Cheddar & Ham Vegetable Chowder

I know, I know, it’s hot, muggy, and definitely not the best time to be stuck in the kitchen slaving away over a hot stove, but dinner’s not going to make itself and around here, dinner isn’t an option — it’s the rule. Still, why in the world would I chose to make a new chowder of all things?

For one, with all the wonderful vegetables coming out of the garden, I had to find a way to use them other than just as a side dish. I know I’ll have frozen vegetables to enjoy this winter, but putting the fresh, just-picked ones right in the pot is more fulfilling than I can possibly explain.

This chowder is thick, rich, and more filling than any soup I make. Hubby was only able to eat one bowl and two pieces of crusty bread. The rest of us barely finished a smaller serving and one piece of bread.

Cheddar & Ham Vegetable Chowder

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6 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, diced

1 Large Onion Chopped

1 Cup Diced Carrots

1/2 Cup Chopped Scallions

5 Tbsp. Flour

4 Cups Milk, divided

1 1/2 Cups Water

3 Cups Cubed Potatoes

1 Cup Corn

3/4 Cup Fresh Peas

3 tsp. Vegetable or Chicken Bouillon

3 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

2 Cups Cubed Fully Cooked Ham

  • Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towel. Add onion, carrots, and scallions to bacon fat in pan and saute until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add 3 cups milk and stir until thick. Stir in water and again stir until thickened.
  • Transfer flour and milk mixture to a stock pot and bring to boil. Add potatoes, corn, peas, bouillon, and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Be careful to keep an eye on this so it does not burn.
  • When potatoes are tender, add cheese and ham. Stir constantly until cheese is melted. Stir in bacon and serve.

This soup was a real hit! Even Grace’s boyfriend, who happened to stop by after work right around the dinner hour loved it. He told Grace he could have eaten the entire pot — now that would have been something to see.

The carrots, peas, and scallions from the garden, as well as the corn that I took from the last bag of Michigan corn I froze last fall, really made this chowder pop. I might even try omitting the ham next time and just enjoy the vegetable medley. Definitely a meal in itself, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Welcome Back Harvest!

Before we left for our vacation about a week and a half ago I weeded all the gardens, fed all the plants, staked what needed staking, and hoped for rain while we were gone. You know the saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for?”  Well, when we got back, I couldn’t believe what I found.

The turnips were bursting from the ground, begging to be pulled.

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The scallions were practically uprooting themselves, ready for eating.

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And the peas!  Well, before we left the plants were doing pretty good, with just a few flowers.

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When we got back, the plants were double if not triple the size, toppled over on the ground from the weight of all the peas, and spreading everywhere.

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This is after I tied the pea pods to the make-shift trellis.

This is after I tied the pea pods to the make-shift trellis.

So far we’ve enjoyed eating the turnips raw and using some pea pods and scallions in a stir fry.

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By the end of the week I’ll have to pick more pea pods, freeze them and start preparing the snow peas and others for canning or freezing.

I’ve only pulled five turnips so far, but the entire row is ready for harvest. Anybody want some fresh turnips? They’re super tasty.

While we were gone my neighbors told me it rained every afternoon, was humid, and the sun came out every chance it could between showers.  Since our return we’ve had one day of rain and the rest have been humid and sunny. Perfect for the garden and perfect timing so I can water when needed and pull out all the weeds that seem to be outgrowing the plants 3 to 1.

Coming home to a garden full of fresh vegetables waiting to be picked is a great way to end a vacation, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.