Smokey Cheese and Potato Soup

smoky cheese potato soup
If tortilla soup is my very favorite soup, potato soup is my second fave! I saw this version in a Better Homes and Garden magazine and was excited to try it out. The use of the refrigerated mashed potatoes was so clever and created a nice thick, creamy soup without the use of a blender or cream. It came together with hardly any prep work or cooking time and the shoestring potatoes on top were a fun crunch (and helped encourage my kids to actually try it...2 of them ended up loving it!).

6 oz smoked cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or gouda), shredded (I used 2%)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
4 oz ham, finely chopped (I used less)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk (I used 1%)
1/2 a 24 oz package refrigerated garlic mashed potatoes
Canned shoestring potatoes, fresh snipped parsley, and/or paprika (optional)

1. In a bowl combine cheese and flour; set aside.
2. In a Dutch oven combine the ham, carrot, curry powder, and paprika. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Cook, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes, just until milk is hot but not boiling, stirring occasionally. Gradually whisk in mashed potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbly. Stir in the cheese and flour. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, just until cheese is melted.
3. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with shoestring potatoes, parsley, and/or paprika.

Servings Per Recipe 4: Calories 429, Protein 25g, Carbohydrate 22, Total Fat 26g, Cholesterol 94mg, Fiber 2g