Corn Chowder

Fall is here and our family loves to make (and eat!) soups and stews. This corn chowder is a great meal that everyone enjoys. A little prep work, and then it spends all day cooking and smelling delicious. I make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers, giving us a quick and yummy meal on a busy night.

Two notes on this one.

  1. I love to cook with yukon gold potatoes, but if you prefer another kind, feel free to substitute.
  2. We like the taste of veggie broth in recipes at our house. If you like chicken broth better, it will work fine in the chowder.

Ingredients

  • 10 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 to 1 package frozen white sweet corn
  • 3 to 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 lb diced ham
  • 1 diced onion
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups ½ & ½
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Add potatoes, corn, veggie broth, ham, and onions to the slow cooker, stir to combine. Make sure broth covers the ingredients; add more broth or water if needed. Cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. Using a potato masher, mash the chowder to your desired thickness. Add the butter and ½ & ½, cook on high for 30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

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9/11: A Day of Giving

9/11 is an event that touched us all. Everyone remembers in different ways. At our house, each and every year, we eat pizza.

Down south of Denver, we’ve got a great local pizza place: Big Bill’s NY Pizza. Today is their 14th Annual 9/11 Day of Giving. Right after the events of 9/11, Bill hosted a fundraiser for families of New York firefighters who had lost their lives on that tragic day. After that first fundraiser it became an annual event held on 9/11, and a tradition at our house. All day, the staff works for free. And instead of paying for your food, you make a donatation. Since 2009, every penny that comes into the restaurant goes to support the JoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation. Bill has taken this day of tragedy, and turned it into a day of hope. A day of giving.

Now, not everyone reading this post is within driving distance of Big Bill’s, so what does this mean for you? Well, what if we all took Bill’s idea, and everyone turned 9/11 into a Day of Giving? Give some money to your favorite charity. Spend some time with a lonely resident at a nearby nursing home. Help a neighbor with their yardwork. Collect food for a local food bank. Or what about doing small things throughout the day? Buy coffee for the person in line behind you. Smile and say hello to a stranger. Hold that door open for someone else. Sometimes it’s the little things we give to others that can have the biggest impact.

Spread hope and joy as you remember today. Make 9/11 your Day of Giving. And eat some pizza.

Easy Beef Chili

We love to cook soups, stews, and chili in the winter. I have a meatless chili that my husband and I have enjoyed for years. Last winter, my boys wanted to eat chili, but weren’t interested in all those veggies. Here’s what we came up with. I got the basics from The Pioneer Woman, and then we added our own spin.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Two 14.5-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • One 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup Guinness beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tobasco sauce (could use cayenne pepper)
  • One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings

  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream

Directions

I used a big dutch oven to cook this. Put in the ground beef, onion, and garlic; cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off excess fat, then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Guinness, and spices. Cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. If the chili looks too think, you can add water. Finally, add the beans and simmer another 30 minutes. Serve in individual bowls, topped with any desired toppings. Delicious with corn bread or beer bread.