- Wash hands with soap and water.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions and celery in oil until onions are clear.
- Add the potatoes, broth and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 25 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and ¼ cup of milk until smooth. Add remaining milk (1¼ cups). Stir into the potato mixture.
- Cook and stir until thickened and heated through, about 5 minutes. Do not boil.
- Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Top with bacon bits. Serve warm.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.