Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweet Potato Chili Mac

I think that it's safe to say that  so far, me, sweet potatoes and Mark Bittman have gotten along fabulously.  It was a crazy turn of events, but now it seems like we were meant to be.  Me, sweet potatoes and Mark Bittman, happily ever after. 

When I first flipped through the March Issue of CL and saw that once more Mark was shouting the joys of sweet potatoes to the masses, this time under the guise of macaroni and cheese, I was pretty sure I was moments away from once again falling  under the spell that is me, sweet potatoes and Mark Bittman.  I wasted no time and when I returned to Rockford Sunday evening.  I worked out, went to the grocery store and then made Sweet Potato Chili Mac.

Sunday night, I liked it.  There was chorizo and delicious roasted sweet potatoes, some cheese, lovely noddles.  Monday at work, leftovers were leftovers and I munched through without too much of a problem.  But by noon on Tuesday, I was struggling to lift each bite to my mouth.  The magic, the me, sweet potatoes and Mark Bittman magic, was gone.  It had become blah.
I think this one is solely on me.  This recipe is good.  The sweet potatoes get roasted whole; as I was peeling them piece after brown roasted delicious piece continued to end up in my mouth.  They were caramelized and fantastic.  There are bits of browned, crunchy chorizo speckled on top.  There are smoky chipotle peppers, distinct and spicy.  And cheese!  There is yummy, melty, Monterrey Jack cheese.  These are all wonderful things that end up making a skillet full of good orange and noodle mush.  However, I’m a little afraid that, horror of horrors, I maybe just might have OD’d on the sweet potatoes.  It’s happened before about a year ago, with me, sweet potatoes and a Mark Bittman roasted sweet potato salad recipe.  I’ve hit my sweet potato quota for the season and it’s time to tuck them away till I start craving for some crispy sweet potato fries in a few months.  Which inevitably I will, and when I do, I already have a recipe lined up, locked, loaded and ready to go!

Sweet Potato Chili Mac

2 lbs. sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
1 c. 1% milk
2 Tbsp. chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
3 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese
8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. Mexican chorizo (one large link)

chopped green onion
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°.  Line rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Prick sweet potatoes in several places and place on prepared sheet.  Roast in oven for 50-60 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.  Let cool until cool enough to handle with hands.  Peel potatoes and mash in large bowl.  Stir in milk, chipotle peppers, salt, pepper and shredded cheese.  Mix well as the cheese melts.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on package.  Once cooked, add pasta to sweet potato mix.

Preheat broiler.  Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add oil to pan and heat.  Add chorizo and brown, masking to crumble, about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and wipe pan lightly with a paper towel.  Pour in sweet potato and noodle mixture, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle top with chorizo.  Broil 2-4 minutes or until top is crisp and browned.  Serve with chopped green onions and cilantro.    

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CL's Classic Fudge Brownies

I wasn't planning on posting today.  I was actually planning to bust this out tomorrow.  But then I realized that only a bad person posts about fudgy, chocolaty, dense, gooey goodness on Ash Wednesday.  Cool people, on the other hand, blog about it on Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, aka this day used to mean a chocolate waterfall and bananas fosters in the dining hall and I really miss that.  As it is, my Mardi Gras celebration is looking like a sandwich after some exercising after work.  Don't say I don't lead an exciting life.  Maybe I'll steal some of the chocolate I bought Ben for Valentine's day that he left here... just don't tell him.

The background story here is that this recipe won Cooking Light's Best Chocolate Recipe Ever contest, as seen in their January 2012 issue.  That is 25 years of chocolate recipes my friends, and this here, this was number one.  Those are quite the accolades, and for the most part, it lived up to expectations.  They were intensely chocolaty.  They somehow straddled the line between being immensely dense and gooey, yet somehow ridiculously crumbly.  It probably needed more time to cool in the pan, but this was Valentine's day dessert and dinner was over and we have no patience.  I attempted to cut them into squares and it was a complete failure.  So instead, we ended up fork-fighting over the pan, jabbing dangerously close to each other's fingers to claim clumps of fudgy brownie for ourselves.  And each bite was delicious.

The next morning, once they had cooled, what was left of the brownies cut a little better and maintained their shape, somewhat.  The chunks of dark chocolate were heavenly, extremely hot just out of the oven, but creamy once cooled.  This is where you need to break out some good chocolate, because it is worth it.  Especially if you're giving up chocolate for lent.  Which, in case you forgot, begins tomorrow.

