Monday, February 18, 2019

Cheeseburger Chowder

Looking back on my life over the past ten years, I realize that I have changed in one, very distinct way.  I'm not referring to the obvious changes like an increase in wrinkles, a prominence of gray hair suddenly sprouting on the temples (actually that's Paul, not me...but my day is coming!), an inability to sleep for more than two hours at a time without being awoken by a hungry little midget, or being the not-so-proud owner of a large, non-sexy vehicle that can cram as many human beings inside as possible without being a city bus. What I want to talk about today is why, ten years ago, I never once would have considered serving something called Cheeseburger Chowder for dinner.

Ten years ago, I was a complete food snob. This was mostly because I didn't have any children and had loads of time to plan, execute, shop for, and make all kinds of gourmet recipes. Risotto, chicken Milanese, fresh french baguettes, fresh pasta, homemade sushi...all of these wonderful dishes were made in my tiny apartment kitchen! It was great actually because it was during that time that I learned how to cook and I am so very grateful that I had that brief time without picky little eaters to really develop my skills as a cook and baker so that, ten years later, I could retire and rely on boxed macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza, and hot dogs.

Because, dear readers, that is where my life is right now.

I might spend hours preparing a meal, only to serve it and then proceed to eat it myself while hearing the groans, wails, and protests from the little minions I helped create as they question my rationale behind serving them this swill! This has been such a frustrating experience that I actually cave on days where I am feeling the most vulnerable and weak and unable to take the taunting my children give me each time I try to feed them something delicious, nutritious, and homemade, and I actually give them what they want - the hot dogs, the macaroni and cheese, the frozen pizza.

The events of the following Calvin and Hobbes comic strip are a daily occurrence.

But I know that this is a really short phase in life, for soon my kids will grow up and their taste buds will grow along with them. We can have sushi later. We can eat risotto later. But for now, while they are little, I have to serve things that might tickle their palate while still being approachable to them. That's where this Cheeseburger Chowder comes in. Matthew spied a recipe for it and the name is what caught his eye. The recipe had the word "cheeseburger" in the title. To his little 9-year-old mind, of course it had to be delicious! Emma and Lucy were also equally intrigued, for they too would include cheeseburgers in their small list of foods that they will actually eat without complaint. As I said before, ten years ago I never would have even thought twice about making a recipe for something called Cheeseburger Chowder, but since my kids were actually asking for something different, I practically sprinted to the store to find the ingredients to make this for them. A mother's love knows no bounds.

And you know what? Shame on my snobby, 10-years-younger self, for Cheeseburger Chowder really is something delicious, comforting, and wonderful. No sashimi-grade fish, imported ingredients, or fancy, expensive seasonings that can't be found at a typical grocery store. This is American comfort food. Paul reveled in this soup, for it contains everything he loves - meat, cheese, and potatoes. He complimented me on it no less than four times while eating it. I should note that all the kids ate it as well, without complaint, although Lucy was disappointed that it did not contain any pickles (to her that vinegary condiment is essential to any decent cheeseburger). 

So break out the ground beef, cheese, and potatoes and make yourself a piping hot bowl of Cheeseburger Chowder. The most important part of our jobs as personal chefs to these little ones is that they do eat and that the food they eat isn't too terribly awful for them. This meal does just's nothing fancy, but it certainly makes a good, homemade meal.

Cheeseburger Chowder

1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¾ cup chopped onion
¾ cup shredded carrots
¾ cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for serving
1½ cups milk
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Brown the ground beef in 3 quart saucepan. Drain and set aside.

In the same saucepan add 1 tablespoon butter and add onion, shredded carrots, parsley flakes, and celery. Saute until tender.

Add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

In small skillet melt remaining butter (3 T) and add the flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Stir in the heavy cream, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve, passing extra cheese to sprinkle on top.


  1. Probably some comfort food for Paul. Mom made this for us when we were (a lot) younger. My kids call it SuperHero Soup.

  2. This sounds easy and like something Luke will definitely eat. Pretty sure it will be making it on my next meal plan!