On vacation, we stopped in Denver, and ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. Never been there before. Not too terribly impressed. Maybe that's because we had NO cheesecake with our meal. I bet they make CHEESECAKE really well. My husband had fish and chips and he said it was the worst he'd ever had. My son had a burger and he enjoyed that... pretty typical burger and fries. I had a cup of Broccoli & White Cheddar Soup and a Chopped Salad. The soup was tasty, but it was totally pureed/blended which was unexpected to me. Uhh, where'd the broccoli go? The Chopped Salad was so, so. All the ingredients were chopped up rather small and all mixed up together, which was not very attractive; romaine lettuce, bacon, green apple, avocado, tomato, blue cheese crumbles... with a balsamic vinaigrette tossed in. I was expecting rows of ingredients (like a Cobb Salad) over a bed of romaine lettuce. It was tasty, but like I said... just not what I expected and it was not very attractive to look at.
I set out to the grocery store to buy broccoli, white cheddar cheese, and other soup ingredients on Saturday. I chickened out and bought extra sharp cheddar cheese since it was half the cost of the Tillamook brand white cheddar cheese. Darn it, I really need to try the white cheddar cheese, as it had a unique flavor.
My soup is based on a Broccoli Cheese Soup I made previously, but I've altered the cooking method a tad and added extra veggies. The previous recipe can be found HERE.
Broccoli & Cheddar Soup (with extra veggies)
2 tablespoons butter
3 carrots (small dice)
2 stalks of celery (small dice)
1 small yellow onion (small dice)
2 to 3 tablespoons flour (all purpose or whole wheat pastry flour)
salt and black pepper (to taste)
1 pint fat-free half & half
1 3/4 cups to 2 cups low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth, no MSG
10 to 12 ounces fresh broccoli, chopped into small bits
8-ounces (two cups) extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium to medium low heat. Add the diced carrot, celery, and onion; season with salt and pepper (salt will draw out some of the moisture out of the veggies). Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not brown the veggies; just soften them.
Sprinkle the flour over the veggies, stir to combine, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add in the half and half, stirring with a whisk to prevents lumps. Increase the temperature to medium high and bring the half and half to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Simmer until soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add in the chicken broth and broccoli and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, remove 1/4 to 1/2 of the soup from the pot and puree in a blender. I used my immersion blender and pureed the soup just a little, leaving some chunks of veggies. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add in the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired/necessary . I did not add any additional seasoning as the cheese adds a bit of salt.
|Lunches packed for the week...|