I've perfected my potato soup recipe over the years and have it down to a favorite formula and method. Generally I don't specify brands, but in this soup use "Kitchen Basics" brand of chicken stock if you can find it. My local Krogers carries it right next to the canned chicken broth near the soups. It comes in an 8oz. paper carton..the price is $.85, almost twice the cost of canned but the added flavor and taste are worth every extra penny. (Note: if you use Kitchen Basics brand you need only 8oz...if using canned use 15oz.)
For a vegetarian version replace chicken stock with vegetable stock...you can just use water but the flavor will not be as good.
In a saucepan brown half an onion diced in a couple of teaspoons of oil. Add one 80z. box of Kitchen Basics chicken stock (if you can't find this, use one 15oz can chicken broth). and 3-4 diced potatoes. If needed add a little water just so potatoes are covered. Simmer until potatoes are very tender. Now add one 12oz. can evaporated milk (do not dilute with water) and for that smoky taste that ham would give this soup, add a few drops of liquid smoke (Optional). Salt and pepper to taste. Heat to desired temperature.
Here's another really quick soup...when you need something light fast.
BROCCOLI OR SPINACH SOUP
In a saucepan pour a 15oz can of chicken broth. Bring to a gentle boil and add frozen broccoli florets or loose frozen spinach. The amount is up to you. when the veggies are tender add one 12oz can evaporated milk, salt and pepper to taste, and a dollop of butter if desired.
There you have it....one hearty soup, one light...both quick and simple. These recipes use pantry items that you can easily keep on hand. Both soups are nice served with cheese toasts. If you live near a Panera Bread, their sour dough bread makes the best toast...beware, though, it is addictive.