1/2cupcelery, diced into small pieces (see phote above)
In a skillet add your ground beef and onion. Cook on medium heat until ground beef is browned and onion is soft. Drain and rinse ground beef (optional) and set aside...I always drain it, but rinsing is optional. Set aside.
In a large pot melt your butter and add your flour. Whisk the flour and butter together. It will be like a thick paste. This is what will thicken the soup. Let the butter and flour cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in your chicken broth and whisk it into the flour and butter. Whisk until smooth. Add the half and half, whisk it in so it is fully incorporated. Turn your heat to medium low and let the soup thicken. Whisk it occasionally. It can take 15- 20 minutes to thicken (sometimes longer- don't panic, it just needs to thicken!)
After it starts to thicken, add in your garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and basil. Mix well, You can adjust the seasonings to taste.
Add your potatoes and celery. Let them cook for about 10 minutes or until they are soft and tender and done to your liking.
Add in the Velveeta Cheese, mix well and whisk until the cheese is fully melted.
After the cheese is melted, add in the shredded carrots. Mix well.
Add in your ground beef, mix well.
Let the soup heat for about 10 minutes to make sure the flavors are delveloped then serve and enjoy!
I use a 6 quart pot just to make sure I have enough room so there are no messes to clean up.If for some reason your soup doesn't thicken (or you want it thicker), just take equal parts cornstarch an cold water and mix it up then slowly add it into the hot soup. Add a little at a time giving it a few minutes to thicken before adding more. I usually will mix 2 tablespoons cold water to 2 tablespoons cornstarch. (Mix it well before adding and always use cold water.)A reader (Hi Wayne!), tried this recipe and mention he added about 4 cups of cauliflower florets when he added the potatoes to the soup. He loved the addition and even thought they could replace the potatoes! Thanks for the suggestion Wayne!