Creamy Ham ‘n’ Cheddar Chowder

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In anticipation of the rapidly approaching holiday season, next week will be spent eagerly preparing in all the quintessential ways: decorating and cleaning the house for guests, planning menus and buying groceries (and groceries and more groceries!). Recently, I’ve also been thoughtfully planning for when my favorite time of year is, sadly, over.

A common side effect of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, besides some extra inches around the waist, is tons of leftovers. I really hate seeing all that delicious food go to waste, so every year I try to find new and creative ways to utilize every last scrap.  This recipe is the perfect way to make use of that uneaten holiday ham! Loaded with veggies (even carrots!) and a delectible creamy base, one batch of chowder makes plenty to feed the entire extended family for an encore feast. But feel free to halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.

Creamy Ham & Cheddar Chowder

  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • 4 cups peeled, cubed Butter Gold or Yukon Gold potatoes (cubes about ½” to ¾”)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (I buy shredded carrots and chop those in thirds)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 cans corn (or about 3 cups fresh)
  • 4 cups cubed cooked ham

In a large pot, bring water, potatoes, carrots, and garlic to a boil. Stir in salt, garlic salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the ham cubes and corn. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in cornstarch until fully combined. Add the milk to the butter/cornstarch mixture and whisk together. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cheddar cheese and stir until melted.

Pour milk mixture into the large pot of ham and vegetables and stir to combine. Heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until read to serve. Serve topped with extra cheddar cheese and a small slice of bread or pita, if desired.

Namas-tasty!

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Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2014-02-01 09.17.49WOW, I don’t know about you but I’ve had about as much as snow as I need for a lifetime this winter! If I have to dig out my car from a mountain of snow one more time…. I don’t even want to see the movie Frozen, which everybody (well, mostly those of the age 3-11 demographic, as that’s pretty much the majority of the folks that I hang out with these days) claims is the movie of the decade!

Pretty much the ONLY advantage of cold, snowy, drizzly, wet, slushy weather is that I get to bake to my hearts content. Not only does it warm my kitchen (AKA my entire apartment, since it’s basically just one big room), but, as I like to think, it gives me a little extra insulation 🙂

I decided during the last storm to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to make them a little more hearty (and healthy) by adding some oats and, again, substituting the vegetable oil for applesauce (yes, I know, there is still butter in the recipe. Sometimes you just have to indulge!). These turned out super yummy and were a major mood boost/substitute for sunshine; I hope you try them out at home as well!

2014-01-27 17.24.43Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats (I typically use quick cook oats but only had old fashioned on hand this time; you can use either. With old fashioned the cookies still turned out fine, they just have a slightly crunchier consistency)
  • 6 ounces (half a bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease cookie sheets.

2014-01-27 17.18.33Melt butter in the microwave and cool slightly to avoid cooking the eggs. Add the applesauce, sugar, brown sugar and eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Add the oats and chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Drop onto cookie sheets in heaping teaspoon size dollops, about 1 1/2 inches apart.

2014-01-27 17.54.25Bake on the top oven rack until the edges just start to turn brown and the center is barely set–about 12 minutes or so. Time will vary slightly by oven.

Keep an eye on them, and rotate the pan halfway through if they look like they are browning unevenly.

Namas-tasty!