of a long, hard day. These chowder recipes are easy to prepare and sure to be a hit with your family.

Corn Chowder

5 slices bacon, diced
1 1/2 c. potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c. water
1 can cream-style corn
2 c. milk
1 tsp. salt

In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain grease, leaving 3 tbsp. in the pan. Add onion slices and cook until lightly browned. Add potatoes and water and cook until potatoes are tender (10 to 15 minutes). Add corn, milk, salt, and pepper. Cook until heated through. Top each serving with bacon and butter.

Sausage Bean Chowder

2 lb. link sausage
2 cans (16 oz. each) kidney beans
1 can (1 lb. 13 oz.) tomatoes, broken up
1 qt. water
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 c. diced potatoes
1/2 green pepper, chopped

In a skillet, cook sausage until brown. Pour off fat. In large kettle or crock pot combine kidney beans, tomatoes, water, onion, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and pepper. Add sausage, simmer for at least an hour. If using crock pot you may simmer all day. The longer this soup cooks the better it is. Add potatoes and green pepper. Cook, covered, until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf.

Ham Chowder

4 large carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion
4 large potatoes
5 cups water
4 cups diced ham
2 tbsp. butter
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
Garnish with paprika and chopped parsley

In a stock pot or soup kettle, cook carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes in 5 cups water until tender (about 20 minutes). Add ham, butter, salt, and pepper. Blend flour into milk until smooth, stir into soup. (Warm milk in microwave before adding flour). Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer, partially covered, 10-20 minutes to develop flavor. Pour soup into bowls, sprinkle top with paprika and chopped parsley.

Salmon Chowder

1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can salmon
3 tbsp. butter
1 c. onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped finely
1 c. broccoli, chopped finely
2 tsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and broccoli and saute for about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and enough water to barely cover the potatoes. Stir in salmon with juices. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender (15 to 20 minutes). Add cream of mushroom soup and Mrs. Dash and stir until soup is well blended. Heat but do not boil.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What’s for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, gardening, organizing tips, home decorating, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com

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