Dining Out At Home 2:Sidedish Part 2


Dining Out At Home Two has a very generous level of side dishes and I just could not pass up the opportunity to create this baked potato casserole. This comforting dish is inspired by a very successful American restaurant called Dickey's Barbecue Pit that spends hours smoking their meat and creating memorable side dishes.This is surely a restaurant I would love to check off my bucket list.

This is a truly easy to prepare casserole that embodies basic ingredients along with consistent directions.Its a comfort food at its best along with emulating everyone's beloved dish, loaded baked potatoes. This recipe is very quick to follow and you can gradually prepare your own main dish while baking these potatoes.This continues to be a very versatile vegetable and the recipe its self is also quite adaptable.The casserole can be simply multiplied for a larger crowd and the garnishes can be simply changed for your own desire.There is lots of room for your own creativity and I adore that this recipe can match with several main dishes.Just think crisp chicken wings,fresh Cesar salad and baked potato casserole.I think a delicious combo at that.Two thumbs up!

Now we cannot go without mentioning the taste test? Well with every bite that I took it was absolute comfort and would love to make this for a summer BBQ. The casserole has layers of texture and flavor that it's almost hard to describe without experiencing it for yourself.The potatoes were incredibly smooth,pureed and fluffy.The flavors were rich,tangy,zesty,savory,buttery and even smokey.The garnishes were the best part by attracting great color,texture as well as overall flavor.It was a top notch flavor experience and would love to make this casserole again. 

I absolutely recommend everyone to try this recipe for themselves.You do not want to miss out on this flavor explosion.Just think about your favorite meal and try integrating this casserole into it.Never known you might love it

The Recipe

Baked Potato Casserole 
Inspired By Dickey's Barbecue Pit

4 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup bacon,cooked and crumbled 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onion tops

Preheated the oven to 425 F,scrubbed the russets potatoes and baked them for 1 hour,until tender.Cookbook Tip: You do not have to poke hole in the potatoes,they actually stay light and fluffy if you don't.

While the potatoes were baking, I fried about 7-8 pieces of bacon,more then the recommended amount.I love to have extra if I want more for the recipe or top with a salad.I also grated the cheddar cheese and sliced the green onion. Leaving the garnishes aside,until ready to use.

When the potatoes cooled enough to handle I cut each potato in half and scooped out the flesh into a large bowl.

Then with my electric mixer I mashed the potatoes until smooth,adding in the softened butter,sour cream and milk.Then mixed in the salt and pepper and about 1 tbsp of bacon bits(Tip:You can easily add more bacon if you wish,I did!)

Then I spooned the mash potatoes into a 2 quart casserole dish that is sprayed with cooking spray or greased with oil.(Tip: Mash potatoes get cold very easily,So I turned the oven down to 350 F and kept the casserole warm,until serving) 

Then once it was warm enough to serve,I garnished it with bacon bits,shredded cheese and green onion. (Tip :You could even place it in the oven again to melt the cheese)

Dining Out At Home Cookbook 2:Sidedish Part 1


Dining out at home Two has a variety of scrumptious side orders that can match with just about any main dish you can convene .The recipes are effortless and practice with very reasonable ingredients.There are side dishes such as casseroles,pastas,rice and even a carrot souffle for increased elegance's. Overall,I love the variation of cuisine and culture that is involved in each recipe so far, due to various restaurant styles.It assigns me a great challenge along with exposing me to fresh new flavors.Its truly a win,win situation.

Therefore what recipe did I choose to create this time? Well I went with a pasta side dish that involves Parmesan along with fresh lemon to pair with salmon and coleslaw.This side dish can couple with just about any of your beloved mains dish and in itself can be the focus of attention.

This Lemon Greek Penne Pasta is inspired by Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant that exists based in many states in the U.S.A.Its  comparable to a Alfredo sauce in sense of being rich and creamy.It's produced with fundamental ingredients and assigns easy steps to develop the side dish.It also embraces the ability to be  adaptable,particularly with the ingredients being utilized.I can even see myself multiplying this recipe to prepare it a a main dish and catering to a wide crowd.Lastly, it can also be created ahead of time and put together at the last minute.Can easily bring it to a potluck dinner.

