I am not a fan of processed cheese. I do not make grilled cheese sandwiches with it; I do not put it on sandwiches with ham or turkey; I do not melt it over vegetables for a quick cheese sauce. In fact, until just a few years ago, I would never have considered having it in my house at all!
I attended a cooking demonstration a while back and tasted a wonderful vegetable cheese soup. It was creamy and had a rich, cheesy flavor; quite unlike the processed cheese that I had previously tasted. The original soup recipe was really great, but it was a bit time consuming. When I began using my Basic Cream Soup Mix (recipe at the bottom of this article) to speed up my meal preparation time, I adapted that original recipe and cut prep time in half or more. By using dehydrated vegetables like onions and celery, which can be added dry to the water, there is no chopping time; or, if you do as I like to do and chop extra onions and celery when I’m preparing a recipe and store them in the freezer in Ziploc sandwich bags, I can just pour them into the soup straight from my freezer.
Another way I have cut the preparation time on this soup is by using a frozen vegetable mix and also frozen peas. If you happen to have leftover vegetables from a previous dinner, you may add them instead of or in addition to the frozen vegetables.
6 medium potatoes, pared and sliced
1 cup diced onions (or 1/4 cup dried onion)
1/2 cup diced celery (or 2 tablespoons dried)
2 16 oz. packages California Style Vegetable Mix, (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)
2 cups Basic Cream Soup Mix
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 pounds Velveeta processed cheese
2 cups frozen peas
In a large soup pot place the potatoes, onions and celery. Cover with 10 cups water and cook until barely tender, about 15 minutes; add the frozen vegetables and cook a minute or two until they are beginning to get soft. Mash then a bit.
Whisk in the Basic Cream Soup Mix and cook over medium heat until thick. Cube the Velveeta and add to the soup, stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in the peas and serve immediately – the heat from the soup will warm them. If you’re not serving immediately, turn the heat to the lowest setting and stir often to prevent scorching.
Basic Cream Soup Mix.