1In a saucepan, (I used a 3-quart saucepan) add the water, broth, rice, and the seasoning packets that come with the boxed rice-a-roni. Bring contents in pan to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to a low simmer, and simmer for 22-23 minutes. I did stir the rice a couple times while it was cooking, just to be sure the rice wasn't sticking to the pan.
2Once the rice is done cooking, remove pan from heat, and set it aside while you finish preparing the soup.
3While the rice is simmering, cook the bacon in a skillet until the bacon is crisp. Remove bacon from skillet, and set it aside on paper toweling.
4To the skillet, along with the bacon drippings, add and sauté the celery and onion for a few minutes. When the onion has softened, remove from skillet, and set this aside. The onion will be softened, but the celery will be slightly crisp.
5In a large soup pot or kettle, (over medium-low heat) add the canned soups. Gradually add the half-and-half, and keep stirring, to mix soup and cream thoroughly together. Don't let the soup come to a boil.
6Once the soup and cream are thoroughly mixed together, and the soup is hot, gradually add the slices of cheese, and stirring the soup between adding the slices.
7Once the cheese is completely blended into the soup, I then add the cooked rice, plus the celery and onion.
8Crumble the cooked bacon, and add it to the soup.
9Heat the soup thoroughly, but do not let it come to a boil.
10Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle with a bit of black pepper. Do not add any salt to the soup, as the bacon and cheese slices add enough salt!
11*Note: I did substitute 1-cup heavy cream, plus 1-cup 2% milk, for the 2 cups of half-and-half cream.