Though this recipe may be clear it can acquire it's own challenges.These conflicts  can go terribly wrong, very rapidly. Whys that? Well my experience with numerous dairy-based sauces is you have to watch constantly to prevent any scorching.Heavy cream is the one high valued ingredient in this recipe and can easily burn in a very short time.Therefore its very effective to be cautious because once that occurs there is no turning back.No one wants to throw away money.

Lastly, it's also important what kind of Parmesan you decide to use. Preshredded or block? Either can be used and each carry a slightly different texture.What do you mean by that? Well I used preshredded for this recipe and learned quickly that it doesn't exactly dissolve efficiently.This exists due to the additives in the shredded Parmesan to maintain its shape. If you grate block Parmesan you will have a smoother sauce.This is not a big deal for me because the sauce was still smooth and who doesn't love cheese.So if you can handle these efficient tips for this recipe then I encourage you to try out this recipe.

 Now, the flavor and texture are the core to any recipe.This lemon greek penne pasta is rich and creamy likened to a Alfredo sauce.The lemon is certainly the secret weapon to this side dish drawing in a bright,fresh and sharp flavor to the overall cheesy sauce.Its a beautiful delicate sauce over a perfect batch of al-dente penne past,a along with fresh chopped parsley.Its an essential side order for dinner and will aim to impress your family and friends.I give this side dish a two thumbs up!

The Recipe

Lemon Greek Penne Pasta by Sweet Tomatoes

12 ounces dried penne pasta
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 cup grated Parmesan,plus more for garnish (Preshredded Parmesan can be used;however won't melt completely)
11/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Minced parsley or capers for garnish(optional)

I filled a large pot of water half way and sprinkled a small amount of salt into the water.Then placed it at medium heat,until boiling.I added 12 ounces of penne pasta to the boiling water,until they were al- dente.

While I was preparing the pasta,I placed a large saucepan over medium heat,melting the butter and then whisking in the cream.

When the mixture began to bubble,I stirred in the grated Parmesan, until the sauce was well blended and the cheese was melted
(I used preshredded Parmesan and learned quickly that it doesn't melt completely) So if you want a really smooth sauce, grate your own Parmesan. (Tip:watch carefully when making this sauce)

Then I added the lemon juice and lemon zest and seasoned with pepper and salt.

Once the pasta was al-dente. I drained the pasta with a colander and transfer it to a glass bowl. Then I poured the sauce over the pasta and toss to mix well.Then I garnished it with parsley and additional Parmesan.

Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two:Main Dishes Part 2


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Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two, is inspired by many popular American restaurants and the chapter labeled main dishes has many of those beloved dining experiences.Thanks to this cookbook we can enjoy  these meals in our own home, while bringing our own ideas into the mix.So with the vast variety of dishes in this one chapter, I know I could not go without reviewing one last recipe.This time I selected a restaurant that I have never heard of, along with an unique recipe to experience.

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Luby's is a cafeteria well known in Texas and has created an unique way to prepare a pretty plain recipe.Just think about shredded cheddar cheese, crisp bacon and chopped green onion atop a juicy hamburger steak.That description already has my mouth watering and guess what anyone can make this recipe themselves.Its extremely quick to make with directions that are quite easy to follow. It's also made with very simple ingredients and you have lots of room to spread around your own creativity.Its a top notch recipe and I definitely recommend it.  

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This is can be a fancy main course that can be easily served with just about anything.This is a very flavorful hamburger steak.It is well balanced with seasoning salt and pepper,with a dash of Worcestershire sauce.It is also very tender and juicy meat because its broiled for a brief duration in a bath of beef broth.This keeps the meat very moist while bringing more overall flavorful to the hamburger steak.Then lastly its topped with a few flavorful toppings such as rich cheddar cheese,green onion and crisp salty bacon.It has multiple layers of flavor and definitely will impress your friends and family.

This is now one of my favorite ideas for using ground beef and I can find no flaws in this recipe,not that I'm looking.Well I could say these definitely didn't last long.So all that says is everyone loved these hamburger steaks and if you're running out of ideas for dinner,add this your list you will not be disappointed.Two thumbs up!

The Recipe

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Bacon,Cheddar Hamburger Steak
Inspired By Luby's Cafeteria

2 pounds ground chuck
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1(14.5 oz) can beef broth or 500mls
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 pound bacon,cooked crisp and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

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 I fried about 6-7 pieces of bacon, until crisp ( I love bacon!)

