If you're baking potatoes for dinner, throw in an extra couple and then you can make this fabulous soup. It works just fine with yesterday's leftover spuds.
2 large baking potatoes
1 tbsp butter
1 small stalk celery, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups milk
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 green onion, chopped
First bake the potatoes. Scrub them well, pierce the skins in several places with a sharp knife or fork (to prevent explosions - thrilling but messy), then place in the oven and bake at 400°F (200°C) for about 1 hour, until squishy.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes so they can be handled. If your child is helping you, have her cut the potatoes in half and scoop the insides out into a bowl, mashing them slightly to break up any big lumps. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until soft - 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the broth, milk and potato insides and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring once in a while, for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and green onion. Stir while the cheese is melting, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve each bowl of soup topped with a lovely blob of sour cream and sprinkled with additional green onion, if your kids don't object.
Vegetarian variation: Use vegetable broth and omit the bacon. If you feel the soup needs some extra oomph, just add a bit more cheese and green onion.