Combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until vegetables are tender. Stir often so as not to scorch. Mix flour and 1/2 cup milk and add to soup mixture. Heat, stirring a few minutes to thicken. Add the 6 cups milk, stirring often. Add cheese and stir as it melts. Soup will thicken some. Add chopped pre-cooked ham, if desired, and more salt and pepper to taste, and a bit more milk, if desired. Makes a big pan full!
By Robin from Washington, IA
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