Recipe proves it?s actually easy to be cheesy

Is it summer yet? I?m in need of some serious sun and some serious warmth right now, and I can?t wait to toss my sweaters into a plastic tub and forget they exist for awhile. I know I still have time, but I am so ready.

My only consolation this time of year is warm, comforting food, and this week, I found a chowder recipe that almost makes me glad it?s winter. Almost.

This recipe comes from ?A Night Owl Blog? and was published by Jenny Bullistron. You can find the original at http://www.anightowlblog.com/2015/10/cheesy-italian-sausage-potato-chowder.html. Rather than using Italian sausage, as her ingredients list calls for, I put all the spices I listed below in my version, and I also felt no Italian soup was complete without garlic, so I tossed that in as well.

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Cheesy Italian Sausage

Potato Chowder

Ingredients

1 small yellow onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon oil (I used olive)

1 pound sausage (I used mild)

4 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced

a liberal pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

salt to taste

4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (I used Russet)

3 cups chicken stock or broth

1 cup diced celery

1 cup milk (I used whole)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

In a pan, heat the oil over medium and add the onions. Saute until they are translucent.

Add in the sausage and break apart while cooking. When the sausage is almost done, add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, cayenne, paprika, basil, oregano, black pepper and salt. Continue cooking until the sausage is cooked through and drain off any grease that accumulates in the pan.

While the onions and sausage are cooking, place the chicken stock, potatoes and celery into a Dutch oven and bring to a slow boil. Turn the heat to medium, and let the vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Add the sausage to the Dutch oven along with the milk and cheese. Stir to combine. Serve once all ingredients are warmed through.

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Joey praised this recipe as one of the best things I?ve ever made, and I did spice it up enough that it has a bit of a kick to it. If that?s not your style, you might leave out the pepper flakes and cayenne. It will still be delicious.

And as for winter, I suppose I?ll just hunker down and deal with it for a few more months.

At least I have some leftover chowder to keep me warm for the time being

When not helping husband Joey with newspaper work, Lindsey teaches speech, debate and forensics at Haven High School. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.

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