1 1/2 C. water

2 C. cubed, peeled potatoes

2 small carrots, grated

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 C. chopped green pepper

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, chopped*

1 garlic clove, minced

1 T. beef bouillon granules

1/2 tsp. salt

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained

2 1/2 C. milk, divided

3 T. all-purpose flour

8 oz. American cheese, cubed

1/4 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional

1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, combine water, vegetables, garlic, bouillon and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in beef and 2 C. of milk; heat through.

Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat and stir in cheese until heated. Add cayenne if desired. Top with bacon just before serving.

Yield: 6-8 servings (2 quarts).

*Editor’s note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, use rubber or plastic gloves to protect your hands. Avoid touching your face.