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Midwest Ham Chowder (Serves 8)

Home made soup is one of those simple pleasures that get lost in the whirl of everyday life. This nutritious recipe is an easy way to introduce that homemade goodness to your family and friends. Remember extra servings of soup store well in the freezer all ready for a quick meal on a busy day.

2 cups boiling water
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt, depending on ham
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fat-free, 2% or whole milk
2 and 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (10 ounces)
1 (17-ounce) can cream style corn
2 cups cubed ham

1. In large Dutch oven or soup kettle, combine water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cover; simmer 10 minutes. DO NOT DRAIN.

2. In another saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour. Add milk. Stir mixture constantly with a wire whisk over medium heat until thickened. Add cheese and stir until cheese melts.

3. Add cheese sauce, corn and ham to cooked vegetables. Heat until hot, but not boiling.

Microwave:

In step 2, microwave butter in 2-quart microwave-safe measurer for 30 seconds on Full Power. Blend in flour with wire whisk. Stir in milk. Microwave mixture on Full Power 6-8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes until thickened.

Nutritional information per serving:
345 calories, 19 grams fat, 18 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 988 milligrams sodium