Friday, February 22, 2013

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yummy and comforting

    Today is a gloomy Gus day (I'm not sure where this term came from, but my family has always called it this!).  The sky is gray, the air is chilly, and the rain can't decide if it wants to drizzle or pour; so the sky hangs heavily with indecision.  Early this morning, the girls and I had several errands to run.  Emily was starting schoolwork by 6:00 this morning so she could be free.  While the boys worked on schoolwork with Daddy, the girls and I ran to Target (Emmie had a gift card), Starbucks (gift card again), the fabric store, two craft stores, the mall, the library, and the grocery store. 
   We don't really go to the mall very often, but when we do, we get a little excited.  It seems that the girls always manage to steer me into "distractions".  The three of us can't seem to pass a candle or fragrance without inhaling it.  Today the girls discovered a sink in Bath and Body Works with samples of "sugar" scrubs for your hands and paraffin creams.  I was attacked with two sets of incredibly soft hands.  "Mom, you've GOT to try this stuff!"  They began rubbing their hands all over my face to convince me. Before I knew it, Emily was slathering some pink, gritty goop onto my hands with her sister's full approval.  I was then rinsed and moisturized.  Yep, the stuff is pretty awesome.  I have a new pair of softer hands. (I need a vat of the stuff to bathe in.)  
   After my beauty treatment, just when I thought we could actually leave, the girls insisted that we stroll through the food court.  No, I had no intention of spending thirty dollars for a lunch served on plastic trays.  The girls have learned, however, that vendors strategically offer samples and they were determined to graze before leaving.  We each managed to taste a bite of Philly cheese steak sub, a piece of bourbon chicken and a piece of honey chicken.  Later, at the BiLo, Hayden discovered a sample tray of donut pieces too.  Honestly!
       Needless to say, in spite of our nibbling, we were very hungry when we got home around 12:30 and the weather made us all want some soup - and fast!  The boys had leftover stuffed pasta already, but we ladies got busy A.S.A.P.!  This recipe comes from my good friend, Peggie.  

Ingredients: 
  •  A large, two pound bag of frozen broccoli florets. (We have tried it with the less expensive "pieces", but it really isn't as good.)  Of course, you can use fresh as well!
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 2 cups half and half (we used whole milk) -*Tip - If you remember to pour your milk into a measuring cup before you begin, it will be room temp. and thicken faster.
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups water and 4 teaspoons of Knorr chicken bouillon)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 large handfuls of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
optional:  a dash of nutmeg
               a diced stalk of celery




                                                          The broccoli I used.                                                          


                                                     The entire bag goes into the pot.


                                                        Rough chop 1 large onion.


Throw onion into pot and add heaping teaspoon of minced garlic.


Pour in two cups of chicken stock.  I poured in two cups of water and two teaspoons of bouillon powder.


 Get water boiling and then turn down to med-high and stir occasionally at least ten minutes until broccoli gets wilted and onions get translucent.

                                                                   
                                             Before and after.  Sorry about the steam!


Turn off heat.  In another pot, melt three to four tablespoons of butter.


Add 1/2 cup of flour to butter and whisk to make a rue.  Mine really needed that extra tablespoon of butter, but it worked anyway.


                                         Whisk in two cups of half and half (or whole milk).


Add two cups of chicken stock.  I used two cups of water and two teaspoons of bouillon instead.


Whisk while bringing to a boil and then immediately turn heat down to medium.  Whisk until thickened and then turn off heat and move to a cool burner.  You now have a mild cream of chicken soup.  (You could forget the broccoli, add a couple more teaspoons of bouillon, add some frozen veggies, chopped chicken and call it a day! ) 


Puree slightly cooled veggie mixture in other pot.  Make it as chunky or as smooth as you like.


                                                                  Broccoli mush


                                      Always happy to add cheese!  Two big handfuls here.


Pour in cream mixture from other pot and stir.


                                   I poured it into a crock pot for my family to have all day long.


                                        My first customer. Hayden is a broccoli soup monster.


                                                           And the other one, my Emily.


Another AWESOME option:
Substitute the broccoli with baby bella mushrooms and the cheddar with Mozzarella.
There are only two of us who will eat mushrooms, but I tried this and was very very happy not to have to share! :)

While the king is at his table, 
My perfume sends forth its fragrance.
The Song of Solomon 1:12

~Jennifer






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