Vegetable Cheese Soup

Our oldest daughter will soon be leaving for college and because she balked and put off having her wisdom teeth taken out last Christmas because she didn't want to recover during break, and the Spring because of Spring Break, and in April because of prom and May because of graduation... she ended up having surgery last week.

Her wisdom teeth were buried deep and hadn't started moving yet, but due to her braces, her tiny mouth and a history of her permanent teeth coming in at difficult angles, her orthodontist and her dentists wanted to get all four removed.

It's in honor her and her week of pain, swelling, bruising and inability to eat that I'm posting the first 'real' food she had in three days; Vegetable Cheese Soup. The 'cheese' part for her, the 'vegetables' for me... because I'm a Mom.

This is one of those recipes where you start with a basic idea and then you add to it and turn it into what you want. I preach this often but I mean it... use a recipe as a GUIDE and make it your own. Play with your food! Add what you want, leave out what you don't like.

Vegetable Cheese Soup

4 T butter
1 lg. onion, chopped
3 T flour
1 lg. carrot, chopped or grated
1 lg. green pepper, chopped fine
3 c chicken broth
2 c whipping cream, half and half or milk (it just won't be as thick or rich)
2 c cheese (Velveeta, swiss, mozzarella, cheddar... use what you have on hand for different flavors each time)

In a saucepan melt 2 T butter. I like to add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup water and cook onion, carrot and green pepper over medium heat until tender. Remove all from saucepan. At this point you can put the vegetable mixture into the blender or a food processor and process until smooth or you can leave them diced for a nice texture. Melt 2 T butter, stir in flour and cook 2 minutes while stirring or whisking smooth. Gradually add the broth and cream. Whisk, increase heat and bring to a very brief boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer on low 10 minutes until thick and creamy. Add the mixture of cheeses and the cooked veggies. Serve!

* You can leave out the cheese, you can leave out the vegetables if you like. You can add jalapeno's or spinach or even cooked asparagus. Another delicious version I've made with this base is a red pepper and shrimp bisque. Play with your food!

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