Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup

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I love baked potatoes. One of my favorite dinners is having
a baked potato party. Everyone starts with a blank canvas, their potato, and
goes down the assembly line and adds as many or as few toppings as they desire.
This is a complete win win situation for all family members, finally a meal we
can all agree upon! This got me thinking: I bet I could create an equally yummy
soup and sneak some wholesome veggies into my kids’ growing little bodies. Of
course I added bacon; that to me is this soup’s secret weapon. One taste and I
think you too will be hooked. Plus, I love not having to bake potatoes in the
oven on hot summer days while still feeding my craving.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound bacon- diced into pieces

1 medium onion-diced

1/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup half and half

2 cups cubed bite size peeled Yukon Gold Potatoes

2 cups diced broccoli fresh florets

1/2 cup carrots-finely diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

salt to taste

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until
crispy. Once crispy, remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb
the access grease. Pour out the remainder of the bacon grease from the stock
pot leaving approximately 2 tablespoons in the bottom. Add the onions to the
bacon grease. Saute until translucent.

Next create a roux by adding the olive oil and the flour to
the stock pot and whisking it together. Cook over medium heat until well
combined. To the roux and onion mixture, whisk in the chicken stock until the
roux and the stock are smooth.

To the chicken stock mixture add the potatoes, broccoli,
carrots, black pepper, salt and bacon. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the cheddar cheese. Stir until melted and combined with
soup. Remove from the heat and stir in the half and half.

Serve with crusty french bread for dipping.

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