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Then I grated the old age cheddar cheese and chopped the green onion thinly.Then I set aside the toppings on a plate for later.

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 In a medium metal bowl I combined the ground chuck with seasoning salt,pepper and Worcestershire sauce,mixing well with a large fork. Then I shaped the meat into 6 oblong patties about 3/8 inches thick and then placed them in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish.

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Then I covered the bottom of the dish with beef broth.

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Then I heated the oven's broiler on high (500F) and broiled the beef patties, until completely done.This took about 10-13 minutes.Then I removed the dish and flipped the patties to brown the bottoms for a few minutes.

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Then I topped the cooked patties with the cheese,bacon and green onion.Then I returned them to the oven ,until the cheese was melted.I kept them in the baking dish, until ready to serve to stay warm and moist.

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Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two:Main Dishes


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Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two, has a variety of unique and delicious main course recipes that everyone, can prepare themselves.This includes recipes for  different clienteles from fancy dishes, such as Olive Garden's Baked Pasta Ramona to Denny's basic club house sandwich.Though, this chapter may have levels of variety, the recipes still follow closely to being  budget friendly along with using simple ingredients.So with that special trait it makes it very possible to make  these recipes without hesitation.

So with so many unique recipes in my lap, it was still a taunting task to choose what recipes I wanted to review.I eventually narrowed it down to what my budget was going to be and what struck me as something I really wanted to learn.The first recipe I chose to make was Cracker Barrel's Old Country Store Sunday Chicken.I picked this recipe because I have never made fried chicken before and I felt comfortable enough to work with a deep fryer.

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The Sunday chicken was however a big eye-opener for me in sense of the deep frying aspect.This was a completely different experience for me compared to last time.Because this situation included cooking meat that was thicker, heavier and contain a lot of moisture.So I had to make sure to keep my self save and let the chicken fully cook in the process.It was a overwhelming task at first, since the oil is at 350F and bubbling viciously with frying each breast.So I went the safe route and felt best to fry each chicken breast one by one to prevent any over-boiling or spitting. I also used long metal tongs and wear a silicone glove to keep myself protected as much as possible.Its very important to keep yourself safe to prevent any burns or accidents.If you need more information, I will include safety with using a stock pot or deep fryer in the recipe below.

 So now that we have some information about deep frying chicken, lets start by breaking down this recipe.Well I found the directions to be right at the point and the preparation of the chicken to be very quick.This recipe is simply about preparing a buttermilk liquid and a seasoned mixture for the chicken breast to bask in.From there we can fry each piece to create a crispy golden brown exterior, while still keeping flavor and moisture.There is no fear of any of the meat drying out because each piece fry's at eight minutes at a very high temperature.The only disadvantages to frying is it can take sometime for the oil to reach a high heat and the chicken can become cold  fast.So I made sure to give myself more time for this recipe to complete it correctly and efficiently.  

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So the most important part to any recipe is the flavor and texture test.So when I took my first bite of homemade Sunday chicken it was definitely a comforting experience.The breast exterior was crispy and crunchy, while staying very juicy and moist.It was also wonderfully seasoned with salt and pepper with a slightly tangy flavor of the buttermilk.It was cooked very evenly and is delightful with a side dish of creamy garlic mash potatoes.It was a lovely foodie experience and I would do it all over again.

It is a two thumbs up for this recipe for preparation, simple ingredients, and definitely texture and flavor.I recommend this recipe to serve at your next dinner because everyone will love you for it.Who would not love a comforting dish, that is has beautiful as this Sunday chicken. So stay tune,for another main course recipe comming soon

The Recipe

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Sunday Chicken
Inspired By Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Vegetable oil.for frying
4-5 boneless,skinless chicken breasts
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water

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In a tall stock pot I filled the canola up to 3 inches in height.Preheated the oil to 350F on low-med.I used a deep frying thermometer to measure the heat.Tips: Adjusting the heat is key.Turn down to low if going above 350F to cool down,if temp is going to low put to medium.

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 To prepare the chicken breast,I defrosted my chicken and then flatten each to make uniform shapes.I placed each one between plastic wrap and used a rolling pin to gently pound the breasts, about 3/8 inches thick.

