I'm pretty sure that anyone who's ever eaten at a steak house has tried baked potato soup at some point. It's creamy, delicious, and encompasses all the flavors of a piping hot baked potato with all the toppings.
This soup is a perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes and makes a nice first course, or paired with a nice salad, a great main. I had some potatoes that were starting to grow eyes and had already planned on making mashed potatoes to go with a pot roast I made the other night - but there were far too many to feed just the two of us. I made the extra and popped them in the fridge overnight.
The next day I combined them with a little chicken stock, bacon, onion, and garlic. Instant dinner - and crowd pleaser. The soup is just as versatile as is a baked potato. Add any toppings you normally would - chili and cheese, broccoli and cheese, green onions and bacon, sour cream, etc.
Also, if you're like me and hate leftovers, it's a great way to use up leftovers without feeling like that's what you're doing. I put chopped scallions, shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, and a dollop of fat-free plain yogurt in place of sour cream and - I can assure you - it did not taste like last nights leftovers.
The rule of thumb with this is to add about 1/2 cup chicken stock per 1 cup mashed potatoes. I had 4 cups mashed potatoes left over, so I used 2 cups stock. Adjust as necessary. Some people like to really puree their mashed potatoes, I don't - so mine still had some lumps. If you want more texture to your soup feel free to chop up a potato into small dice and add it with the chicken stock. Cook for an extra 10-15 minutes until softened.
Baked Potato Soup
Yields approximately 6 cups
2 thick slices center cut bacon, chopped
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups mashed potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
In a heavy 4 qt pan (I like a saucier) cook the bacon over medium-high heat until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook until softened. Add the mashed potatoes and whisk in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve with whatever toppings desired.
Preparation of mashed potatoes varies widely. Some people use loads of butter and cream, others not so much. That being said, I find it difficult to post a nutritional estimate that could easily vary in the hundred of calories depending on what was used to make the main ingredient of this recipe.