After Sandy hit the northeast, Barb at Creative Culinary proposed that bloggers might support those affected by Sandy by posting a comfort food recipe that you might take to a friend in need and give a donation to the Red Cross. You might consider donating money or time, or even giving blood. There are host of ways to get involved at the Red Cross website!
When I have friends who are in need of a meal, I like to bring Loaded Baked Potato Soup with some fresh baked bread and a salad. It's really simple and tastes great. Sometimes I bake the from scratch, and sometimes I use frozen dough if I'm in a hurry! You can make this soup in a crock pot (my favorite way!) or in a pot on the stove. I don't EVER use exact measurements in this recipe, but I have tried (for your sake!) to quantify it. I added a few subs that could make this vegan or vegetarian as well. Maybe add a fruit plate to round it out :) Of course, cookies are good too!
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
6-8 potatoes, diced (any kind works, you decide if you want skins or not too!)
1T of minced garlic (diced onions, carrots, and/or celery are optional add ins here).
4T butter or olive oil
2t thyme (may be omitted)
water or any desired broth (veggie? chicken?)
salt and pepper to taste
1/8- 1/4 c potato flakes (optional)
1/2 -1 c milk or soy milk or half and half
In crock pot: Add diced potatoes, garlic, and butter (may be omitted) to crock pot. Add water or broth to cover potatoes. Sometimes I like to add about 2 teaspoons of thyme for a nice aromatic flavor. Cook on hi for 4 hours or lo for 6-8 hours.
In pot: Saute garlic (and onion, carrots, and/or celery if using) in butter or olive oil until soft. Add diced potatoes and water or broth to cover potatoes. Add 2 teaspoons of thyme if desired. Cook on medium until potatoes are soft.
Step 2: Mash cooked potatoes (I like to leave a few chunks in there). Add milk (or substitution) and potato flakes until you like the consistency and color. Really, that is how I do it. I'm sorry if this is vague, but that is how I make it. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3: Bake a loaf of fresh bread (from scratch or frozen) and bring real butter for it- honey butter anyone?
Step 4: Package and deliver: The following"fixins" can be put in disposable or reusable/recyclable containers or left in their original packaging when possible. These are just possible ideas. I'm sure you have some yummy ideas for "fixins" too! I like to put everything in containers I do not want back, so they can be recycled and don't have to be washed and returned. Then I put it all in a big box for delivery. I like to add a card too, and would't a hand made dish cloth or towel or hot pad be cute to go with it?
bacon bits (for a vegan, go ahead and fry up some tempeh "bacon")
green onions or chives
bag of salad for a side
croutons (for the soup or the salad)
fruit plate or cookies for dessert
P.S. This becomes Corn Chowder if you add corn and cheese instead of the "fixins". Sneaky, huh?