Crockpot Potato Soup

Rose Machioch, with her part-time employment and full slate of volunteer work, appreciates the ease and great taste of Crockpot Potato Soup. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

With all prepackaged ingredients, this hearty soup can be started hours ahead or whipped up as guests visit.

1 (30 oz.) bag frozen shredded hash browns
3 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (do not use reduced fat)
(optional) 1 lb. Jimmy Dean pork sausage, browned and drained

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cook low 6 to 8 hours. (Can also be made on the stove top, simmering for 45 minutes and stirring occasionally.)
Serve with toppings of chives, shredded cheese or holiday crackers on trim-the-tree day -- or anytime!
This soup also freezes well.

Rose Macioch
North St. Paul

Crockpot Potato Soup hits all the marks

Rose Macioch of North St. Paul remembers the moment she tasted her first sips of Crockpot Potato Soup, the grand-prize winner of Lillie Suburban Newspapers’ annual recipe contest.

“I happened to be home sick with a bad cold,” she says, “and my daughter dropped off a cup of frozen soup before going to her job as a para-professional teacher.”

Rose warmed the soup for supper and recalls it was so thick and delicious that she knew she wanted the recipe.

“It was excellent, and not at all watery or off-flavor like some homemade soups that have been frozen and reheated,” she recalls.

Best of all, Rose says, “It’s really easy. You buy the ingredients and throw it together.” That suits her busy schedule of working part time at Target, volunteering with the North St. Paul Green gardening group and pitching in with events at her church, Cross Lutheran, in Maplewood.

The contest taste-testers raved about the soup’s creamy texture, flavor and ease of preparation. Ideal for a holiday buffet, special meal or after a night of caroling, they said it fit perfectly with this year’s contest theme: “Fast & Festive.”

When asked if she has any tips on making the soup, Rose says instead of letting it slow-cook in a crockpot, she makes it -- fast -- in a kettle on the stove, letting it simmer for 45 minutes and stirring it occasionally. If cooks include the optional sausage, she notes, “I always use Jimmy Dean sausage, because it has just the right flavor.”

Word arrived that her recipe had captured the grand prize just a couple days after her birthday. When she got the news, she exclaimed, “This is such a nice birthday present!”

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