Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

Let me just tell you a little bit about my life the last few months. I had one son in hockey for about six months. There were two practices a week (one on Friday evening) and games every Saturday. Sometimes we'd have to travel up to an hour each way for his two-hour games. On top of that was the holidays. And on top of that we began our remodel project (which will hopefully be done really soon...crossing my fingers). Then in January my other son started basketball which included on average two nights a week. And that went on for about six weeks. So for about six weeks we had basically no weeknights free, our Saturdays were gone and plenty of stuff going on during the day time too.

Keep in mind that this is all vital preparatory information for the recipe that I will share with you today. I had to learn to be very efficient in dinner prep or it wouldn't happen. One of the things that I learned was that I love my electric pressure cooker for those kind of crazy schedules. I used it a lot. Not only as a cooker but also as a warmer to keep the food warm while I was gallivanting around running kids here and there. It's so awesome.

Here's one recipe that I converted to a pressure cooker recipe from a recipe I found at Lulu the Baker. It may not be any more efficient to use the pressure cooker (in fact in this case I think it's not). But it sure is nice when you have like 12.5 minutes to get dinner ready before you have to take someone somewhere. It's called throw it in, push a button and walk away. Then you come back for 2.2 minutes. Just enough time to throw the broccoli in, push a button and leave again. Then around seven that night when you finally get home and everyone is STARVING, you have a hot dinner all ready to go. Saved my life. I should have called this post "Ode to the Cheesy Vegetable Chowder." :)

Well...maybe you're life is just normal (*sigh*) ignore the "busy mom" (a.k.a. pressure cooker) directions and go with the stove top method. Either way you make it, this recipe is packed with vegetables, quick and easy to make. Absolutely divine. Yes, it's one of our very favorites! Hope you enjoy.

What about you? What do you do for dinner on those crazy evening schedules?

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
Printable Recipe

*Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp. butter
1 Cup chopped onions
1 Cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 Cup finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
4 Cups chicken broth
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 Cup water
2/3 Cup milk
2 Cups chopped broccoli
2 heaping Cups shredded cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté over medium heat until veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender. Mix flour with water and add to the soup. Simmer until soup is slightly thickened. Add milk and chopped broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through. Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.

In electric pressure cooker, melt the butter using sauté or brown function. Add onions, carrots, and celery and continue to sauté until veggies are tender. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add chicken broth and potatoes, lock lid in place, and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally (while you're running here and there). Then mix flour with water and add to the soup.  Add milk and chopped broccoli, lock lid back in place and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. Release pressure naturally (running again...). Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.

Recipe Source: Slightly Adapted from Lulu the Baker (increased onions - they are good for ya, and added electric pressure cooker directions)

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