However, despite all my chocolate haze induced praises, I'm not quite sure if they are big green cookbook worthy.  They crumbled a lot, a lot.  Although, the original recipe called for a metal 9x9 pan, which I don't own, so I went with glass and increased the time and temperature, which may have contributed to the crumbliness.  Also, the recipe called for walnuts.  I am a firm believe in the mantra that nuts do not belong in brownies, so I omitted them and you can judge me if you must.  And finally, CL did it's clever little trick to make these brownies healthy.  They call for 20, TWENTY, servings out of a 9x9 pan.  It's like when Pepsi gives you a bottle with 2.5 servings in it.  You know you're drinking the whole thing, don't lie to me.  Just give it to me straight.  Don't expect to get 20 servings out of these, or rather, don't expect to eat only 1 of their servings.  But then remember that today is Fat Tuesday, and that Fat is in the name, and demolishing a pan of brownies is basically to be expected...

CL's Classic Fudge Brownies
Winner in the January 2012 issue

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, divided
1/3 c. 1% milk
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanillas extract
2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray 9x9 metal baking pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Chop 3 oz. of chocolate into small chunks.  Toss in flour mixture.  Set aside.  Combine remaining  3 oz of chopped chocolate and milk in small microwave bowl.  Microwave in small bursts of 30 seconds, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Add melted butter, vanilla and beaten eggs.  Beat well.  Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Put into 350°F oven and bake 25-30 minutes.  Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few crumbs clinging.  Cool (if you can wait!) in the pan.  Cut into 20 pieces (ha!).  Eat at least 12.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spicy Sautéed Cabbage with Chickpeas and Parmesan

Before I say anything else, I need to apologize for the general horridness of these pictures.  And the fact that there are only three in the entire post.  You see, cabbage really isn't the prettiest thing to be snapping photos of.  Most especially when I haven't even seen natural day light since I've been back from Arizona (sighhh...) and the light in my kitchen isn't even bright enough to scoop my oatmeal out of the pot in the morning.  But I'm not going to be too hard on myself because even the official Bon Appetit picture doesn't look all that appetizing.  And they're professionals.  The fact of the matter is, cabbage just isn't sexy.  And if cabbage is ok with that, then really who are we to try to make it something it isn't?

This was the side to our Valentine's day steak dinner.  Again, cabbage doesn't really fall into the sexy, romantic category, but luckily Ben will eat anything I put in front of his face and doesn't get too annoyed when my reasoning boils down to: "I picked this recipe because then I can blog about it!"  He's pretty cool that way.  He even ate a full serving.

Now, I am a cabbage fan and a recent initiate into the "woohoo! Chickpeas!" club, so my outcome was always going to be a little bias.  But I liked this, although the cabbage didn't crisp up as much as I was thinking it would.  That may have been my faulty assumption or the fact that there was a lot of cabbage in the pan.  Also, It didn't have enough heat for me and I did a heaping quarter teaspoon of the red pepper flakes.  And it makes a lot.  A lot, a lot.  Normally not a big deal, except, as leftovers, it is less than stellar. I have been gussying it up with random combinations of extra Parmesan, fried eggs, sunflower seeds and/or sriracha.  On the first go round, right out of the pan, I was a fan.  Ben was ok with it, and when forced on the issue said he would be fine with eating it again, but would never request it or be particularly excited about it.  And I'm ok with that, because after 3 servings of leftovers, I so understand where he is coming from.  Eventually I want to try it again and work out the few kinks, but only when I have some left over cabbage to rid myself of or something.

So, the moral of the story is, if you randomly have an extra head of cabbage rolling around your produce drawer, this isn't a bad use for it at all.  Just only make as much as you're going to eat and avoid leftovers...

Spicy Sautéed Cabbage with Chickpeas and Parmesan
From Bon Appetit Online, February 2012

I'm giving you the proportions from Bon Appetit, but as referenced above, I would figure out how much you are going to eat and adjust accordingly.

1 head of cabbage, shredded, about 6 cups
2  Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, for seasoning
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 15-oz can Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon

Toppings:  (BA suggests only Parmesan, any sort of combination of these would be tasty)
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Sunflower Seeds
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Fried Egg

In very large skillet, or wok, over medium heat, heat oil.  Add cabbage, season with salt and cook.  Stir occasionally, just as needed, until cabbage becomes "crisp-tender", about 8 minutes.  Don't stir too frequently, you want the cabbage to get some color from caramelizing in the pan.  Add garlic and toss, cook a minute longer.  Season with salt.  Add well rinsed chickpeas and 2 tablespoons of water, season with salt, and toss, cooking until water is absorbed and chickpeas are heated through, about 2-3 more minutes.  Season with pepper, red pepper flakes and additional salt if needed, toss and let warm through again 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat, squeeze lemon juice all over and finish with whatever combination of toppings is speaking to you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Southwestern Pulled Beef Brisket

There is a 5 cup Tupperware in my freezer right now full of this shredded beef brisket in it's pretty mahogany sauce.  I'm pretty excited about that.  One day in the future, dinner is going to be so freaking easy.  So quick.  So humdrum?  I really am in love with the fact that I have a full on dinner locked and loaded, ready to go.  It's just not a very exciting dinner.  It doesn't have me mumbling with every full-mouthed bite "this is good, this is like really good".  Which is especially disappointing when I really thought it was going to be.

