Saturday, January 22, 2011

Potato Cheese Soup and Herb Bread

Today Jeremy had to work, so my Saturday has been a 'home day.'  What a relaxing one it has been though.  We stayed in our pjs late into the day while we watched 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse', which I can watch over and over with the boys-not so much because of the show, but because I love watching the boys dance and sing along and within a few minutes I am joining in.  We read books, chased each other around the house being airplanes, robots, monsters and sharks and then fell to the ground in exhaustion that only turned into a tickle fight!  What is life, if you can't be silly ESPECIALLY with your kids?!
When Braydon went down for his nap, Cole asked if we could cook ... my favorite request!  We started with great ambition.  We decided to make potato soup, homemade bread and start the prep for apple crisp.  I can not express enough how much fun I have cooking with the boys, it doesn't hurt hearing Cole say, "Mommy, I am having so much fun with you right now!"  Melts my heart and keeps me going for more.  We measured, poured, counted and smelled everything.  Cole must get the need to smell everything from me, which makes us a perfect pair!  While on the topic, does it get any better than smelling fresh bread bake??!

We began to get our ingredients ready to start our soup.  If you have time to start cooking early in your day and have a crock pot, do it!  The flavors mix well and you don't have to worry about the stress of what to make as you grow tired in the evening.

So, Cole helped me get the potato masher and our 5 pound bag of potatoes ...

We peeled them and set them aside to cube ....

Once the 5 pounds of potatoes were peeled and cubed, we decided to take a break and peel apples to prep them for Apple Crisp.  We peeled them and cut them into wedges, put them in a bowl and covered them in lemon juice.  The lemon juice keeps the cut apples fresh and 'coats' them from turning brown, and best of all, the lemon flavor tastes so yummy when you bite into the apple!

We covered the apples and put them in the refrigerator for later tonight or tomorrow morning.  

Back to the potato soup ...
We placed the cubed potato pieces into the crock pot and added 32 oz of chicken stock.

Cole did such a great job!  
We added 1 chopped onion, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper and a few dashes of TJ's 21 seasoning salute

We then warmed 2 cups of milk and poured it into the crock pot along with 1 cup of cheese.  I used a medley of cheeses, but you can add whatever you want.  We finished it off with 2 tbsp of parsley.

Cole was an awesome helper as he stirred the soup together, very careful not to spill!  
Once all ingredients were mixed together, we set the crock pot on high to begin cooking.  About 3 hours later, we checked in on the soup to begin mashing the potatoes.  While the milk and stock create a broth for the potatoes to soften, the cubes begin to 'mash' and at this time, both Cole and Braydon got super excited ... I let them each mash away!  

They both did a great job and with Braydon's every 'mash' he would whisper, "careful, soft ... careful, soft."  We set the soup to cook for a few hours longer to continue to soften the potato and let the flavors blend and get creamy.

While the soup continued to cook, Cole helped me make our bread.  The quick way to do homemade bread is to cheat and use a bread maker, and that is exactly what we did!  We decided 'Herb Bread' would compliment our soup nicely.  
In a skillet, we melted butter ( you can also use oil) and added 1/3 c of chopped onion.  We let it simmer until the onions began to caramelize a bit, without turning too brown.  Let the onions completely cool.  In the mean time, we added 2 c of flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dill, 1/2 tsp basil, and 1/2 tsp rosemary to the bread machine bowl.  We then finished by adding 3/4 c of fat free half and half.  Once all the ingredients were added, we sprinkled 1 1/2 tsp of yeast in the bowl and clicked it into place.  We baked the bread on a quick rise setting so the 1 pound loaf we made would bake evenly.  2 hours later, our bread was done!
The bread didn't last 5 minutes before we decided to taste it, we had to make sure it turned out ok :)

It was nice and fluffy, making a great 'before dinner' snack, leaving enough to have with our soup.

We topped our soup with some cheese and are having 'dinner and a movie' while we wait for Daddy to come home tonight.
Enjoy your families tonight and happy eating!!


  1. your the cutest! The soup and bread looks yummy, makes me want to get a bread machine!

  2. Melinda, the bread machine was a wedding present and it gets SO much use ... at least for our family, it is an appliance that has been put to use! The best part is you just throw it all together and let the machine do the kneading, rising and baking ... totally worth it!!