You'll have to not judge me when you read this recipe: it contains Velveeta. So the "cheddar" in the title is misleading, but sounds nicer than, say, Cheezey Chicken Chowder. The sad truth is that no other cheese melts smoothly like Velveeta does for soup - real cheddar gets stringy.
This soup is a favorite. It is completely satisfying, filling enough on its own but really good with a brightly-flavored salad on the side as well. I found it on the Cooking Light forums, and while it is not actually low calorie, it is reasonably healthy. It makes a lot and reheats well, but I wouldn't freeze it.
One caveat: this soup uses several pots and pans. An easy way to cook the chicken (other than using leftovers or rotisserie chicken) is to put the breasts in a crock pot with salt and pepper - no liquid necessary. You can put them in frozen or not. I cooked frozen breasts for about two hours in the crock pot on high; unfrozen ones could be cooked on low or high, depending on how much time you have.
Cheddar Chicken Chowder
5 cups chicken broth or stock
4 cups diced red potatoes
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced onion
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 cups skim or 1% milk
3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 lb Light Velveeta, cubed (half of loaf)
Fresh chives/green onions (optional)
1) In a large stock pot combine chicken broth, potatoes, celery, carrots and onion. Cover and bring to a slow boil for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
2) In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt butter, add flour, and whisk until smooth. Let simmer for one minute, then increase heat to medium. Stir mixture constantly while gradually adding milk. Continue to stir until thick and bubbly.
3) Add milk mixture to vegetables. Add soy sauce, crushed red pepper, and cayenne. Gently stir in cheese, and continue to stir until completely melted. Add chicken, heat thoroughly, and serve garnished with fresh chives.