Hearty Potato, etc, etc, Cheese Soup
**Ok, here is where you get to be creative. I know with my family I have to sneak vegetables in where I can, and in this cheesy soup is the perfect place. Every once in a while I make this soup as a way to clear out leftover veggies in my freezer and fridge. The onions, garlic, and cheese, are a perfect compliment to a whole variety of different veggie combinations.
2 or 3 medium-large potatoes, cubed, skins on
1 medium onion chopped, or heaping tbsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder, or 2 cloves minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 medium tomato, diced
about 4 cups water [just enough to cover all the veggies in the pot]
4-6 chicken bouillon cubes [depends on how much liquid you use- *1 per cup*]
black pepper to taste
3 TB of butter
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Table Blend spices
1 heaping TB dried Parsley flakes [mostly for garnish]
1 cup broccoli florets
2 or 3 medium carrots, sliced in 3/4 inch chunks
1/2 cup of corn
*maybe even some cauliflower* [shhhhhh...don't tell anyone]
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese [ or any mix and blend of shredded cheeses equalling 2 cups]
*Optional add in*:
1/2 cup sour cream
Toss everything in a medium-large sauce pan, bring to boil, then lower hear to medium and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and only partially covering.***Watch out for water boiling over!! Potatoes have a way of doing that, that's quite uncanny.
Before serving add 2 cups shredded cheese--stir until melted in
**I really prefer to use Sharp Cheddar because any other cheddar variety doesn't seem to give the potatoes the boost they need.
During second half of cooking time, occasionally mash at soup ingredients with big spoon. Squashing some of the potatoes, etc. thickens the soup up really nice.
****30 minutes is all that is required, but for those who like for everything to be really nice and mushy: simmer on low, covered, for up to an hour, stirring from time to time or things will stick to bottom of pan.