Food & Drink

Kathy’s baked potato soup can healthy

Baked potato soup doesn’t need cream — or even much half-and-half — to keep its thick and creamy texture.

My healthy version uses chef Todd Wilbur’s secret of instant mashed potatoes, but I cut down on the butter and half-and-half by stirring in some fat-free milk with a little flour and cornstarch.

I also leave the skin on the potatoes to keep some extra nutrients and fiber, and I top my soup off with a little center-cut bacon and reduced-fat cheese.

My alterations to this recipe slashed the fat by 57 percent and shaved off 27 percent of the calories

You can have a 1-1/2 cup serving of my baked potato soup for 247 calories and 6.7 fat grams.


2 medium (about 3 inches in diameter) potatoes

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup diced white onion

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium, if desired)

2 cups water

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups instant mashed potatoes, such as Potato Buds, unprepared

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/3 cup half-and-half

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided use

6 tablespoons sharp Cheddar cheese made with 2 percent milk, finely shredded

2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and finely crumbled

2 green onions, chopped

Makes nine cups. Serves six.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the potatoes for one hour or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove them from the oven to cool.

As potatoes cool, melt butter in a stockpot and saute onion until light brown. Add the flour and 2 tablespoons of fat-free milk to the onion and stir to make a roux. Add chicken broth, water, corn starch, mashed potato flakes, pepper, basil and thyme and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Chop each potato into 1/2-inch chunks. Add chopped baked potatoes, half-and-half and 2/3 cup fat-free milk to the pot, bring soup back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup for 15 more minutes, or until the soup is thick.

Spoon 1 1/2 cups of soup into each of six bowls and top with a tablespoon of shredded cheese and a sprinkling of bacon and green onions.

Nutritional information per 1-1/2 cup serving of soup with cheese, bacon and green onions: 247 calories, 6.7 fat grams, 669mg sodium, 41 carb grams, 2 fiber grams, 7 protein grams, 19mg cholesterol.

Reach Kathy Manweiler at (316) 268-6266 or