So I clipped a recipe out of the April Issue of Better Homes and Gardens for Potato-Cheddar Soup. For a while now I've been trying very hard to make meals out of real ingredients so I know what's actually in them. A move toward "real food" if you will. Soups have been of particular interest because I usually detest canned soups. I intended to follow the recipe as faithfully as I could, but lacking some of what I needed I improvised. What I got was still a very delicious, and vegetarian if you're into that, homemade soup.
1 28 ounce package frozen diced hash brown potatoes
1 cup chopped miniature sweet peppers (I only had a green and yellow bell pepper, both of which worked fine)
3 cups fat-free half-and-half (I used whole milk here and just eliminated the 1/2 cup water added in the first step)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (didn't have it)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (which I did have and added a little more of)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (we'll get to that in a minute....)
In a 4 quart Dutch oven (or soup pot) combine potatoes, sweet (or bell) peppers, half-and-half (or whole milk), salt, curry powder, cayenne, and 1/2 cup water (which I left out because of the milk). BGring to just boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, over medium heat 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Carefully transfer about half of soup mixture to a blender, add 1/2 cup water and blend until nearly smooth. Return to Dutch oven, stil to combine. Cook and stir over low heat until heated through. Stir in cheese until melted.
Top servings with sliced sweet peppers and parsley (which I never do).
A note about cheese: when I made this I had no cheddar cheese in my house. What I did have were some slightly old but still good slices of deli white American cheese. I think I threw in about 6 or 8 slices, which worked great. I considered a smoked cheese, but didn't have any left to try out. I also put chopped spinach in my soup, but I put chopped spinach in almost everything.