It had all the makings to be a fantastically dinner: One, it came from the cooking blog demigod known as the smitten kitchen, about whom I have not been bashful professing my love for (like here, or here, or here!).  Two, it was going to be my first meal cooked in my first Crock Pot ever and so was destined for greatness from the beginning.  And finally 3, it was meant to make tacos.  Tacos make everything taste even more amazing than they would taste alone.  Tacos have a magical power, it's hard to do wrong to the taco.

Yet, even with all of those fantastically factually points, dinner was not fantastic.  It did not provoke any unconscious, food-induced chanting.  It was just good.   No fireworks, all socks stayed on, good.  The pros?  Besides 20 or so minutes of prep before it get's thrown into the slow cooker, that's all your doing and dinner is cooking for you, waiting to welcome you home and fill your tummy with warm nutrition.  And, as stated above, it can be made into tacos, and tacos, 99.98% of the time, are fun, messy and delicious.  The only real con may be apathy, but really, dinner can't knock your socks off every time.

So, if you have a Saturday that is chock full of errands (like hanging your TV on a wall mount that is (WOOHOO!!) still hanging up!) and you want a warm dinner at the end of it, this is the way to go.  Well, at least until I find a crock pot meal worthy of whispering sweet nothings to as it gets shoveled into my mouth...

Southwestern Pulled Beef Brisket
From The Smitten Kitchen, circa 2010

3 lbs. beef brisket
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. molasses
1 14.5-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers from a can with a little adobo sauce
2 bay leaves

Season both sides of brisket well with salt and pepper.  In large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until it just begins to smoke.  Add brisket and sear on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side.  Transfer to crock pot.

In same skillet, add onion and spices, and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute.  With head FAR away from skillet, pour in vinegar.  With wooden spoon, mix onions and vinegar, scraping bottom of skillet to pick up all browned bits of goodness from the meat.  Add water.  Pour mixture over brisket in crock pot.  Add molasses, tomatoes (crushed by hand), tomato juices from can, chipotle peppers and bay leaves.  Place lid on cooker.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours (longer is probably better) until brisket is easily shredded by hand. Once done, remove brisket from crock pot and shred.  Remove bay leaves from crock pot and discard.  Return shredded beef to crock pot, stir thoroughly with remaining juices and serve with warmed tortillas and pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, pickled red onions, etc. as taco toppings!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Green Apple Salsa

I am moving a little slow today.  It's not that I didn't like the dish or that I feel bad I don't have anything better to share with you.  No, that's not the case at all.  Actually, this should be like the poster child recipe of what I wanted this blog to be.  I have been looking for an excuse to make this ever since I got my January (January!) Bon Appetit, but something always came up.  Ben wanted fish, or I didn't want to cook and wanted Chinese instead.  And when I finally made it last Wednesday, we both fell in love with it.  It was one of those dinners where I was continually saying in between large, unlady-like mouthfuls (sorry Mom), "This is good, this is like really good, don't you think this is good??"  Heck, I even got some half decent pictures, although natural light is something I won't see on a weekday night for another few months.  It is without a doubt going into the big green cookbook.  So why am I not chomping at the bit to share this deliciousness with you?  Because I'm just feeling a little sluggish when it comes to blogging today.  Sorry.

So of course, the only thing that I am really worried about is that this will deter you from trying this.  If that is the case, I'm going to feel guilty.  This is a fantastic, everything there kind of meal.  It is delicious and smoky, mysterious (with cumin seeds...), and then there is this incredibly brightness and crunch from the apple salsa.  Whatever you do, don't skimp on the salsa, and if no other changes, I would make extra of the green apple salsa.  It is what ties the chicken, beans and rice all together.  And with the quick squeeze of a lime wedge over it all before you dive in?  Really, it is dinner perfection.  Filling and comforting, it is rice and beans, for crying out loud and please, please, just make this?  Ignore my ho-hum mood and make this.  Don't wait two months like I did either, because this is the perfect February-and-I'm-still-freezing-my-ass-off, stick to your ribs kind of dinner.  So, go, make, and be happy.