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Then I prepare the seasoned flour by combining all purpose flour,salt and pepper in a medium stainless bowl,stirring well to distribute the ingredients.Then I combined buttermilk and water together.

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I seasoned each chicken breast with a little salt and pepper.Then I dredge each piece in the seasoned flour,dipped in buttermilk and lastly dredge in the seasoned flour.

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I shook off the excess flour and slowly lowered one breast into the hot oil using long metal tongs and cooked each piece for 8 minutes,until golden brown,flipping halfway through to fry evenly on each side.Then I drained each piece on a wire rack.I fried one piece at a time for safety and kept them warm in the oven till serving.

Deep Frying Tips:

Tip #1 Use the tallest and largest pot you have, such as a stock pot or dutch oven, or best of all deep fryer

Tip#2 Only fill the pot with oil halfway, which is about 3 inches-4 inches deep 

Tip #3 Attached a deep fryer thermometer to the pot while it is preheating.Never use a meat thermometer and never emerge a thermometer into hot oil.

Tip#4 Use your best large metal tongs to grasp the chicken to place in the hot oil,flip or take out.

Tip#5. Wearing Silicone gloves are great to protect your hands and wearing a long sleeve shirt.

Tip#6 The hot oil will drop its temperature when the chicken is added.This is normal;however you must adjust the temp on the oven from low-med to prevent the temperature from going over 350F or to low.It is possible to adjust from low to medium while the chicken is cooking,just be careful not to touch the hot pot.

Tip #7 Always keep the thermometer attached to the pot,some thermometers will touch the bottom of the pot,to see the exact temp put sure to lift the thermometer away from the bottom and let it read for a few seconds and then place back down.

Tip #8 Oil will hiss, or bubble while the chicken is cooking.If it begins to spit,place the temperature to low and stay out of the way.

Tip #9 When done cooking,turn off element and let oil completely cool.Recycle this oil,you cannot filter this oil due to raw meat contamination.

Dining Out At Home Two:Soups!

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Dining Out At Home 2 Cookbook has a handful of comforting soup's that everyone can easily make in their own home.They are soups that are simple recreations from popular restaurants such as Apple bee's,Olive Garden,Kroger's and Outback Steakhouse etc. Also the soups are great to enjoy the next day and I feel can be easily doubled or even tripled to serve a larger crowd.Sounds like a chapter I would dive into first?

 So for my choice,I made a creamy based soup from this chapter called Baked Potato Soup inspired by Outback Steakhouse.This was the go to recipe for me because I love the versatility of potatoes and I felt it was quite a unique idea that the potatoes are baked prior for this particular soup.I just knew that this would have a new affect on the potatoes texture and I couldn't resist trying out a new idea for potato soup.So once I made my mind up on the soup I wanted I still felt this recipe was a little lonely and would benefit with a partner recipe.So I chose to make Kroger's inspired homemade bread bowl to serve the soup in, to complete the foodie experience.So how did it turn out for me?

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Well I find homemade soups to be quite easy to make,along with lots of room to experiment.Baked Potato Soup is one of those recipes because its made with pretty basic ingredients and follows a simple method.It follows a method of creating a roux,which aid has a thickening agent and enhances flavors.It also follows a method of gradually adding a low sodium broth and a heavy cream to the roux to prevent lumps and help thicken slowly.Both these aspects in the directions help create richness in flavor and a creamy texture for this particular soup.Lastly,I'm impressed that the fact that low sodium broth is use in this recipe because I was able to control the salt content throughout and had more room to season to my desire.Also,in this recipe, there is lots of room to easily add has many different flavors or ingredients as you like and for me I feel to keep as closely as possible to Stephanie inspiration.

Now, we just want to know what this tastes like, right? Well I was told that this is the best soup that I have ever made thus far.So I guess that definitely says something right off the bat and I agree that it is my favorite soup as well.Every spoonful of this creamy soup is quite addictive and you just want to go back for second or thirds.It has this layer of flavor and texture that just brings you back every time.This baked potato soup is very creamy and rich with heavy cream, along with tender pieces of potatoes with a well balance of seasoning.Though the big surprise in flavor with this soup is when its served.Because we have crisp bacon,shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion sprinkled on top of this warm,hardy soup.This brings bright and rich flavors to the overall soup,along with a beautiful,impressive appearance. This would be a delicious soup to serve your family and friends.Baked Potato Soup is a top notch recipe and I will  definitely be making it again.

