Recipe Baked Potato Soup with Bacon, Cheese, & Sour Cream

Baked Potato Soup I Recipe

Original recipe makes 6 serving
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 2/3 cup margarine
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 cups milk
  • 4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  2. In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the margarine over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix in bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted.
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Recipe Basil Pesto

File:Løvstikkepesto med græskarkerner (5244045893).jpg

Recipe Basil Pesto from Community Gardeners’ Cookbook p. 308

1/2 cup pine nuts

4 to 6 cloves garlic, to taste

4 cups shredded fresh basil leaves

1 cup oilve oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese


Blend the first four ingredients in a food processor as finely as possible.  Transfer the mixture to a medium boil and stir in the cheeses.  Add salt to taste.

Stores in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you freeze this, do not add the cheese until time to serve.

Note from the author of Community Gardeners’ Cookbook:  “For the pesto, I use only the leaves.  I save the stalks, which I hang upside down to dry then throw them in the fireplace fire in winter for a nice aroma.” p. 308

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Recipe Dried Tomato Pesto and Goat Cheese Baguettes

Recipe from Gardeners’ Community Cookbook

Image Credits Below

1 tightly packed cup of dried tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

1/3 cup freshly grated cheese [Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, or Ricotto]

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Reconstitute the dried tomatoes by covering them with water and boiling them for 20 minutes.  Drain.  Mix the tomatoes and the other ingredients together in a food processor until well blended.  This will store in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

This is good used with goat cheese spread in a crostini, as shown at the following site:

Cut a baguette into 1/4 inch slices. brush with olive oil, and bake for 7 minutes

Cover with goat cheese spread, topped with the pesto.

Serve with slivers of fresh basil

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Recipe How to Microwave Dry Tomatoes & Make Dried Tomato Crostini

File:Sun-dried tomatoes (4694708714).jpg

How to Microwave-Dry Tomatoes Recipe from Community Gardeners’ Cookbook p. 337

Image from Wikipedia

“The advantage [to drying tomatoes in a microwave] is that the process is quick and results in a texture almost indistinguishable from long sun-drying.  The disadvantage is that a microwave oven can accommodate only small batches at a time.” [For those of us who live alone, that may not be a disadvantage.] p. 337

Halve as many tomatoes as will fit in a single layer–without touching each other, cut sides down] on a microwave plate.  Roma or other small tomatoes work well.  The cookbook says to remove the seeds; but the tomatoes in the image seem to have been dried with seeds.

“Microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes, until collapsed.  Remove and cool a few minutes, until no longer steaming hot.  Pour off the collected juices and, with a metal spatula, turn over the halves, patting the pulp back into the centers.  Microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the tomatoes are dried out but still supple.  Set aside without disturbing for 30 minutes, then transfer to a jar or plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.” p. 337

“…for a perfect and almost instantaneous crostini: slice some dried tomatoes, toss with a little olive oil and fresh oregano, and use to top a toasted bread round garnished with a few crumbles of feta cheese.” p. 337

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Lemon Curd Recipe


Lemon Curd Recipe from Gardeners’ Community Cookbook pgs. 351-352

Image from Wikipedia

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest [the zest is the outer, dark yellow part of the rind–do not include the white pithy part that sets between the dark yellow and the lemon itself.  That white part tends to make the recipe bitter]

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 stick butter, at room temperature

Prepare 2 half-pint jars and lids for refrigerator canning

Combine the sugar, zest, and eggs in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan.  Stir until well blended and very smooth

Add the lemon juice and butter and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and pour into the jars.  Cool to room temperature.  Store in the refrigerator up to 3 month.

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Recipe Hot Pepper Jelly to Serve with Cream Cheese

Hot Pepper Jelly (inspired by the Kraft recipe, and All Recipes; Gluten-Free and Vegan)

Makes 7 to 8 cups of jelly (I used 3 two-cup jars that I filled entirely, and one two-cup jar that was just over halfway full = just over 7 cups of jelly)

1 3/4 cups red peppers, de-seeded and finely diced (1 very large red pepper, the biggest I could find)

1 1/2 cups green peppers, de-seeded and finely diced (1 large green pepper, the biggest I could find)

3/4 cup jalepeno peppers, de-seeded and finely diced (7 jalepeno peppers that were about thumb-sized, each)**

1 cup apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s)

Two 1.75-ounce packets Sure-Jell pectin (use the Pink “For Less or No Sugar Needed” Recipes box;not the Yellow box)

5 cups white sugar

Prepare the glass jars by sterilizing them.  Do this by washing jars and bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

Fill a very large stockpot with water and allow it to nearly boil on the stovetop.  This may take 15+ minutes given the size of the pot and amount of water, and while waiting, complete the rest of the steps.

