Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

I often crave a dinner filled with delicious fresh vegetables—crisp salad, steamed asparagus…just kidding. I very rarely crave that, and especially not in the dead of winter. So soup it is! You can have your veggies without batting an eye in this yummy, creamy and low-fat soup adapted from Cooking Light.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup
16oz bag frozen broccoli florets
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 small cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tbsp flour (optional)*
3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups 2% milk
8oz light Velveeta Cheese (2%)
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large sauce pan, sauté the diced onion and celery in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add the garlic (and flour--optional) and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken broth and add the frozen broccoli. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft. If there are any extra large pieces of broccoli, break apart with the stirring spoon or remove and chop. Cut the Velveeta cheese into 1 inch cubes.

Reduce the heat to low and pour in the milk.  Carefully add in the cheeses and stir constantly until completely melted. With your immersion blender, puree the soup until half of the broccoli is blended.  You can also remove half of the soup and puree in a blender or food processor. Season with pepper and salt, if desired.

*If you like your soup really thick, you can add flour when you add the garlic to the onions and celery. As you cook it for one minute, it will bind with the oil/juices and act as a thickener with the broth. You could also add a potato or cauliflower as a thickener. This recipe reflects my tastes: a little less cheesy and a little less thick than your typical restaurant variety.

I have been making this soup for a long time and hope it becomes an easy weeknight staple in your kitchen. Using fresh or frozen broccoli works just as well so use up whatever you’ve got and enjoy!

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