Good afternoon!

So, just as I had suspected, breakfast didn’t hold me over.  By 1, my stomach was growling and I knew I wouldn’t last until 2 p.m., which is when I usually start prepping my lunch.

Enter this bad boy:

Look familiar? Total fluke, actually; my header came from my imagination!

Nothing is more satisfying in the entire world than a huge gob of peanut butter slathered directly onto a banana.  I ate about half of that small banana, and maybe a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter?  Plus the stuff that I licked off the knife.  And the stuff I licked off the lip of the jar.  Yum.

This is my new favorite brand of peanut butter.  It’s actually sort of generic.  I bought it from Costco, so it’s Kirkland brand.  I think I paid 7 bucks for two 28 oz jars of it, so that came out to something like 3.50$ per 28 oz jar.  The only ingredients are peanuts and salt, and it’s naturally sweet and creamy.  The only caveat is that I have to keep it in the refrigerator or it’ll go runny and melty on me.  However, the fridge keeps it solid.  I definitely recommend it.

That snack held me over for almost two hours, but I started thinking pretty heavily about lunch around 2:30.

And lo and behold, such was born the entity known as “Baked Potato Corn Chowder”!  But, since I hate the word “chowder,” I’ll just call it “Baked Potato Stew.”  Capice?

To start, I preheated my convection oven to 400 F.  While my oven preheated, I chopped up some onion and bell pepper.  I sprayed my pan with EVOO, then placed

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 heaping tablespoons of corn

on the sheet.  Yes, you read that right.  Two tablespoons of corn kernels.  You NEED to trust me on this one.  The taste the roasted corn added to the stew…each bite that held a kernel of corn lent a sweet pop to the bite.  Yum.

Those veggies roasted for about ten minutes, but watch them closly.  If you burn them, they’re gone forever.

Or not.  Depends on if you like burnt veggies.  A couple of my onion fragments became toast, but I ate them anyway.

Heaven in a bowl.

While my veggies roasted, I chopped/mashed my other half of my russet potato.  On the stove, I prepared a small stew pot with a bit of oil.  When the veggies were ready, I threw the peppers and onion into the pot and allowed them to crisp up and soften a bit (whoa, was that contradictory?).

Once they were tender, I made a quick “roux” out of 2 tsp cornstarch and 1 c water.  I poured that atop my sauteed vegetables, and stirred quickly to prevent any clumps.  Once it came to a boil, I added my potatoes.

The potatoes were tricksy little buggers, let me tell you.  They didn’t want to break down.  I highly advise that you give them a rough mash before throwing them into the pot, since I had to mash them as I went to make them break down.  You’ll want solid pieces for a delicious texture, but you also want it to break a bit, since the potato starch lends to the thickness of the stew.

How's that for delicious texture?

Bring your stew back to a boil, mashing at your potatoes as you go.  Once it starts to simmer, it’ll thicken up nicely.  At this point, you’ll want to add your corn and spices.  I used:

1/3 tsp basil

1/4 tsp dill

I then added

1/3 cup frozen peas

and

1/3 cup water.  The stew was wonderfully thick at this point, but almost too thick.  You may need more water, you may need less.  1/3 of a cup worked well for me, though.

Once that returned to a simmer, I added fresh cracked black pepper.  I used around ten cracks.  And yes, ten cracks.  Totally applicable kitchen term, so there.

Does it get any better than this?

I transferred the steaming, delicious mess to a bowl, and this is where my brain exploded.

You see, what’s a baked potato without a pat of butter?  Waitaminute, back up here, Kaz.  I thought you said you couldn’t eat dairy!  Well…yeah.  Of course.  But, my problem is, as far as I know, with dairy proteins.  Butter is dairy fat and you know how I love my fats.  Dairy proteins break my skin out something awful, but as far as I know, my body doesn’t mind a bit of dairy fat.  I can handle small doses of real cream and a pat of butter here and there, but I tend to avoid it just to be safe.

Besides, it was either that, or some rubbish “buttery spread.”  No thank you.  I’ll choose saturated milk fat over trans fat anyday, thank you very much.

So, with a heart full of longing, I cut off a hunk of butter and lovingly placed it atop my delicious stew.

Evidently, the answer is yes; yes, it does.

The brand of butter I buy is local and comes from grass-fed cows, so I feel no residual guilt from using it.  Besides, look at that picture.  Just imagine spooning savory, buttery bite after another into your mouth on a chilly afternoon.

I used about a half a tablespoon of butter, but a little bit goes a long way.  I regard butter like some regard salt or pepper: it’s a seasoning, and should be used accordingly.  For that bit of butter to get lost in the medley of flavors would be tragic.

Melt-a-riffic!

I also added a sprinkle of Lawry’s seasoned salt to the top of my stew.  A small bit goes a long way, and it really helped bring out the sweet savoriness of the stew.

Each bite was amazing.  Some tastes had a bit of roasted green pepper, and they added their own blend of sweet to the taste.  Some bites had corn, or onion, and all together, it was perhaps some of the best stew I had ever tasted.

I’m not afraid to admit that the butter is probably what pushed it over the edge into bliss, though.  Don’t fear the butter!

A recap now, if you will:

1/4 cup green bell pepper

2 tbs golden corn

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup frozen peas

1/2 large russet potato, baked then mashed

1 1/3 cup water

2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp dill

Fresh cracked black pepper

Dash of seasoned salt

1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

1/2 tbs butter

Stirred gently to integrate the butter. Gone two seconds later.

There you have it.  My lunch.

I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I did!

Thanks again for reading!

❤ Kaz

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