Preparation / Directions:
Combine all of the ingredients, except the cream cheese and cheese, in a medium-sized oven-proof casserole with handles. Cover and simmer on the range for 1 hour over medium heat or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. Discard bay leaf . Stir in cream and cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 10 minutes.
Serve with Italian style bread and garlic butter.
Lighten Up: To lower fat and calories, substitute the following for the heavy cream. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk, 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 cups water. Stir over low heat until thick, then add to soup in place of cream.