3 cups water
1 (14 oz.) can reduce sodium chicken broth
2 (4.2 oz.) boxes Rice-A-Roni Long Grain & Wild Rice
6 slices bacon (I used thin sliced bacon)
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 (10-3/4 oz.) cans Campbell's Cream of Potato Soup
2 cups half-and-half cream (*See note)
10 slices Kraft American Cheese, torn into small pieces
In a saucepan, (I used a 3-quart saucepan) add the water, broth, rice, and the seasoning packets that come with the boxed rice-a-roni. Bring contents in pan to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to a low simmer, and simmer for 22-23 minutes. (I did stir the rice a couple times while it was cooking, just to be sure the rice wasn't sticking to the pan.)
Once the rice is done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, and set it aside while you finish preparing the soup.
While the rice is simmering, cook the bacon in a skillet until the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, and set it aside on paper toweling.
To the skillet, along with the bacon drippings, add and sauté the celery and onion for a few minutes. When the onion has softened, remove it from the skillet, and set this aside. The onion will be softened, but the celery will be slightly crisp.
In a large soup pot or kettle (over medium-low heat), add the canned soups. Gradually add the half-and-half, and keep stirring, to mix the soup and cream thoroughly together, but don't let the soup come to a boil.
Once the soup and cream are thoroughly mixed together, and the soup is hot, gradually add the slices of cheese, and stirring the soup between adding the slices.
Once the cheese is completely blended into the soup, I then add the cooked rice, plus the celery and onion.
Crumble the cooked bacon, and add it to the soup.
Heat the soup thoroughly, but do not let it come to a boil.
Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with a bit of black pepper. (Do not add any salt to the soup, as the bacon and cheese slices add enough salt!)
Yields: 6-8 servings
*Note: I did substitute 1-cup heavy cream, plus 1-cup 2% milk, for the 2 cups of half-and-half cream.