My Crock Pot Potato Soup
1 30 oz. bag of frozen shredded potatoes (make sure they don't have lots of other ingredients - it should be potatoes, and that's about it!)
1 32 oz. box of chicken broth (I added another can of broth later, since my crock pot was running hot, so you might want extra on hand)
1 small onion, diced
1 recipe of cream soup base (I left out the salt, so I could adjust the soup later)*
4 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese, cubed (regular is great, too, but don't use fat free)
salt and pepper to taste
Optional (but seriously recommended) for topping the soup:
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh chives, minced (adds SO much flavor!)
1 pkg. of uncured bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled or chopped (it's bacon - it's not really optional) OR 4-6 slices of Canadian bacon (I chopped it up, browned it in a pan, and then sprinkled on top - so good)
Add potatoes, chicken broth, cream soup base and a pinch of salt and pepper to the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until potatoes are tender. I recommend checking it periodically toward the end, since my crock pot was running warmer and started to brown and stick on the bottom of the crock. I stirred in another 16 oz. or so of chicken broth, and switched my cooker to warm, and we were good to go until dinner.
About an hour before serving, stir in the cream cheese cubes, and stir to incorporate them as they melt. I may have also interfered a little bit and did a few runs through the soup with my immersion blender to smooth it out a little bit, but that is not necessary (in fact, in later attempts, we actually kind of preferred with without doing that). To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with cheddar, bacon, chives, and a good grind of black pepper. Serve with a crusty piece of bread and a salad, and you're good to go.
*Apparently you can freeze that cream soup base, so you could make a big batch and freeze it in 10 oz.-ish portions for the future - I am definitely going to try this.