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So now that I have a simple and delicious soup.I knew I needed something equally as good to serve it in so I chose to make Kroger's homemade bread bowls.Yes? It's a bowl you can serve with and eat at the same time.This is quite a unique way to include bread and soup together,along with creating a country,rustic appearance.

These bread bowls are quite simple to make and are sturdy enough to hold any hardy soup.They create a wonderfully buttery and fluffy center along with a beautiful golden exterior.Though I do have to be honest it does take some patience to make these buns because of the rising aspect.So I recommend to give yourself lots of time if you have a deadline and to prep any soup ingredients ahead.So overall,I love the bread bowl idea and it was well worth the wait to serve these with the delicious baked potato soup.A top notch recipe and will be making this recipe again as well.

So I am quite impressed so far with Stephanie Manley recipes and next chapter I will be taking on Main Dishes.So be sure to keep close by and see what unique dishes I will take on.Everyone enjoy your weekend and this baked potato soup. 

The Recipe

Bread Bowls 
Serves 5-6 bread bowls

1 1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp quick rise or 1 package instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 cups all- purpose flour
2 tbsp semolina flour(optional)
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil,for bowl
Vegetable shortening,for baking

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I combined the warm water in a medium bowl with the yeast and sugar.Setting aside to bubble and foam.

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I added the flour and salt to my stand mixer bowl.Once the yeast was completed.I poured the liquid into the flour mixture.I placed my dough hook on and blended it on medium, until the hook could no longer blend everything.

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 I unhooked my bowl, sprinkled flour on my work surface and kneaded the dough, until soft and smooth.

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Then I placed the soft dough in a medium bowl with 1 tsp of vegetable oil and turned the dough to coat.Then I allowed the dough to rise in a warm place,covered with a towel.Letting it double in size at 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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Then I greased the baking sheet and lightly dusted with cornmeal.Then dividing the dough into 5-6 portions.Forming the balls and placed them on the prepared sheet.Now for a second rising,I covered the buns with a towel and let double in size for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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Once they were fully risen, I uncovered the balls and let them sit for 10-15 minutes,to develop a tougher skin.Preheating the oven to 425F. Before baking I sprinkled the bread bowls with water and baked them for 20 minutes,until they became deep golden brown.

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Then I removed the buns from the oven and let them completely cool or until easy to handle.Then I cut the tops off of each and scooped out the insides.Then served them with soup.

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Tip:The bread inside is great to dip into soup or using for homemade croutons. 

Tip:If using bread bowls later, you can easily wrapped them before use.

Tip: While the dough is rising, this is the time to start prepping your favorite soup, or a soup in this cookbook.

Baked Potato Soup

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(Inspired by Outback Steakhouse)
Serves 8-10 cups

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4 medium potatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped white onions
1/2 cups butter
1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt,or to taste
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper,or to taste
8 slices of fried bacon,until crispy and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion

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I preheated the oven to 400 F. Placed 4 medium russet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them for 1 hour,once they were easily pierced with a fork.I removed the potatoes and let them cool, until they were easy to handle.Peeled and chopped them into bite-size pieces,setting them aside.

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While I waited for the potatoes to bake,I fried up the bacon slices, until crisp and crumbly,drain them on a small towel and set them aside.I also grated the cheddar cheese,chopped the white onion and chopped the green onion,setting aside as well.

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In a large pot over medium-high heat,I cooked the chopped white onion in the butter,until they were translucent.I added the flour and stirred until it cooked out the raw flour taste.It will smell like cooked pie crust. (Method: This is the roux I was talking about that helps thicken sauces and soups)

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Then I stirred in 1 cup of chicken broth,mixing quickly.Once it thickened,I added another cup of broth,letting it thicken further.Lastly I added the remaining 2 cups of broth.Then I stirred in the 2 cups of heavy cream,allowing to thicken again and adding the rest of the cream.(Method: Gradually adding the liquid helps prevent lumps and will thicken more slowly.)

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Then I let the mixture come to a soft boil and then reduced the heat to low.This is when I added the diced bake potato and seasoned with salt and pepper.I found I had to add more salt and pepper then mentioned.To serve,I poured a portion in the bread bowls and sprinkled bacon,shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion on top.
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