1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped up very small
a couple pieces of cooked bacon, chopped up small (optional, adds color and flavor)
2 Tbsp butter or margarine or grease or oil
1 Tbsp flour
2-3 cups of milk (make it from dry milk: it's cheaper and no one has to know)
1 bag of frozen corn (about a pound)
1-2 raw potatoes, scrubbed thoroughly and diced
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the onion in the butter. Add the flour and make a nice paste. Slowly add the milk and stir the whole time, letting the mixture form a thin gravy of sorts. Add the potatoes, cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn, bacon (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Let the chowder heat over for 8-15 minutes.
If you want it to be smooth/creamy textured, puree half of it, recombine it, reheat, and serve.
Paired with some crackers or a sandwich, this is quite filling, and dirt cheap. The corn costs almost $2 total, but the rest of the ingredients are pennies a piece.
Alternatively, if you happen to have some leftover ham, a few chunks of ham taste wonderful in this hearty chowder as well.