Broccoli Cheese Soup II (with Ham)

soup

Even before I baked ham the other day, I already had plans for the leftovers! I wanted to make ham and potato soup, but he had a different craving. M loves Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup – I like it too. That’s not the problem…when I have a plan, I’m not immediately flexible to accommodate different ideas! He doesn’t really like my version because it’s not as thick as Panera’s – but I have a feeling they accomplish this by adding processed cheese. After deciding to go ahead with his plan, I quickly looked for a recipe that called for the stuff, but I couldn’t find one. I was in the parking lot of the grocery store, using my slow phone and didn’t have a whole lot of time. This recipe makes a small batch of thick, rich soup – all that half and half kept the base nice and creamy. I usually double my go-to recipe and use whatever milk I have, so it’s much thinner.

Verdict: Okay…this recipe is better than the other one. It’s rich and creamy, thanks to all that half and half! Also, the addition of diced ham (from a new recipe I’ll share soon) was a tasty, meaty and a perfect complement. Everyone loved it and the rolls I paired with it. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

soup1

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup – adapted from Cookbook-Recipes

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ pound fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 heaping cup of diced ham, optional

Directions:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Zuppa Toscana and Breadsticks

zuppatoscana

Is there anything more comforting than a rich soup and fresh baked bread? This is seriously good, and even my picky daughter loved this. That’s always a win in my book when I don’t have to tell/nag her to eat more of dinner. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Zuppa Toscana – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1 pound Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine for deglazing
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

Directions –

Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken stock and water to the pot. Increase the heat to med-high, bring to boil and the reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

breadstick

Almost Famous Bread Sticks – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 package yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups AP flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fine salt

For the Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon true garlic powder
  • Pinch of dried oregano

Directions –

Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.