Potato Chowder with Bacon and Sausage
* 3 russet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)
* 3.5 cups 2% milk, divided
* 4 oz cream cheese (regular or reduced fat, but not fat free)
* 2 Tbsp butter or margarine (I always use butter)
* 2 green onions, with tops
* 4 oz (1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
* 6 slices bacon, cooked and diced
* 0.5 pound mild italian sausage, cooked and drained
* 1.5 tsp salt
* 0.5 tsp pepper
Set cream cheese on counter to come to room temperature. Cook bacon, drain on paper towels, and dice when cool. Set aside. Cook sausage, drain, set aside. Slice green onions thin and set aside.
Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and score skin with knife. Place in a deep microwave-safe covered dish. Pour 0.5 cup milk over potatoes, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes. Remove from microwave and rearrange potatoes so the outside ones move to the inside and vice versa. Cover and return to microwave and cook on HIGH for 10 more minutes or until potatoes are soft. Coarsely mash potatoes and skins (scoring the skins makes this easier).
While potatoes are cooking, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add remaining 3 cups milk, whisking until smooth. Add salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
After potatoes are mashed, add butter and milk/cream cheese mixture to the dish. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 3-5 minutes or until hot. Stir to combine.
Add grated cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, bacon, and sausage. Stir to combine. If the cheese has trouble melting, cover and return to the microwave and cook on HIGH for 1-2 minutes.
Note that there is broccoli in the chowder in the picture above. You can add anything you want to the chowder after it's been cooked, this was leftover broccoli I had in the fridge from another meal and it was OK. It's all up to you and your taste buds. :)