Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Creamy Vegetable Soup

It’s that time of winter. You’re starting to get a bad case of  “cabin fever” if you live (like me) in a cold climate like Minnesota, and the best thing to do is get outside and play in the cold and snow. It’s absolutely necessary this time of the winter, to get outside and blow off some steam, and get some much-needed fresh air. I had to share this photo of my mom and her cousin (my godmother), when they were about 3-4 years old, playing on a sled in the snow. I’m sure their mothers told hem to go outside and get some fresh air. They are definitely bundled up for the weather and ready to go!

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This is just so stinkin’ cute! I hope they found one of the dads or uncles to pull them around on that sled!

Today’s recipe is perfect for when you’ve been outside playing in the cold and snow and it’s time to come in, warm up, and have a nice warm bowl of soup. This Creamy Vegetable Soup recipe comes from an old neighbor of my mom’s from years ago. You can get this set up in the crock pot early in the morning and play outside all day!

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This makes a big batch!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Vegetable Soup

Put into crock pot:

1 1/2 quarts water

6 cubes of chicken bouillon (you could probably use chicken broth, but I think the bouillon cubes give it a bit of a more intense flavor)

1/2 of an onion, chopped

2 1/2 cups chopped potato

1 cup diced carrot

16 ounce package of frozen vegetables

Cook on low 7-8 hours.

1 1/2 hours before it’s finished cooking add:

3 cans cream of chicken soup

1/2 to 1 pound Velveeta Cheese, diced

When cheese is melted, soup is ready.

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It doesn’t take long to chop all the veggies and get the soup ready to go.

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When it’s time to add the Cream of Chicken Soup and the Velveeta Cheese, it does need time to melt.

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Oh boy, this is so good!

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All you need is some crackers or bread or maybe a nice green salad to go with this soup.

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This soup is delicious and warming and easy and ready right when you need it. Now get your crock pot ready, make up a batch of this soup, then go outside and blow off some steam. Build a snowman, go skiing, do some ice skating, play hockey, or get some snowshoes on. The possibilities are endless. Go ahead – get outside and get some fresh air before real bad “cabin fever” sets in! Then come on inside and dive in to that bowl of warm, delicious soup.

 

 

 

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Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables

The recipe for today is from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook, copyright 1978, and is one of the stand-by recipes that I have used many times over the years. It’s amazing that something with such simple ingredients can be so darn tasty. My husband was recently sick with what sure sounded like pneumonia to me (although the Dr. didn’t say so), and it was time to try out the scientifically proven fact that chicken soup can, indeed, help you feel better when you’re sick.

Before I finish my story, I have to share this adorable photo of my adorable husband who is already running to get his golf ball after whacking it with that club! He looks like he’s about 2 years old here – what a cutie!

Paul running with golf club

Love the fuzzy hair and the baby buggy in the background! It looks like whoever took the photo was interrupting his game, and that’s a no-no (as we all we all well know from playing games with him now)! Ok – back to the chicken soup story . . .

While sitting across the room from my husband when he was sick, I was able to hear what sounded like a very loud crackle coming from him when he breathed. He was miserable and had already been on 3 medications for a couple of days, but this didn’t sound good to me and it was time to take action. Off to the kitchen to make a pot of this Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables. He needed all the help he could get!

Here is recipe as I made it:

Chicken-Noodle  Soup with Vegetables

2 1/2 pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up (for this batch I used 3 chicken breasts)

1 quart water

4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 2 cups)

4 medium stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices (about 2 cups)

1 small onion, sliced (this isn’t in the original recipe, but I always put it in, along with, sometimes, 1/2 cup of frozen peas)

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Tablespoon monosodium glutamate, optional (I never use this)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 chicken bouillon cubes (if using these, omit the above mentioned 1 Tablespoon of salt – it is plenty salty)

2 cups uncooked thin egg noodles (I couldn’t find thin noodles, so I used medium)

Heat all ingredients except noodles to boiling in a 4 quart Dutch oven; reduce heat.

Cover and simmer until chicken is done about 45 minutes.

Skim fat if necessary.

Cook noodles as directed (I don’t cook the noodles first – I just put them into the broth when the chicken is removed).

Remove chicken from broth and cool slightly.

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.

Add chicken and noodles to broth; heat until hot, about 5 minutes.

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Here are the very simple ingredients.

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Here’s the chicken – into the pot – and out of the pot and cut up.

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This soup is incredibly easy and incredibly good!

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It worked! It helped! My husband is finally on the mend and I’m going to take credit for it. Never mind that he had to take those 3 medications. My prescription for colds, flu, pneumonia, and any other ailments (physical or mental) – a big pot of this soup. It will make you feel so much better, in so many ways.

