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Putting the finishing touches on my plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Here's my criteria:
-use one of our huge roosters - we call this chicken "Thanksgiving" and some of our garden produce

huge chicken, roasted with garlic, "butter" and poultry seasoning
stuffing with mushrooms and water chestnuts
potato skins with bacon and rice cheese
sweet potatoes with "butter" and cinnamon-toasted-pecans
cranberry-and-orange muffins
pecan pie tarts

ham (gotta buy this year)
homemade bread
green beans with sliced almonds
mashed potatoes
apple chunks fried in cinnamon with walnuts and pecans
pumpkin-cheesecake-yogurt tarts

What would YOU add to these menues?


My kid's become addicted to IHOP's loaded potato soup, so I'm trying to make it myself. First, experimenting with fresh ingredients, but as soon as I have the recipe down, I'll adjust it to use stored products: dehydrated potatoes/onions, jarred bacon, and goat milk from our own goats.

A search for potato and bacon soup show all kinds with cream of something soup but I don't like using or storing them.

So ... does anybody have the recipe for IHOP's loaded potato soup?


I never did get a recipe so I worked on it and came up with this. Let me know if you think it comes close to IHOP's recipe. My son sure thought so!

8 potatoes, cubed (I leave the peel on for more fiber)
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/2 cup flour, all-purpose*
8 cups of milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt/pepper to taste

Top with:
Chopped green onions/scallions**
Bacon Bits (real ones, not those nasty fake ones)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

*To make gluten-free, use arrowroot instead. It's just a thickener.
**My son hates onions, so I leave these off his portion.


1. Microwave the cubed potatoes in a glass bowl for 7-10 minutes, until they are tender and soft.

2. While cooking, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour (or arrowroot) until combined, then gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, and simmer 5-10 minutes, until somewhat thickened.

3. Stir in microwaved potatoes. Cook another 5 minutes. Add sour cream and cheddar cheese, stirring until blended.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Top with scallions, bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, or try an unusual cheese, like gruyere.

Note: You could add diced onions to the actual soup, if you want to. Totally up to you!


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