Fast-and-Fit Clam Chowder

1 T. butter or margarine
1 c. chopped leeks or onions
1 c. diced red and/or green bell peppers
2 (6 1/2 oz.) can chopped clams in clam juice
2 lb. (6 med.) potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 (14 1/2 oz.) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 c. low-fat milk
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper, to taste

Place butter in 2 1/2- to 3-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 minute. Add leeks and bell peppers; microwave on high 3 minutes. Drain juice from clams into microwaved vegetables, reserving clams. Stir in potatoes, broth and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap, venting one corner. Microwave on high 20 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove 4 cups cooked potatoes; set aside. Pour contents of bowl into container of electric blender; add milk, and hold lid down tightly, blend until smooth. Return mixture to bowl. Stir in reserved clams and potatoes, the corn and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Microwave on high 3 minutes, until heated through. If desired, pass bowls of shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped parsley and/or crumbled, cooked bacon and stir into soup. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Microwave cooking times are based on a 700-watt microwave. Adjust cooking times to your own oven.

Menu: Sesame Breadsticks; Butter Lettuce, Mushroom and Sprout Salad, Frozen Yogurt.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (without optional toppings): 370 calories, 7 gm fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 420 mg sodium, 65 gm carbohydrate, 5 gm fiber, 19 gm protein.