CREAMY POTATO AND ASPARAGUS SOUP
1 1/4 pounds fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped (1/2-inch pieces or smaller)
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups water
6 slices bacon
1 tablespoon honey
Optional toppings, such as finely shredded lemon peel, fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, coarse salt and/or freshly ground black pepper
Reserve about one-third of the asparagus. Combine remaining asparagus, the potatoes, evaporated milk, salt, pepper and the water in a saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly. In a blender or food processor, blend or process soup, half at a time, until smooth.
Meanwhile, in a skillet cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels; set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet. Add reserved asparagus spears to the drippings in skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
Coarsely chop bacon and place in a microwave-safe pie plate. Drizzle bacon with honey; cover with vented plastic wrap. Just before serving, microcook on 100 percent power (high) for 30 seconds.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with asparagus, bacon mixture and, if desired, toppings.
Makes 4 servings, each with 356 calories, 15 grams fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 673 mg sodium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 17 grams sugar, 15 grams protein.