a neighborly gift is my fave

October 25, 2012

Today’s post is from Joy of Frock Files. She’ll be dropping in now and again to share her ideas for simple, just because gifts inspired by the book 29 Gifts by Cami Walker (which now I must read).

My neighborhood has been a flurry of activity recently, with neighbors going through big life changes –you know, the kind that don’t allow for a lot of time in the kitchen. Whipping up a quick, hot meal for your neighbors doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort, but the unexpected gesture will definitely be appreciated and remembered long into the future. This healthy corn chowder is a crowd pleaser — and so is the cute packaging.

In less time than it takes to watch a cooking show, you’ll have finished this simple soup. It’s literally a matter of mashing a potato, sautéing a few ingredients, then adding a few more. Surprisingly, the complexity of flavor makes it taste like it took hours to make (you can pretend it did).

You’ll need:

1 medium uncooked yukon gold potato(es)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup thawed frozen corn (or fresh)
1/2 cup sweet red pepper(s), diced
3 strips uncooked bacon, diced
2 cups milk (skim, 1%, or 2%)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce

Pierce the potato with a fork at either end and around the middle. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, turn the potato over, then microwave for another three minutes. Alternately, you can boil the potato. Allow it to cool, then peel and mash well with a fork. In a large saucepan, saute onion, bacon, red pepper, and corn in olive oil over medium heat until vegetables are tender.

Stir the milk and mashed potato into the saucepan. Season with salt, pepper, and Sriracha. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes being careful not to boil.

Since glass jars make me happy and they’re prettier than plastic containers, I use them to hold everything from paper clips to cookies. These quart sized jars are perfect for the corn chowder. To dress them up, trace the removable part of the lid on a piece of spare wrapping paper and cut it out, then simply place the circle of paper on top of the lid before screwing the rim back on. And who can resist some red satin ribbon?

Giving small gifts can mean the difference between a rough day and a great one — for both the giver and the recipient. What’s the last little gift you gave?

This recipe was adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe. Find the original recipe here, download the adapted recipe here. The recipe for the cornbread pictured above can be found at Joy’s blog.


  • On October 25, 2012 , anna - Today I Like Blog said:

    I’d love to be your neighbour Joy 🙂
    while I was reading your post I thought “hey this is SO american” haha here in Spain this is not a very common thing to do! but I love it!

  • On October 25, 2012 , Jenni Bailey said:

    I love little gifts like this! Sometimes the smaller the better. After my daughter was born, a well-meaning friend brought over a HUGE pot of homemade chili. It was a nice gesture but she brought it straight from her stove so I had to pour it myself into my storage containers – and there was so much that I filled ALL of them (and most went into the freezer and were forgotten about)! Honestly a mason jar sized portion would have been perfect! I am totally going to remember this when I need a cute neighbor gift. 🙂

  • On October 25, 2012 , Joy said:

    Such a sweet idea! I’m trying to keep Christmas gifts on the less expensive side this year for family, this might be a good solution.

  • On October 25, 2012 , Anum said:

    Joy, I wish you were my neighbour! Haha, what a lovely little gift. xoxo

  • On October 25, 2012 , amber said:

    This is a GREAT idea for a post series! And I just started reading that book as well! I made chicken tortilla soup for a friend with a new baby recently, and it would have been perfect to package it this way. I need to get a few quart-sized mason jars just for this purpose. Yay for neighborly gifts–love the sentiment behind this.

  • On October 25, 2012 , Theresa said:

    I love this idea! The packaging is so sweet and perfect. I’m looking forward to seeing what other ideas Joy has up her sleeve for this wonderful new series. Yay, Joy!

  • On October 25, 2012 , Janssen said:

    This is so sweet! And now I just had to go request that book from the library.

  • On October 25, 2012 , bobolink said:

    I call this a “random act of dinner” and love doing it!

  • On October 25, 2012 , Stephanie said:

    This is such a great idea! That corn chowder looks delicious, and I love the addition of sriracha sauce. Looking forward to seeing more of Joy’s posts here!

  • On October 25, 2012 , Yelle said:

    So sweet! This is such a thoughtful recipe!

  • On October 25, 2012 , MJ @parscaeli said:

    So great to find Joy here. I love how you executed this all so beautifully. You are welcome in my neighborhood any time! XO, MJ

  • On October 26, 2012 , Julie said:

    That corn chowder looks delicious (especially when it’s packaged so prettily)! I bet your neighbors love having someone as thoughtful as you living nearby. 🙂

  • On October 26, 2012 , Joy | Frock Files said:

    If we were all neighbors, it would be one crafty, beautifully decorated, happy neighborhood, indeed. Thanks to all, and especially to Melanie for welcoming me here.

  • On October 26, 2012 , Melissa said:

    So excited for this new series!

  • On October 26, 2012 , Amelia said:

    Thanks so much for posting this yummy recipe! I made one substitution, used 1/4tsp. Tabasco because I didn’t have Siracha, and it was perfectly spiced.

    I do think the bacon part needs to be changed. Cutting up the raw bacon was difficult, and then it didn’t cook right when thrown in with the steaming vegetables. I think it needs to be cooked (whole) on its own, then crumbled into the soup.

    Many thanks for the delish comfort food!

  • On October 27, 2012 , Joy | Frock Files said:

    Amelia, how fantastic that you made the soup! I’m going to try the crumbled bacon next time – it sounds like a delicious way to do it. We liked the ham-like consistency of the bacon cooked this way, but we’re always trying to change things up with our favorite recipes, to keep it fresh. The original recipe uses Canadian bacon, which is another great alternative. Thanks for the idea!

  • On October 30, 2012 , robyn said:

    i love this-and the orla kiely wrapping paper makes it looks so cute. great idea

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