Put on a pair of rubber kitchen gloves and finely chop the peppers by hand (or pulse using a food processor) and add them to a medium-sized 6 to 8-quart stock pot, taking care to avoid adding the seeds of the pepper to the mixture, being especially cautious with the jalepeno pepper seeds (I sliced each jalepeno in half, down the middle, and removed 80% of the seeds by hand, before finely chopping them). To the peppers, add the vinegar and Sure-Gell pectin (two packets). Place stockpot on the stovetop and bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) and stir constantly. After a full rolling boil is reached, add the sugar. It will foam and bubble up, and if foam is intense, skim it off with a spoon. Return to a full rolling boil and once full rolling boil is reached (it may take a minute or two to reach it) boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat.

Quickly ladle jelly into the sterile jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops. Cover with flat lids, and screw on bands tightly. Place the jars loosely into the nearly boiling water using tongs or carefully using two spatulas guiding them into the water (or if you have a canning rack, use it and slowly lower jars into pot). The water should cover the jars completely, and should be hot but not boiling when place the jars in. Bring water to a boil, and after it’s boiling, process for 10 to 12 minutes, partiallydependent on altitude (the higher you are, the longer you process. San Diego is at sea level and I processed 10 minutes. If you live on a mountain-top, go with 12 minutes).

After processing, remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely, and do not disturb them. Choose their resting place wisely, because where ever they are placed, they need to remain undisturbed and untouched until they seal. You may begin to hear loud pops immediately, or within 24 hours and that means the jar has sealed. If you are uncertain if they’ve sealed, after the jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lid is sunken and does not spring back, it’s sealed (success!) If lid springs back, jar is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary. I prefer my pepper jelly chilled and store it in the refrigerator. Unsealed or opened pepper jelly will likely keep for weeks in the refrigerator; and sealed jars of jelly will keep for one year or longer, if stored in a cool, dry place.

Notes: **Chopped peppers should reach 4 cups in total and the Kraft recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of red and green peppers, each, and 1 cup of jalepeno peppers. The Allrecipes recipe calls for 1/4 cup of jalepeno peppers.  I used 3/4 cup jalepeno peppers and found this jelly to be very hot. It’s at least twice as hot as the Trader Joe’s Pepper Jelly. I like spicy food and can handle lots of heat and this is even on the edge of my limits. If you are a person who likes things “mild” or do not want your sinuses cleared instantly, go with 1/4 cup jalepenos. The next time I make this I will likely reduce my jalepeno peppers to about 1/2 cup, or about 4-5 peppers, not 7; and I will take care to add fewer seeds.

You could also add yellow or orange peppers, and add all peppers in ratios and quantity to personal taste.

Highly recommended to wear gloves. Chopping peppers in this amount and quantity will irritate or burn your hands and with all the boiling water, keep gloves on.

The whole process from start to finish was done in less than an hour. Canning happens fast and once you begin, things go very fast and so have everything organized: 1 extra large stockpot of nearly boiling water ready and waiting; 1 other large stockpot with peppers, vinegar, pectin; and have the 5 cups of sugar measured out in a bowl and ready to go so that when the full rolling boil is reached, the sugar goes in right away. Then, it all goes into jars and then the jars go into the large stockpot to process. Make sure you know your steps, what you’re doing next, and you’ll be fine. It’s really easy, but be organized.

Disclaimer: I am not a canning expert. This is what I did based on comparing the two recipes linked above, as well as countless other forums. I wrote out the directions and what I did in plain English and as simply as possibly in an attempt to demystify a complicated process but I am not a canning expert and if you have specific questions, Google things and do your own research b

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Spiced Pear, Apricot, and Raisin Chutney Recipe

Spiced Pear and Raisin Chutney


Served warm or cold, this fruity chutney provides an instant kiss of holiday flavor. Enjoy as an alternative to cranberry sauce with your roast turkey.



Makes 15 (1/4-cup) servings.
1 cup pomegranate juice1/4 cup packed light brown sugar1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Allspice, Ground1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Orange Extract2 pears, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces1 cup dried apricots, quartered1 cup dark raisins

Nutritional information

(amount per servings


  1. Place pomegranate juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla and orange extracts in medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in pears, apricots and raisins. Simmer 5 minutes longer or until raisins are plump and liquid is slightly thickened. Spoon into serving bowl. Cover.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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