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  • Mary Kay

Au Gratin Potato Soup - Make it Low-Cal!

This is the skinny on better eating!

Love Au Gratin Potatoes? Here's a delicious version converted to SOUP! Plus, you can make it Low-Cal!

I love Au Gratin Potatoes, especially at one of those old fashioned supper clubs you find all around Wisconsin. It's a superb side for a beautiful medium rare steak, hot popovers and a well built Brandy Old Fashioned. I turned the au gratin potatoes into a delicious soup. It's especially welcome on a cold winter day. After an afternoon of shoveling snow, it's a soup that's easy to cuddle up to along with a nice hunk of crusty bread when you want to get a nice cozy warmup.

To make Au Gratin Soup, I combine potatoes along with a number of diced vegetables like carrots, onions and celery. I usually look to see what I have in my vegetable crisper - I've even added a little finely dices kale to add a few more vitamins to the nutritious soup.

This is a full-cal version. To make it low-cal, just substitute lower calorie ingredients.

I change up the cheeses I use when making this soup, depending on which ones I have on hand. Different types add just a little different flavor. My taste buds enjoy a little variety in flavors with a soup like this one since potatoes can be fairly bland. The last time I made this soup, I combined cheddar, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, shredded on top of the soup.

I like to get the soup hot, add the shredded or sliced cheeses on top and set the bowl under the broiler for a minute or so to get the cheeses nice and golden brown. It brings out the flavors of the cheeses and add an interesting crispy topping just like baked au gratin potatoes. Of course, when I do the broiling, I stay with the broiler to make sure it doesn't over brown or burn the cheeses.

Prepare the stove top sauce pan:

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the pan and heat it up over medium heat.

Serves 4, one cup bowls.

Au Gratin Soup Ingredients:

1/4 C Cheddar cheese, shredded (Optional, use 2 T)

1/4 C Parmesan cheese, shredded (Optional, use 2 T)

1/4 C Gruyere cheese, shredded or thinly sliced (Optional - use 2T or delete)

1/2 Onion, medium white or yellow, finely diced

1 Carrot, large, cleaned and finely diced

2 Celery stalks, cleaned and finely diced

6-8 Red Potatoes, small, diced

1 C Water or chicken broth (optional - no chicken broth)

1 C Milk, 2%

1 T Cornstarch

1/4 C Heavy Cream (optional - do not use for low-cal)

Salt and pepper to taste

Make the Soup:

- Shred the cheeses and set aside. (Cut the amount of cheese as recommended above for a low-cal version.) I like to buy my cheeses in chunks and shred my own. Yes, pre-shredded cheeses are convenient, but sometimes they have have an additive that keeps the shreds from sticking together in the bag. That "something" can also prevent the cheese from melting properly on top of soup, etc. So, I shred my own - it only takes a few seconds and to me it's worth it.

- Heat up the extra virgin olive oil in the saucepan on the stovetop.

- Add the finely diced onions, celery and carrots and sauté until translucent. Carrots will not be translucent, but should be on the tender side (not mushy).

- Add the water or broth and bring to a simmer.

- Add the diced potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender but not mushy.

- Whisk the milk (water) and cornstarch so there are no lumps.

- Add the milk and cornstarch mixture to the soup and simmer, stirring until it's thickened a little.

- Add heavy cream (not for low-cal), stirring until it's all hot. This is optional, but I like the creaminess it adds. For low-cal, use a little 2% milk.)

- Taste and salt or pepper to your own taste. This is the time to add any herbs you like. Maybe a shake or two of Oregano or Thyme.

- Spoon into bowls and top with just a little shredded cheese for flavor.

- Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and put under the hot broiler in your oven, so the soup is just a few inches from the heat.

- Watch them very closely so the cheese do not burn. Carefully take them out of the oven and sprinkle a little more cheese on top if you like. (No extra cheese for low-cal version.)

Serve it up!

- Serve with a sandwich or garlic toast points - no butter for low-cal version.

- It's a great accompaniment to a baked chuck roast or a juicy charred steak.

- It's also tasty alone as a meal.

Whichever version you use, full or low-cal, "Bake your own Memories!"

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