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Country Garden Potato Chowder

This wonderfully filling soup looks as delicious as it tastes. Chunks of tender potato, fresh carrots, minced celery and herbs stew in a rich, creamy, but low fat broth. It gets its silken texture from cornstarch and a light enrichment of cheese. Bethany Gronberg of California contributed the recipe--she got it from her Mom Debbie Wismont, who got it from her friend Deanna Laible. Bethany says, "this soup is really quick and simple to is satisfying enough to be a whole meal, especially if you eat it with some thick crusty bread." [Please note: Jo Coke of Dallas, Texas, recommends a similar but richer variation that SHE got from Bettye Lou Thomes. It substitutes 1 cup cream and 1 cup stock for the 2 cups milk, takes out the cornstarch, and melts in a pound of Velveeta process cheese instead of cheddar--outstanding!] Serve hot as a meal to 4 (or as a first course to 6).

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Add parsley, paprika, garlic, celery seed, and salt and pepper, and let simmer while you're peeling, cubing, and chopping the vegetables.

Add the potatoes, onion, carrots, and celery--bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

When ready to serve, whisk the cornstarch into the milk and pour into the stock. Heat while stirring until the soup is thickened and bubbly. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.