MY FAVORITE BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

I tried to make broccoli cheese soup a while back, and it did not go well. I used only pre-grated cheddar cheese, and it tasted good when we had it the first time, but it kind of “curdled” when I tried to reheat the leftovers.

I know if I wasn’t so lazy and would grate my own cheese, it probably would have worked…oh, well. With the cooler weather that we’ve been having, I’ve been craving broccoli cheese soup. It’s not really practical to go out and buy a cup every time I want one, so I decided to give making it myself another go. This version was a definite win. It will be my go-to recipe from now on.

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

We all really liked it. The flavor and texture were perfect. It’s rich and creamy without being overbearing. We had  ”boonies” with it…I will share the recipe and the story behind these tomorrow. Quick, easy, and delish. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to go with this post. We were hungry and the soup got gobbled up before I could snap a picture. I will definitely be making this again, so I will try to get a picture then and update this post. Try this soup and let me know what you think!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/3 c. butter
1 c. diced yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk
2 c. chicken broth (1 can)
1/2 c. heavy cream
3 c. finely chopped, fresh broccoli pieces
1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used the pre-grated, bagged kind and it worked fine)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp of each, but this will vary depending on the brand of cheeses and your salt/pepper preference

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in onions and cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 3 minutes. Whisk in garlic and flour, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. While whisking, slowly pour in milk, chicken broth then cream.

Cook, stirring frequently, just until mixture begins to gently bubble, then reduce heat to medium-low, add in broccoli pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes. Turn heat off, add cheese and stir until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste and more milk to thin, if needed. Serve warm.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Classy

TORTILLA SOUP

 

Does it seem like I’ve been visiting the Pioneer Woman’s site a lot lately? I have made a lot of her recipes in the past couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because she has a lot of good Mexican food and comfort food recipes and that’s what I crave when the weather gets cold. I saw this recipe for tortilla soup the other day and knew I had to try it. It’s really tasty. Matthew, who never eats anything, had two bowls, and Andrew asked to take it to school for lunch the next day. I call that a success. It’s a little bit time consuming, but most of that is hands-off work. It has to simmer for a while. I think you could easily make this in the crock pot and add the tortilla strips a few minutes before you’re ready to serve it. I topped mine with cheese, sour cream, and fresh avocado. Yum!

Tortilla Soup

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. diced onion
¼ c. diced green bell pepper
¼ c. red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
32 oz., fluid low sodium chicken stock
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 c. hot water
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. cornmeal
5 whole corn tortillas, cut into 2 to 3 inch strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir. Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips. Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and/or grated cheese.

Source: The Pioneer Woman; Photo also courtesy of the Pioneer Woman (I forgot to take a picture again. Doh!)

TOMATO BASIL SOUP

Okay, you’re going to think I’m weird, but I have never eaten tomato soup in my life. Seriously. It’s been cold and windy here lately, so I’ve been craving soup. I’ve had this recipe in my list of things to try for some time, so I decided to go ahead and try it. I will definitely be making this again. This is a great soup to have on a cold day. Roasting the tomatoes makes them incredibly rich and the fresh basil gives the soup a wonderful hint of fresh herb sweetness. It’s great for a light lunch or along with a salad and crusty bread or sandwiches for dinner. I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches and it was a hearty wintertime meal. This recipe makes a large batch, but it’s even better the next day, and it freezes beautifully. Directions for freezing follow the recipe.

Tomato Basil Soup

2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 yellow onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
4 Tbsp. butter
1 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
12 to 14 leaves fresh basil
1 c. heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Strain tomatoes, reserving juice. Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 c. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, or until caramelized.

While tomatoes are roasting, chop the carrots, celery and onion. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter and the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the vegetables, along with the chopped garlic for 10 minutes, or until softened. Remove tomatoes from the oven and add them to the pan, along with the reserved tomato juice, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Puree in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender. Add cream before serving.

*If you’d like to freeze the soup, you may do so, but do not add the cream before freezing. Thaw and reheat and add the cream before serving.

CHICKEN ENCHILADA CHOWDER

I love crock pot soups and they are great meals for fall and winter. I have a lot of these types of recipes that are my staples, because they are so easy to throw together and they taste delicious. Most taste even better the next day, so I  usually put the leftovers in several small tupperware containers and take them to work for lunch.

When my mom told me about this crock pot soup recipe, I knew I needed to try it. It was super easy to make and the family really liked it. It tastes just like chicken enchiladas! I will definitely add this one to my crock pot soup rotation. If you use the Mexican tomato sauce and the pepper jack cheese, it’s a bit spicy, so if you want to tone it down a little, you can use mild enchilada sauce and/or plain jack cheese instead.

Chicken Enchilada Chowder

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn
I small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
2 small cans El Pato Mexican tomato sauce or 1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
1 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
4 chicken breasts (can still be frozen)

In a crock pot, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Top with chicken breasts. In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce or Mexican tomato sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker.

Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove chicken from crock pot and shred. Add chicken back into soup. Stir in shredded cheeses until melted just before serving. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and avocado or sour cream, if desired.

Source: Adapted from Taste and Tell