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Baked Potato and Bacon Soup

5 1/4 pounds baking potatoes
7 slices bacon
4 1/2 cups onion -- chopped
1 teaspoon salt
5 cloves garlic -- minced
1 whole bay leaf
7 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh parsley (optional) -- chopped
1 1/4 cups green onions -- sliced
1 1/4 cups reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (5 oz) -- finely shredded
  • Preheat oven to 400º.

  • Pierce potatoes with fork, bake at 400º for 1 hour or until tender. Cool
    slightly. Partially mash potatoes, including skins, with a potato masher; set aside.

  • Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. 

  • Remove bacon from pan; crumble. 

  • Add onion to bacon drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes.

  • Add salt, garlic, and bay leaf; sauté 2 minutes. 

  • Add potato, milk, pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. 

  • Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

  • Stir in parsley, if desired. 

  • Top individual servings with bacon, green onions, and cheese.

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