Recipe: Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may remember that I posted pics of my soup extravaganza on Saturday.
I made two batches of soup: one of potato cheese soup (recipe here), and today’s recipe: broccoli cheese soup!

I’ve been told it tastes like Panera’s, but I’ve never had their broccoli cheese soup. I’ll take it as a compliment.

I added a little cooked, puréed cauliflower to the white sauce to give it a little more body. Also, it’s great for adding a little extra veggies to the soup!

Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 2 cups onions
  • 1 T. Garlic, minced
  • 4 T. Butter, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons AP flour
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups cheese (I like medium cheddar, but you could use colby, or a sharper cheddar)
  • 2 cups cauliflower, steamed and pureed (I used my immersion blender)
  • 2t. dry mustard
  • Dash Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and saute onions until clear and slightly browned.
  2. Add carrots and celery, cook for another 5-10 minutes, until veggies are soft.
  3. Add all of the chicken broth/stock, broccoli, and bay leaves. Cover pot and cook on low for 10-20 minutes.
  4. In a smaller pot, melt the remaining 2 T. of butter. Sprinkle melted butter with AP flour and stir until paste forms over low heat. The paste should brown slightly- DON’T BURN IT!
  5. Pour milk into the flour/butter paste and whisk briskly. You do not want lumps. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. This may take a few minutes. As the mixture thickens and there are no lumps, add the cheese slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it is incorporated/melted into the sauce. Once the sauce with complete, remove from heat.
  6. Mix in cooked/pureed cauliflower to the cheese sauce.
  7. Add the cheese sauce to the soup mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Once it is fully mixed, remove the bay leaves, season dry mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  8. Simmer soup for another 5-10 minutes, allowing spices and flavors to meld.
  9. Serve Soup hot with crusty French bread. Resist the urge not to eat it all in one sitting.

This recipe makes about 10-12 servings of soup. It can be frozen. And it makes a great gift!

Family Recipe: Chicken Divan

DSC02717.JPGChicken Divan is also known as chicken and broccoli casserole, but we just call it yummy at our house. You can bake it in the oven, make it on the stove top, or cook it in the crockpot.  I’ll give you all three cooking directions.

My family loves it!

The original recipe calls for rice or noodles, but I use Quinoa.

Chicken Divan

Ingredients:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 4 cups of broccoli (Fresh or frozen, your choice)
  • 2 cups white sauce, or 1 can Progresso Recipe starters (I prefer the roasted garlic, but the mushroom is good too)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I like cheddar, but gruyere or swiss is good too)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed or toasted (You can substitute in 1 cup uncooked white rice instead)
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Crockpot

  1. Saute onions in butter on the stove until softened and clear.  About 5 minutes.
  2. Place all ingredients except 1/2 c cheese, all water, and quinoa in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. add quinoa and water/broth, turn on crockpot to high for 1-2 hours, or until quinoa is cooked. Top with cheese and serve.

Stovetop:

  1. Saute onions in butter on the stove until softened and clear.  About 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and continue to cook until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except 1/2 c cheese, and cook  covered on medium/low for 15-25 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa. Top with cheese and serve.

Oven:

  1. Saute onions in butter on the stove until softened and clear.  About 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and continue to cook until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from heat.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients except 1/2 c cheese, and pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa.  Top with cheese about 10 minutes before it’s ready, and continue to bake.

Serves 6-8.

Never made white sauce? Here is a pretty basic recipe.

You can also substitute in 4 cups Winter Blend (1/2 cauliflower, 1/2 Broccoli), or another veggie that you prefer.