 

 

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Winter at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm for me as a child was not as fun as being there during the summer, but one thing I remember doing there was looking for the frosty swirls on their dining room windows that told us it was very cold outside. Grandma used to say, “Jack Frost has been here!” I’d sit in front of those frosty glass windows and imagine all kinds of things about those designs on the windows. I would see a blizzard of crystal snowflakes and flowers and stars, there were forests where there had to be fairies and gnomes hiding behind every icy tree, I found little towns and villages where the swirls and twirls of frost made what I was sure were miniature houses lived in by all sorts of elves and little people. It was also fun to experiment with my warm breath and fingers on those windows by blowing on the glass to make even more shapes and designs, and use my fingers to see how big a clear spot I could make (I’m sure Grandma didn’t appreciate my fingers on her windows!!) or if I might be able to make a big enough and clear enough hole in the frost to see outside the window! On sunny days those windows were shining with glitter from the sunbeams coming through the frost and glass. I loved it! Imagination is a beautiful thing. I hope that even as an adult, I never lose it! I’ll keep looking for the signs of Jack Frost!

It’s winter and it’s cold. There are times when the nights are now sometimes below zero, and all we want to do is hunker down in our cozy homes with a nice, steamy bowl of soup and stay warm and toasty. Now is the time to pull out all of our favorite soup recipes, and even try some new ones. This Creamy Cauliflower Soup is just right for a chilly winter night. I know that I sound like a broken record (for those of you who know what a record is), but this is so easy and so inexpensive and so good and so great for a quick lunch or dinner. All you need is to add a salad and some bread and you’re good to go.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

You have to try this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into flowerets

1/4 cup butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 Tablespoon chopped green onion

Simmer cauliflower covered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.

(I used a bag of frozen cauliflower made according to the package directions.)

Drain.

Melt butter in saucepan and sauté onion until soft.

Add flour and blend.

Gradually mix in chicken broth and then milk, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.

Add cauliflower.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in cheese.

Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped green onion.

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I had a bit of technical difficulty with my camera when taking these photos, so please forgive the kind of washed out photos.

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I love adding the color of the chopped green onions – and a bit more shredded cheddar.

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This is a very tasty soup!

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After you’re done using your imagination to keep cabin fever at bay, and you’ve found the signs that Jack Frost has, indeed, been near your house, that’s when you know it’s time for a nice hot bowl of this soup. Try this recipe one of these very cold winter nights! You’ll love how easy and delicious this is!

 

 

 

 

 

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Split Pea Soup

Today’s recipe is one that both of my grandmas would have appreciated. They both came out of the Great Depression, and they had to be frugal. This picture of Grandma says it was taken in February of 1936. I LOVE this photo! There is also a photo of grandma and her 3 sisters sitting in this same snow bank. I LOVE that one, too, but they must have also taken individual photos of all the girls. I love her little hat, and her striped mittens, and the way she’s sitting in the snow. It looks like they had a lot of snow that year. I’d like to think that they all went into the house, after posing for photos in the snow bank, and had a nice bowl of soup!

Split Pea Soup

Both grandmas would have loved that I was being so frugal. I made Split Pea Soup with the ham bone from our Christmas ham. This soup could also be under the heading of Money Saving Meal,s like the Turkey Soup I posted in January, using the carcass from our Thanksgiving turkey. I just put the carcass of the turkey and the ham bone into plastic freezer bags after we’ve taken all the meat off that we can, and put them in the freezer until later when we need some nice, warming soup. This Split Pea Soup is so economical and so good. We’ve had such cold weather here in Minnesota this winter, that I’ve found myself making as many soups as I can. I don’t really have a recipe card, so I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Split Pea Soup

Put into crock pot:

1 pound of split peas, rinsed (make sure you inspect them for anything you don’t want in there, like small rocks)

1 ham bone (you could also just use cut up ham)

4 carrots, cut in 1″ chunks

4 celery stalks, cut in 1″ chucks

1 large onion, cut in 1″ chunks

3-4 medium potatoes, cut in 1″ chunks (I had 1 gigantic russet that I cut up for this)

Salt and pepper to taste

Thyme (if desired, but I didn’t use this since our ham was from Christmas and had spices from the glaze on it – our Christmas ham glaze is full of cinnamon and cloves)

8 quarts water

Put on lid.

Turn on high and let cook 6-8 hours, depending on how hot your crock pot cooks (I had mine on all day).

Take out ham bone and any bits that fall off of the bone.

Most of the meat will fall off the bone and you can easily pull it apart.

Return meat to crock pot and serve.

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Split peas are such a beautiful color – my favorite color!

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I’ve kept the ham bone in the freezer since Christmas, but this will work with an Easter ham bone, too!

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It’s so healthy and cheap – most of this stuff you have in your frig – just keep a bag of split peas handy.

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It seems like a lot of ingredients and water, but it does all fit into the crock pot.

