Stef’s Corn Chowder

I’ve tried a lot of corn chowder recipes I’ve found online, but none have been quite right… So I made up my own. Let me know if you love it as much as I do!


  • 12 oz. package bacon (I think I bought the center-cut 12 oz package)
  • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 – 14.75 oz. cans cream-style corn
  • 1 – 15 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups half-and-half (or more if you want it creamier)


  1. Place the bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat, and cook until crisp. Drain and crumble, reserving drippings in the pot.
  2. Mix potatoes and onion into the pot with the crumbled bacon and reserved drippings. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Pour in the water, and stir in corn. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover pot. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender.
  3. Warm the half-and-half in a small saucepan until it bubbles. Remove from heat before it boils, and mix into the chowder just before serving.

Ham Balls in Barbecue Sauce

I used ground beef, very tasty!



  • eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain bread crumbs (2 slices)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
  • tablespoons milk
  • teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces ground cooked ham
  • 12 ounces ground pork or ground beef
  • cup purchased barbecue sauce


  1. Combine eggs, bread crumbs, onion, milk, mustard, and pepper. Add ground ham and pork; mix well. Using about 1/3 cup mixture for each, shape into balls.
  2. Place ham balls in lightly greased 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour barbecue sauce over meatballs.
  3. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted into balls registers 160 degrees F.

Jill’s Cheating Potatoes

Fairly easy since these use instant mashed potatoes, but still super yummy!



  • 12 servings of instant mashed potatoes, prepared
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed


  1. Blend prepared potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese, salt, pepper and paprika. Pour potatoes into a buttered 13×9 baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle top with cheese, green onions and bacon. Place pads of butter on top.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

I cooked again…

I cooked again yesterday. And I swear to God people my kids are still happiest with processed mac and cheese and hotdogs. I’m beginning to wonder why I try so hard…

I came across a Smoky Salmon Casserole in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I like all the ingredients, but I’m beginning to understand that you can’t just throw random things you like together and expect it to taste good. This didn’t. Neither Nora nor Nadia would eat it. Honestly, I could hardly get it down. It was dry, not creamy and cheesy as I expected. A waste of time and ingredients.

While I was making the casserole my crock pot was busy simmering Broccoli and Cheese Soup from the Pioneer Woman’s Come and Get It cookbook. This soup certainly wasn’t horrible, as I much preferred it over the salmon casserole, but it wasn’t awesome either. It has quite a bit of ‘processed’ cheese, aka Velveeta, in it, and you could really taste it.

So all that work yesterday, which involved a trip to the grocery store too, plus a messy kitchen and tons of dishes… I don’t know. Just a lot of effort when it doesn’t really please or entice the girls. Eric wasn’t even a huge fan of either, and normally he will eat anything without complaint.

Another Instant Pot Fail

Maybe it’s me. It seems the entire world, as I know it, is ranting and raving over these freaking instant pots. Remember the spaghetti I made that was rather tasteless? Well, the following day I made a chicken and dumpling recipe I found online. And I didn’t care for it either, even though it claimed to be the best pressure cooker chicken and dumpling recipe to ever exist. It was tasteless. No wait, it wasn’t completely tasteless. The chicken tasted like chicken. The dumplings tasted like flour. But there was no happy mingling of flavors. I’m beginning to wonder if that’s an issue with cooking food superfast, faster than ever really intended. Don’t foods need time for the flavors to join? Is that’s the beauty of slow-cookers? Although pressure cookers have been around for years and years, right?

I’ll keep experimenting…

Instant Pot Spaghetti

Link to Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe


So… I must admit… the spaghetti I made for dinner last night in my instant pot was just… okay… Probably wouldn’t make it again…

Making spaghetti the ‘traditional’ way of boiling noodles, browning hamburger, adding sauce and heating, isn’t really all that difficult. And doesn’t take all that long, although either way feels like FOREVER with two screaming children hanging on your pants. This was my first experience with my new instant pot though, so probably something good to break myself into fast cooking.

My biggest complaint about this recipe was the overall flavor. It was blah. I suppose you could add a lot more spices and such before cooking, or after, and cheese after too… The recipe calls for 36 oz of water, which I suspect is needed to cook the noodles, but I have a feeling this is what also contributed to the blah, watered down flavor of the sauce. Also, some of the noodles were stuck together and uncooked, but not a huge deal to fish those ones out and pitch.

Here’s what I wasn’t prepared for, this being my first instant pot experience… The recipe says to cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. Sounds super fast! But… I didn’t realize it takes at least 10 minutes to preheat before it starts the 8 minutes of actual cook time. And another 2 minutes at least to release all the steam, which note to self, next time don’t place pot under cabinets! Adding in the preheating time, and the fact that you still brown the hamburger first, although in the pot, saving a dirty dish at least, well, it just really wasn’t much faster, or better, than traditionally made spaghetti. In my opinion 🙂

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