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Green Apple Salsa
Adapted hardly from Bon Appetit's January 2012 issue

If you can get your hands on a good rotisserie chicken, this is the time and place for it.  I had a few chicken breasts in the freezer, so I baked them up in the oven and used them instead.  Ben and I both agreed though, rotisserie would be the way to go.  Make sure to rinse your beans before you add them too, you get rid of a lot of the added sodium that way.  And go heavy on the apple salsa, it's delicious.

Oh, also.  I was able to get the salsa made while the beans were simmering away.  It was only hectic one or two times.  If you have the time, prep it before so you can pay attention and not have any "oh shit" moments.  But to save time, you can make during without too much trouble.

1 medium Granny Smith apple
1/3 c. cilantro
1/3-1/2 c. very diced red onion, divided
1-2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 of medium bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. Canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt and pepper
Cooked brown or white rice
Shredded rotisserie chicken
Lime wedges

Over medium heat, heat oil in large skillet.  Once hot, add bell pepper and onion, reserving 2 tablespoons of onion for the salsa.  Cook until completely soft, about 7 minutes, stirring often.  Once soft, add garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin seeds to pan.  "Toast" spices until fragrant about 2 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning.  Pour in broth and beans, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Turn heat to medium high and bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer beans briskly for 8-10 minutes.  Stir often and smash some beans with the back of the spoon to help thicken sauce.

Meanwhile, chop apple and cilantro.  In small bowl, combine apple, cilantro and reserved red onions, pouring lime juice over top.  Toss to coat and add more lime juice as needed.  Set aside.

Once beans have thickened (beans will have some liquid still, which helps make the rice even better), season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice, if desired. 

To serve, mound rice and beans next to each other on the plate, just extra liquid from the beans to moisten the rice.  Top with shredded chicken and a generous helping of apple salsa.  Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro (optional).  Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chickpea Stew

Me and cumin get along well.  I love the way it smells, I love the way it tastes.  If you could really form an opinion on the way a spice feels, I would probably love that as well.  Cumin is, with very little question, my favorite spice.  And my spice cabinet has seen it's fair share of spices.  I love how smokey and deep it is.  It is, in my humble opinion, the spice of mystery.  Yes, that is right, if mystery had a spice essence, it would be cumin.  Now go sniff you own bottle of cumin and tell me that I'm not on the nose with this one.  A bottle of cumin is essentially extract of mystery.

Ok, maybe that's a little bit of a stretch.  The takeaway there is that I love cumin.  So, when I saw a recipe in this month's Bon Appetit that used 2 tablespoons of this extract of mystery, I got a little excited.  As someone who usually doubles the amount of cumin called for in a recipe, even I thought 2 tablespoons might be just a little much, just a tad overpowering.  I had to try it immediately.  Even if it did call for 2 cans of chickpeas and to my knowledge, I have never eaten a chickpea in my life.  You can't turn your back on a recipe that calls for 2 tablespoons of cumin.

So on Wednesday (also now known forevermore as the glorious day that my silverware drawer return to me, hallelujah!), I got out my island spice red Dutch oven and whipped this up.  Well, not whipped, it took me a little longer than the 25 active minutes that BA suggests.  But I really didn't mind; I had knives, a glass of wine and my entire kitchen smelled of toasted cumin.  I was quite the happy camper.  And then I sat down to dinner.

It. Was. Amazing.  Ha, did you think things were suddenly going to turn for the worst?  Not so, my friend, not so.  Chickpeas, in case you are in my old camp of never having tried them, are quite tasty.  Granted, I am quite the fan of all beans, pinto, cannellini, and my all time, dark red kidney beans.  I can now knowledgeably add to that list chickpeas, as well as a few cans to my pantry.  The roasted red peppers were chopped small enough that they simply complimented the stew, and didn't try to become the star.  There was a small amount of chicken, (only two thighs for the whole pot, and we know how much I love my chicken thighs) enough that you know it's there but not enough that it's the main component of the dish, something that those of us that indulged a bit while training for a week in Houston definitely need to be conscience about.  The bread crumbs soak up the delicious broth that is more spicy than I anticipated, delicious beyond anything you may imagine and chock full of mystery.  That's right, we're back to the cumin (full circle people!)  Smoky, toasted, deep, glorious cumin.  It's the foundation of the flavor and just oh, so, wonderful.  If you are a cumin junkie like me, you have got to try this.  Tomorrow, today, or if you are lucky enough to work from home, immediately, at this very moment, make it for lunch.  I promise, it will not disappoint.

