Whenever we have mashed potatoes for supper, the girls are glad. Not because I spent 30 minutes trying to get the lumps out, but because for lunch the next day they get broccoli and cheese soup, with the mashers being the main ingredient. Its super easy to make, uses items you have on hand, uses up leftovers (so its tres frugal), and as a bonus, you can slip in other vegetables for extra vitamins. One caveat: my girls love, love, love broccoli, so if you or your kids don't like it, it might not go over as well as it does at our house.
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
leftover mashed potatoes....anywhere from 1/2 cup to 2 cups (this will be the base, so it will determine how much of the other ingredients you use)
broccoli (I got a couple bags on clearance...organic, no less...from Kroger. It was fresh, so I quickly parboiled it a minute or so to soften it up) florets, chopped into bite sized pieces.
1 cup water + 1 chicken bullion cube OR
1 cup chicken stock OR
an equivalent liquid...like broth, granulated bullion, etc.
cheddar cheese - shredded, 1/2 to 1 cup (I only buy cheese when its less than $3 a pound and keep it in the freezer. If I get it in blocks, it crumbles easily when it thaws, but I also try to keep the pre-shredded in there, too.)
Boil water or stock, dissolve bullion in it. Stir in mashed potatoes...if you need it thicker, add instant mashed potatoes until its close to desired thickness. Add broccoli florets (and shredded carrots, peas, or anything else)(you could also puree those veggies to hide 'em if necessary). Stir in the cheese - you want it pretty cheesy, and I like to save a couple sprinkles for on top.
That's it. The cheese will thicken it a little more than the mashed potatoes will....for some reason I always want to add some cooking sherry to it, but I never have it. I think that would just round out the flavor a bit. But when cooking for preschoolers, its probably best to leave the alcohol in the pantry. At least that's my take on it.
Let me know if you make it and if it turns out! It really is great comfort food, and you just about always have the ingredients on hand. Plus, it uses up leftovers, so its great all around!