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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Rich soup is easy and cheesy

Thursday, May 20, 1999

We love cheese in this household," explained Judy Fischer of Gibsonia. Hence the popularity of this Easiest Ever Cheese Soup, which she found in a community cookbook several years ago.

It takes less than 20 minutes to mix and heat. In fact, the only caution is that it not be allowed to heat up too fast or boil. It's a sturdy, rich soup that requires only a green salad and a crusty loaf of bread to make a meal.

Fischer, who says she's been cooking for more than 30 years, likes "quick things that taste good," and is constantly in search of new recipes. She reads cookbooks like novels, cover to cover.

Now that she and husband Lyle are empty nesters (the last of three daughters just finished at Penn State and moved away to start a job), Judy says she'll still be on the prowl for fast recipes.

"This soup is fabulous!" she raves. And we can see why. Although she's always made it with Cheddar, it doesn't mean it can't be adapted to other flavorful cheeses of similar melting consistencies. She's also toyed with the idea of halving the half-and-half and using it as a cheese sauce on steamed vegetables. -- Tested by Betsy Kline

Easiest Ever Cheese Soup Recipe Name

10 3/4-ounce can cream of celery soup (we used reduced-fat version)
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup half-and-half

Combine ingredients over low heat until cheese melts and soup is piping hot. Do not boil. Serves 6 (portions are small -- this soup is very rich).

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer(not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@Post-Gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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