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This soup is delicious. Period. Get this going, go out and play in the snow, and then come into your nice warm house and have a steaming bowl of this nice, warming soup.

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Homemade Chicken Stock

I love winter and playing in the snow – I always have. I was about 5 years old in this photo and it looks like I’m enjoying myself. I distinctly remember that hat! It was navy blue with a big white pouf and a big red pouf on the side. It also looks like I was using someone else’s gloves – those don’t seem to fit me very well.

Chicken Stock

Playing in the snow can leave you so cold and wet, you need something warm when you come inside. One of the best parts of playing in the snow is coming back inside to the warm and toasty house and a hot bowl of soup.

I finally decided to try to make my own Homemade Chicken Stock since I seem to use a lot of it every winter, and frankly, the stuff you buy isn’t that flavorful. I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof  (you can find the book here). Actually, I needed some stock for soup and I didn’t have any in the house. I did have most of the ingredients to make the stock, so I decided to try it. I’ll just type out the recipe here instead of copying it – I did make some changes.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Homemade Chicken Stock

Put into a large stockpot:

1 package of chicken legs (cheaper than whole chickens, and only chicken I had)

2 yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered

4 carrots, unpeeled and halved crosswise

1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise

6 sprigs of dried thyme (from my summer garden)

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns (not ground)

Add:

5 quarts of water

Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours, skimming off any foam that comes to the top.

Cool.

Strain through a colander (she says to throw away all the solids, but I have a hard time throwing all that chicken).

Pack the liquid in quart containers and refrigerate or freeze for up to 4 months.

(Ina used more fresh herbs and parsnips in her recipe, neither of which I had, so I didn’t use them. This is also a smaller batch than her recipe. I got 2 quarts of stock, plus what we used for soup the night I made it.)

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I used the biggest pot I had and I didn’t have room to make as big a batch as the original recipe.

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The whole house smells heavenly while this is cooking.

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Look at how golden and beautiful the stock is when it’s done!

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This stock is delicious! Add any vegetables or meat and whatever ingredients you want – and there you have it – soup!

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Label the container so you can tell what it is and when it was made. Square containers stack well in the freezer, and don’t forget to make sure they’re BPA free!

Make this stock when you’re home for the day. It’s quick to pull together and the flavor is SO worth it!!

 

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Turkey Soup

After Thanksgiving this year, we decided to keep the carcass, freeze it, and make Turkey Soup at a later time. This is not something I’m usually too crazy about doing, even though my Grandmas and my mom would make it sometimes when I was little. I try to have someone else (like my mom or my husband) take the meat off the carcass after dinner – I just don’t like doing it. Deciding to make the soup brought back memories of my other Grandma and how she would make turkey soup. She was famous for making soup from the thanksgiving turkey carcass or any other turkey. If she came to our house for Thanksgiving, she would even take the carcass home with her if my mom didn’t want to use it.

Turkey Soup

I love this photo of my Grandma (the oldest here), her little sister, and one of their little brothers (who is apparently old enough to be driving the car). It must have been a special occasion since they’re wearing their beautiful white dresses and hair bows! Both of my Grandmas were young married women during the Great Depression and they learned to use every bit of everything they could to make a meal go as far as possible. This is another great, frugal meal that stretches your food budget dollar. I don’t have an actual recipe for this, so I’ll just type it out.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Turkey Soup

Put turkey carcass in stock pot and cover with cold water.

Add:

1 onion, quartered

2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon peppercorns

salt and pepper

Cook for 2-4 hours as for stock.

Remove carcass from pot and remove meat pieces, if any.

Strain stock with fine sieve and put back into stock pot.

Add turkey meat (either that you picked off carcass or extra left from the turkey meal), 1 cup frozen peas, one more sliced carrot, one more sliced celery stalk, 1-2 cups rice (or egg noodles), and one tablespoon dried thyme.

Bring back to a boil, then simmer 15 minutes more.

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Put in enough cold water to cover the carcass.

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Fresh vegetables make all the difference.

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So fresh, so nutritious, so colorful, so good for you, so frugal.

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You can see the rice, the vegetables, and the big pieces of turkey. This soup is delicious. Thanks, Grandma.

 

 

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Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup is always good on a cold winter’s night. This recipe is one that’s very easy and very good. There aren’t many recipes cut out of the paper that made it into Grandma’s file, so you know it’s good! Some of my other broccoli soup recipes have cheese in them, and they end up being a bit salty. Even though this one has cream in it, it seems lighter (in a weird way) because there’s no cheese in it. We’ve been cooking and baking our way through the last few weeks, and we need meals that don’t take too much fuss or work to make. This one fits the bill.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Saute in 1/2 cup butter:

1/2 small onion, diced

1 10 ounce bag of frozen broccoli pieces (I had a 12.5 ounce bag and just used the whole thing)

1/2 small carrot, finely diced (optional)

Add:

1/4 cup flour

Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add:

1 quart chicken stock

(I would let it come to a boil and turn off heat before adding cream.)