Obviously, this one is getting pasted into the big old green cookbook, unlike our more recent cheesy potato soup.  If I were more blog-literate, I would figure out a cool way to document which ones have and have not made the cut.  But I'm not.  So for now, you'll just have to settle for a BGCB label.  Guten Appetit!

Chickpea (and Cumin) Stew

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained
1/2 c. roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (I only had Meyer's on hand)
Country style bread, cubed

In dutch oven pan set over medium high heat, heat oil.  Season chicken well on both sides with kosher salt.  Add chicken to pot and cook for 8-10 minutes turning once until browned.  Transfer to plate.  

Reduce heat to low and let oil cool for a few minutes.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about one minute. Add cumin, tomato paste and pepper flakes and stir well with a wooden in spoon, until mixture is a smooth paste.  Add 4 cups of water, chicken with any juice collected on the plate and bay leaves.  Mix well, scraping up brown bits that have accumulated on the bottom of the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer mixture, uncovered about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender.  Stir occasionally.

Drain and thoroughly rinse chickpeas.  Remove chicken from pot and transfer to plate again.  Add chickpeas to stew and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bit sized chunks.  Add chicken and red peppers to stew.  Season stew by adding 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to start with.  Simmer a minute, then adjust salt, lemon juice and/or olive oil to your tastes.

In serving bowls, place a handful of bread cubs.  Spoon stew over top and serve with a slice of bread to soak up any stray juices.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cheesy Potato Soup

Sometimes, I don’t want cooking to be an adventure.  Sometimes, after being away from my brand new apartment still half in boxes for nine days, I want to open a bottle of wine, cook up a new potato soup recipe from one of my magazines and have a relaxing night, sipping wine and soup and watching Up.  Maybe even get my new fireplace a going.

So Sunday afternoon I went straight to the grocery store without heading home first.  As I’m driving home dreaming of a nice glass of red, I suddenly remember “my silverware drawer”.  I raced to the front office which amazingly stays open till 5 pm on Sunday evening and asked if I received any packages.  No.  I checked my mailbox, hoping to find a reason why there, only to discover that for whatever reason the post office has deemed my mail undeliverable because my last name isn’t on the outside of the mailbox.  

I called Ben deflated.  How am I supposed to make potato soup without a knife??  All I have are the crappy plastic ware I bought to tide me over until me silverware came.  I take a deep breath and resolve that, yes, I can do this, as long as I have a good glass of wine to boost my spirits.  Then it really hit the fan... corkscrew…

And there, in a few paragraphs, explains how my relaxing Sunday early evening got flushed down the toilet.  Yet, incredibly enough, the soup still happened.  It think it was the realization that it was the one thing in my power to make happen and that eating crappy frozen food would have let me completely and irreversibly in the doldrums.  Not that half way through chopping my onion, aka demolishing it into a pile of mush with a crappy plastic knife, eyes overflowing with tears, I didn't consider trashing the whole things and eating chocolate for dinner.  But then I realized that my super awesome pizza cutter actual did a comparatively good job at cubing potatoes and that I love cheese in every form and somehow, this soup came together.

I would love to tell you that it was so amazing, that it was well worth the internal struggle and resolve, but it was just alright.  Not bad by any means, just not really repeatable for any reason either.  I made only a few changes, I didn't use reduce fat cheddar cheese (because, why would you?) and it needed a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.  I also upped the cayenne quantity to almost 1/4 teaspoon, but that's a personal preference.  Also, the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup broth and 1/2 of water.  There is no reason to not use 1 1/4 cup of broth, it very much needs the extra flavor.  Lucky for me, I've been using Better than Bouillon, and it's easy to stir in a little more.  Overall, good and filling, but just a little bland.  The good news there is that the leftovers were even better then the original pot.  Just be sure to not skimp on the green onion topping, it's definitely worth it, even if you are chopping them with a pizza cutter.

Cheesy Potato Soup

1 Tbsp. Butter
1 c. Onion, chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
3 c. Red potato, chopped (~1 lb.)
1 1/4 c. 1% Milk
1 1/4 c. Lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. (2 oz.) Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. Ground red pepper
Green onions, chopped, for garnish

In large pot over medium heat, melt butter.  Add chopped onion and cook until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring continuously, 1 minute more.  Immediately add remaining ingredients, through chicken broth stirring well so flour does not lump.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Add shredded cheese and red pepper.  Immediately remove from heat, stirring continuously until cheese is completely melted.  Ladle into individual bowls and top with green onions (you could do some extra cheese too, it's ok, I won't tell Cooking Light on you...)  Enjoy!