Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I was in the mood to make soup, but honestly that isn’t unusual for this time of year.  I had been wanting Panera broccoli cheddar soup since a friend mentioned it in her meal plan on Z Life What’s Cooking Facebook page.

But it wasn’t until I walked down to the garden that I realized it was my fate To Make Soup!

Ok, I honestly was just going to the garden to get some leftover greens for the chickens, and then I saw this.

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Well hello there Mr. Broccoli, lets put you in a pot!  (Yes, I actually still had broccoli in my garden in January, I know crazy right!)

This is perfect for my “new” weekly recipe, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe each week.  I’ve never made cheddar broccoli soup so I googled recipes and found several that I could tweak as my own for the ingredients I had on hand.

This is what I did…

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of olive oil (or bacon grease 😉 )
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced

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Saute veggies in butter and oil until soft then add:

  • 1 cup of flour to make a roux

Cook roux for 5 – 10 minutes then whisk in:

  • 4 cups of (warmed) milk
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • S&P to taste ( 1 tsp. of each)

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Cook and stir mixture about 5 minutes and then add:

  • 8 cups of small (even a little bit chopped) broccoli florets

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Cook and stir about 10 – 15 minutes until broccoli is softened, then add:

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  • 8 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Stir until cheese is melted.

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This makes a big pot of soup.  My 8 quart stock pot is almost full, shy of about 2 quarts.

But, I’m thinking this soup will freeze nicely and if I’m cooking I’m always making more than one meal.

The recipe could easily be cut in half if needed.

This soup is beyond delicious!  So Good!

Now I wont have to buy Panera soup when the craving hits, I’ll just go to the freezer.

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The last time I bought Panera was around $10 for a small cup of soup and a small salad.  This pot of soup (6 quarts) would cost about $23 (in my area of grocery costs).

That comes to about $1 per serving for a Panera size serving of this soup.   Have you ever got a bowl of soup at Panera (or anywhere besides home) for a $1 or less?

But, if you have broccoli in the garden or freezer and homemade chicken stock on the shelf or freezer, then the (immediate) cost of this soup would be minimal at best.

To go with it I made a fresh loaf of Katy’s, the author of The Non Consumer Advocate’s homemade bread AKA The Tightwad Gazette’s homemade bread recipe.

Just YUM!!!   No, really that’s all I could say, YUM!

Since I’ve never made this soup before, I’m counting this as my new recipe for the week, following along with The Frugal Girl’s plan to try a new recipe every week in 2017.

Go ahead, make some soup and bread…  You’ll love it!

Till next time,

Lori

 

 

Spring, Asparagus, and Ditalini… What???

This is ditalini…..

Everybody is talking about spring.

Wondering if winter is ever going to let go here in Virginia.  Looking forward to warmer weather and longer days.  I think I’ve mentioned spring in all my blogs this week.

It’s also asparagus season.  I haven’t heard anyone talking much about that.

 

I know I haven’t heard anyone talking about ditalini.


Well, I love asparagus, and I want to start an asparagus bed this year.  Which means I want the ZMan to start an asparagus bed this year.  

So, in the spirit of celebrating spring, asparagus, and ditalini  and looking forward to warmer weather, I made this lovely asparagus ditalini pasta salad this week.

 

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Asparagus Ditalini Pasta Salad

1 box of ditalini pasta
1 bunch of asparagus – chopped
¼ cup of good olive oil
1 can of dark red kidney beans – drained and rinsed
1 can of artichoke hearts in brine – drained and lightly chopped
2 red bell peppers – chopped
1 can of large olives – sliced in half
1 ½ cup of feta cheese – crumbled
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Boil pasta by box instructions.  Don’t forget to salt the pasta water.  In the last 2 minutes of the boiling time add the asparagus.  Drain and let cool.  Transfer pasta and asparagus to a large mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

 

I like using ditalini pasta for this salad because the chopped asparagus is the same shape and size as the pasta.

 

This is a great summer salad for entertaining as it does not have mayonnaise to worry about spoiling.

 

The measurements don’t have to be exact (it’s a salad) and you can add more or less of any ingredient if you choose.

 

This is another recipe where I have to suggest using a really good olive oil.         It really makes a difference.

 

Serving this with some grilled lemon chicken…. Well, YUM!!!

 

I suppose this is my attempt to will warmer weather our way…        As I look out the window and the snow is falling and we already have about 3 inches on the ground.

Oh well, let them eat ditalini.

 

Y’all Take Care!

Lori