A Smart Choice: Rustic Baked Potato soup

I love soup in the Fall!!  There are so many choices and flavor options that some times it is hard for me  to decide which one to make.  Baked potato soup has always been a great choice  and this one has developed over the years to be my ‘go to’ soup.  It originated from a Weight Watcher magazine recipe that has been tweaked and adapted to fit my tastes and improve on its nutritional values.   Even if you are not an experienced chef you can put this one together quickly and have a healthy lunch or dinner ready when you need one. Granted its not a ‘clean eating recipe’  in the true sense but its much better than anything you’ll find in a can!

One of the nicest things is its adaptability; I’ve shared its original basic recipe and seen many variations on a ‘loaded’ baked potato and with chopped broccoli, petite shrimp or as a ‘faux New England Clam chowder’.

My favorite is the Rustic Baked potato version.

                            Rustic Baked Potato soup

4 Medium baking potatoes (I use Russets)

1/3 cup all purpose flour (King Arthur)

4 cups 1 % milk

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 ounces Velveeta cheese (I use 2%)

1/2 cup light or fat free sour cream

The easiest way to do this is to bake the potatoes in foil while you are using the oven for other things and then let them cool in a zipper bag.  I usually bake them in a 400*F oven for an hour depending on size (they should “give” when you give them a gentle squeeze). You can make them the same day as the soup but it means more prep time since you need to let them cool a little before the next step.

If you have baked the potatoes ahead of time quarter them and add them with the skins on into a food processor (I have a Ninja Kitchen system 1100) and use the blade with pulses to chop them to fine chunks. If you don’t like potato skins you can remove the skins before this point; if you cooled them in the zippper bag they will slide off fairly easy.

In a large sauce pan add the flour and whisk the milk into it until smooth. Add the chopped baked potato, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until it is thickened, about 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

Add the Velveeta and stir until melted, it’ll change into a nice light golden color.

Remove from heat and and stir in the sour cream.

This makes about  six  1 1/2 cup servings. Serve as is or top with your favorite “loaded baked potato” topping like green onions, bacon, finely chopped broccoli or whatever strikes you fancy.

I normally store leftover in a jar so they easily transport for work–you can reheat them right in the jar using a microwave, just make sure to remove the metal ring and cover to avoid splatter.

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