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Salmon Corn Chowder goes fast at church supper

Thursday, May 08, 2003

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Pat Harmon doesn't remember where she got today's recipe for Salmon Corn Chowder -- "Probably from a magazine" -- but it's been a family favorite as long as she can remember.


"It's a snap to make, and everyone always loves it," said the Economy, Beaver County (it's near Ambridge) resident.

Add two more fans. We were surprised at how delicious this super-easy chowder was and marveled that so much flavor came from five cans and 1 cup of Cheddar. It doesn't get any easier than that.

My testing buddy and I became addicted at the first spoonful and nearly ate the whole thing ourselves.

Pat, who makes it every year for her church's Meager Meal on Ash Wednesday, said, "The pot gets emptied early." We can see why.

"I always have requests for the recipe," said the former Countdown winner for Cajun Orange Mopped Chops.

"In fact, I was writing out the recipe for someone when I thought 'Why not send this in to Countdown To Dinner?' "

An inventive cook with an unusual hobby, this grandmother of two has been a full-time cooking contest entrant for 13 years.

She's a three-time Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist. Although she never won that plum, Pat has taken home cash prizes from Post Cereal, Reddi-wip, the National Beef Cook-Off, the Rice Federation and Mrs. Dash and has been a finalist for Campbell's Soup, Newman's Own and Quaker Oats.

"My life is a contest," she said. "My husband, Paul, is my guinea pig. Thank God he eats everything."

Her latest was the IGA Hometown Holidays Recipe contest in Chicago last month.

Her recipe -- Peppery, Vanilla-Scented Baked Salmon with Apricots -- didn't win, but she enjoyed the Windy City and lunched at Rick Bayless' restaurant.

Next month, for the second time, she's off to the National Chicken Cooking Contest in Baltimore.

Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs with Gingered Beet Relish is her entry, and she chose to use thighs over breasts for a reason.

"If you're a prize winner and you use dark meat, they increase your prize by $1,000," she said.

"Most people buy chicken breasts, so they use that as an incentive for people to buy dark meat."

McCormick's sent her the necessary spices needed in the dish, plus a spice rack, and Cutco sent her a set of knives -- "my fifth set of Cutco knives, and it's always the same set."

"I encourage people to enter contests all the time," she said. "It's a lot of fun, and all the contests are different."

Salmon Corn Chowder

  • 2 10 3/4-ounce cans con- densed cream of potato soup
  • 12-ounce can evaporated milk (we used fat-free)
  • 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 14-ounce can salmon, drained and broken into chunks (we used sock- eye)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine soup, milk and corn. Mix gently over medium heat. Stir in salmon (a piece of fresh salmon could also be used) and cheese. Heat until soup is hot and cheese is melted. Makes 8 cups.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to:nanderson@post-gazette.com . Questions? Call 412-263-3549.

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