I really like this recipe because you can make it as decadent or as light as you want. Plus, what a perk, it is EASY!
You will need:
4 large or 6 small potatoes - OPTIONAL
1 block of cream cheese (you can substitute light or low fat cream cheese)
3 cans of low sodium chicken broth OR 2 cans of chicken broth and 1 cup of half and half
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 bag of frozen cubed potatoes - hash browns.
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 an onion minced or 2 TBSP onion powder
3 garlic cloves minced or 2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt - I used Kosher
1 small bag of shredded cheese - I used sharp
Some bacon bits - you could always fry your own bacon then cut it up
Fried onion rings
Croutons or other topping (Sour cream etc.)
Let's start with the prep.
I softened the cream cheese in the microwave first, but you don't have to.
If you are going to use real potatoes, clean, peal and dice these potatoes and throw them in the crock pot.
Add: cream cheese, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, garlic and onion.
Cook on medium in the crockpot for 2 -4 hours till the cream cheese is melted and the real potatoes are just about fork done.
Add the frozen diced hash brown potatoes
Continue to cook for 2 more hours or until a fork goes through the real potatoes easily.
If you are not using the real potatoes - combine all the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. It can go all day but be careful the potatoes may start to get mushy.
To serve, add a spoonful (or 2 or 3) of shredded cheese, bacon bits, croutons and or fried onion rings. You can also add a dollop of sour cream.
You could make this dish heartier with carrots or seafood such as shrimp or clams.
I like the idea that you can make it richer with substituting 1cup of half and half for one of the cans of chicken broth. If you want the soup thicker use only 2 cans of chicken broth.
You can add salt and pepper to taste at the table.
I hope you try this on a cold day. Let me know how you like it!