1 cup cream (I used half-n-half)

salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

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Saute the vegetables in butter first.

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Then add the flour to make the soup thicker.

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This is so fast that it comes together in about 10 minutes.

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This soup is delicious.

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Try this Cream of Broccoli soup. It’s so easy, it will give you a break in the cooking department. Nice and warm on a cold winter’s night! Mmmm.

 

 

 

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Potato Soup

This recipe comes from my other grandma.

She taught me to make this Potato Soup when I was REALLY little.

I remember her saying, “this is something you can always make, no matter how tough times are, because you almost always have a potato and an onion and some milk and butter”.

Again, this is someone who went through the Great Depression and had learned how to “make do” without a lot.

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I love this picture of Grandma and her baby sister.

Love the hair bows!!

I don’t have a card for this recipe – it was one she told me and I was supposed to remember it.

I made this a lot growing up and when I was first married so remembering it wasn’t a problem.

It may be cheap and easy to make, but it’s also DELICIOUS!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Potato Soup

Into a saucepan put:

1 potato per person, sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

Enough water to cover.

Cook until potatoes and onion are tender.

Pour out half of the water and add enough milk to cover the potatoes and onions.

Add 1 Tablespoon butter per person.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until heated through.

Through the years, I have added sausage and/or vegetables.

Let those heat through, also.

You can make it your own by adding whatever meat and veggies you like.

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This batch was for 4 people.

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I let it boil for about 10 – maybe a bit more – minutes.

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I added cheddar sausage and peas to this batch.

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This is comfort food for me.

Tastes like home.

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10 Minute Tomato Soup

Today’s recipe is for all of us in the midst of this arctic blast.

Since a lot of the cold records for the last couple of weeks were in the 70s, I get to tell my kids that this is nothing compared to the snow and cold of when WE were children.

So we need some soup.

We’ve been jumping our cars,

struggling to get in and out of multiple layers of woolen clothing,

putting on hand lotion by the gallon,

trying to get the ice on our sidewalks, driveways and front porches to thaw,

filling up our humidifiers nonstop,

making sure our furnaces keep working,

and we’re worn out from this cold weather.

We need some soup.

Comfort food type soup.

10 Minute Tomato Soup to be exact.

This recipe is another of those quick and easy ones.

I mean REALLY quick and easy.

REALLY quick.

There’s no way it even took me 10 minutes to make this.

And for some reason, it reminded me of something from childhood.

I’m not sure what – I cant remember Grandma making this soup – so maybe it’s just the aroma of warm milk and butter that brings back those warm memories.

I’m all for anything warm these days – memories or soup or both.

10 Minute Tomato Soup

Here is the recipe as I made it:

10 Minute Tomato Soup

2 cups crushed tomatoes (I had a 20 ounce can of diced tomatoes on hand, so that’s what I used and it measured about 3 cups so I made about a batch and a half)

2 cups milk

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (apparently this helps reduce the acidity of the tomatoes and it will make the soup bubble up a bit when you add it)

Heat the tomatoes to boiling.

Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.

Return to heat and cook on medium until butter is melted and soup is heated through.

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You can kind of see how foamy the baking soda makes the soup.

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Add a salad and some whole grain bread and it’s a very quick meal.

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I think you could add more frozen vegetables if you wanted to.

My husband suggested some tiny shrimp.

You could even use an immersion blender to make it smooth.

Another quick and easy and very inexpensive meal that’s quick and easy and warm and delicious.

Stay warm everyone!

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Potato Cheddar Soup

I think we have a new comfort food, and this is comfort food of the highest quality.

Potato Cheddar Soup is great for a rainy night, or for a snowy night, or for a quick weekend supper.

Sometimes nothing will do but a big steaming bowl of soup.

I don’t remember Grandma making this one, but it’s a good one.

Potato Cheddar Soup

Potato Cheddar Soup 2

This soup is very cheesy and delicious.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Potato Cheddar Soup

4 slices of bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

3/4 cup of unseasoned croutons, crushed

1 cup of onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3 Tablespoons of butter

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 Tablespoon dried parsley (I didn’t have fresh)

1 quart chicken broth

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Salt and Pepper

Mix bacon and croutons. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in butter.

Add chicken broth, potatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.

Simmer 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat and process in blender or food processor until smooth.

Add cheddar and warm gently so the cheese melts.

Serve with bacon and crouton mixture.

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Is there anything better than bacon?

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I think you could leave the soup chunky if that’s how you like it.

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Good served with whole grain bread and a salad.

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This soup is so thick and cheesy and good.

It will be your new comfort food, too!

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