$25/Week Grocery Challenge: Week 1

I am now five weeks into my $25/week grocery challenge. I have been photographing what I buy each week. I’ll try to recall what I made each week, but my memory won’t be perfect.

Week 1:
Week 1

Note: You can click on the photo to enlarge it.
Pictured: 1 lb cod, 2 cans of corn, coconut milk, 3 lbs potatoes, 2 lbs organic carrots, 6 clementines, 3 organic bananas, cilantro, multi-grain English muffins, multi-grain half baguette, whipped butter.

What I spent: Ack! I can’t remember and I didn’t write it down. I think it was close to $23.

What I made: Moqueca (This is a Brazilian-style fish stew that we eat often. A friend linked to this recipe but I’ve since modified it; my version will be in the Week 5 post), corn and potato chowder (I started with this recipe but my version is below, and probably some stew involving potatoes and carrots. More than half the fruit got tossed. We can’t get enough fruit at restaurants and other people’s houses but for some reason we are bad at eating fruit in our own house. You’ll see less fruit in future photos.

This week’s recipe I’m sharing: Corn & Potato Chowder
CORN & POTATO CHOWDER
(adapted from a recipe by Dinosaur BBQ Restaurant)

Full recipe makes ~6 servings (as a main meal, more as side dish). For better leftovers, make the soup right up until adding the cream. Before adding the cream, remove half (or a third, or two thirds or however much you are going to not eat immediately/eat as leftovers), then add the correct portion of cream. When you heat up the leftovers, add the cream just before eating. Otherwise leftover creamy soups can come out gross when reheated.

INGREDIENTS:
8 ounces bacon ends (or regular bacon)
2 c onion, diced small
4 celery ribs, peeled and diced small
4-6 garlic cloves, minced (about 1-2T based on your garlic preference)
2 T flour
2 15-oz cans of creamed corn
2 c veggie (or chicken) stock
4 c red or gold (waxy) potato, diced small
2 c carrot, diced very small
2 c corn kernels (fresh or canned)
1 c half & half, light cream or heavy cream
½ tsp dried thyme
pinch of cayenne
basil (to garnish)

DIRECTIONS:
1. In an 8qt pot, sauté the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon, drain. You can either eat it or save it to put it back in the soup. It’s good either way.
2. Keep 1/4c bacon fat in the pot (toss or save the rest) and keep heat on medium/medium-high. Add onions and celery, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until soft. Add garlic. Cook for another minute.
3. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add flour and mix well so it coats all the veggies. Cook until you can smell the flour lightly cooking. Add the broth slowly and mix well to create a sauce with gravy-like consistency.
4. Add cans of creamed corn, potatoes and carrots. Bring pot to a low boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add canned corn. Cover and simmer for another 5-6 minutes to blend the flavors.
5. At this point, if you’re not going to eat all the soup – remove from the pot what you’re not going to eat and refrigerate for up to 3 days (you can freeze but I hate the texture of frozen potatoes). Stir in the cream slowly until – don’t pour it all in at once as you may not need all of it to get the consistency you want. A little less cream sometimes makes a thicker soup. Add a pinch of cayenne (or more if you like spicy) and adjust salt and pepper.
6. Serve – ladle into bowls and top with chiffonaded fresh basil. Don’t skip this step – the basil really adds a lot to the soup. If you have bacon you set aside earlier, sprinkle it on top.

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