Spicy Chipotle Corn Chowder

this is my favorite kind of soup.  SO yummy and fun to make.

4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic(or to taste)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups canned corn niblets (can use more, or use frozen corn kernels)
1/2 cup whipping cream (can use up to 3/4 cup)
1 tbsp chipotle powder (can use more depending on how spicy you want it)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp, remove and drain on paper towels; set aside (reserve a couple tablespoons of bacon fat). In the same saucepan add in the chopped onion, garlic and celery; saute for about 5 minutes. Add in chicken broth and diced potatoes; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are slightly tender. Add in red bell pepper, corn, whipping cream and diced chipotle pepper; continue to simmer for 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste (for even more spice season with cayenne). Stir in mashed potato flakes. If the chowder is too thin, continue adding mashed potato flakes in 1/8 cup at a time. If the chowder is too thick, adjust with up to 1/4 cup half and half cream or milk and just reheat slightly. Use cooked bacon as garnish. Serve with tortilla chips.

**note: i have made this in the crockpot.  as the onion, garlic, and celery are sauteing, begin heating the chicken broth and diced potatoes in the crockpot on high.  stir in the saute when done.  cook in high 3-4 hours, stir in the red pepper, corn, and whipping cream about 45 minutes before serving.  use the mashed potato flakes and milk to adjust thickness at least 15-20 minutes prior to serving so it has time to reheat.