Cheese & Broccoli Soup

Autumn is the perfect time to start making yummy soups, and this has always been one of my favorites, though in the past the best I could do was open a can of it in condensed form, which is never very satisfactory. I modified the liquid in this recipe, since I find that too much milk in this soup make it taste funny; the more broth the better. So I amped up the broth, toned down the milk, and increased the cheese. Honestly I could have added cream cheese, but this is at least a start to having a recipe for this soup that I want to make more than one time. My baby boy adored it and ate it in large quantities, which is good since neither my husband or daughter liked it.

Cheese and Broccoli Soup

2 3/4 C. chicken broth

1 onion, diced small

1/4 C. butter

1/3 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 1/3 C. milk, warmed 1 min. in microwave

2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

3 C. chopped broccoli, steamed until tender

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

  • In a large pot or dutch oven bring the chicken broth to a boil with the onions in it. Turn the temperature down to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the onion is soft.
  • Meanwhile steam the broccoli and set aside.
  • In a small pot melt the butter. Add in the flour and next 2 ingredients and stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes until smooth. Whisk in the heated milk and stir until smooth and thickened. Pour this mixture into the chicken broth and onions and combine. Add in the cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted in, and the broccoli.
  • Process the hot soup mixture, being super careful not to overfill in the blender, blending until smooth. Return to the pot and mix in the softened cream cheese. Serve warm with more shredded cheese on top, if desired.

Adapted from Melskichencafe.com’s recipe for Broccoli Cheese soup.  

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Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

This dish was modified from the paper around the can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup and transformed from an appetizer into a main dish. An easy weeknight meal that is hearty and filling. Besides who doesn’t love cheesy vegetables?

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

2 large heads of broccoli (approx. 1 lb.), cut into pieces and steamed

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into pieces

1 C. white rice, cooked

1 (10.75 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup

1/3 C. milk

2 C. cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 C. bread crumbs

1/4 C. butter, melted

  • Cooked Chicken: It can be grilled whole and then cut, or cut into pieces raw and then cooked on the stovetop in butter with McCormick’s Roasted Garlic seasoning. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
  • Mix the milk and cream of chicken soup together. 
  • Add in broccoli, chicken, rice, and 1 C. cheese.
  • Pour into 13 x 9 greased casserole dish.
  • Mix bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and then the crumb mixture on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until the topping is browned and casserole is bubbly. 

Beef and Broccoli Pie

This pie was a staple dinner in my home when I was growing up. My mother believed in getting a copy of the Relief Society’s cookbook in every ward she moved into with my father, back in the day when those were readily made and available. When they moved to Maryland she got their cookbook, which contains this gem of a recipe. I was happy when I made it for my husband and he enjoyed it also. With some of the difficulties I sometimes have in finding main dishes that my husband will enjoy as much as I do it is always exciting to find another dish to add to our repertoire. I am naturally a pie person- it’s in the genes, but I love the richness of this savory pie. It is not too time consuming, just make sure before cooking the meat mixture that you have everything set up, chopped up, measured and the bottom crust is cooked and cooling. Over the years of making this dish my husband and I have realized that the density of the meat mixture prevents the bottom crust from cooking fully, so the last time we made this, we experimented by cooking the bottom crust. I ended up burning the bottom crust first because we got distracted by a phone call and forgetting to reset the timer, so I just scrapped that one and quickly made new dough for a 1-crust. My husband cut out the least burned section and ate it himself. One of his very favorite treats is my pie crust, just cooked on a cookie sheet. So dinner was a bit late that night, but because the bottom crust was already cooked it did not take an hour to cook the pie. The recipe says 40 minutes but I almost always end up cooking recipes in the oven longer than the recipe calls for. 

Beef and Broccoli Pie

1 lb ground beef

¼ cup chopped onion

2 Tbs All-purpose flour

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

1 ¼ cup milk

1 3 oz. cream cheese (softened)

1 beaten egg

2 heads of Broccoli, cooked and well drained

or 1 10 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli, but I never recommend using frozen vegetables

4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese

Milk

Double Crust for 9-inch pie plate

  • Roll out dough and fit into a 9-inch pie plate – trim. Poke holes into it with a fork and bake for 8 minutes, or until cooked, at 425°. Set aside and let cool.
  • In skillet, brown ground beef and onion; drain off fat.
  • Stir in flour, salt, and garlic powder. Add milk and cream cheese; cook and stir until mixture is thick and smooth. Add a moderate amount of hot mixture to beaten egg; return to mixture in skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or till thick. For best results the mixture should still be slightly soupy, for lack of a better term. Don’t cook all that nice liquid out of the meat mixture.
  • Stir in cooked Broccoli. I steam my broccoli in the microwave for about 7 minutes, until soft and the edges of the stems are turning slightly brown.
  • Spoon meat mixture into cooked pie crust.
  • Grate Monterey jack cheese and sprinkle on top of the meat mixture in the crust.
  • Roll out remaining dough and put on top. Trim and seal edges; cut slits for escape of steam. I always try to cut a broccoli shape in the middle for fun.
  • Brush top of pie with a little milk.
  • Bake in 350 F oven for 40 minutes. If pastry browns too quickly, cover with foil the last 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted From: Kreative Kooking from Kensington Kitchens

Twice Baked Potatoes

Many nights, as much as we love to eat and cook, we do not feel equal to either making or eating a large meal. We believe in moderation in all things and meat does not always have to be involved. It is involved with the potatoes in the form of bacon; a small amount to give a rich flavor, while not having serious meat with the dish. I love bacon but since I am pregnant I have been trying to avoid it because of the nitrates. It drives me crazy to smell it cooking, but I can get the added flavor of the bacon when it is sparsely sprinkled on top. I have a husband who grew up in Idaho and yet does not love potatoes like I, a Pennsylvanian turned southerner, do. However, we can have potatoes as a main course for dinner if we do them up just right. With this meal I have no recipe I follow, I just go by look, taste, and feel. The more butter and sour cream the better.

To start I prep the potatoes, in this case it was Joseph prepping for me, by scrubbing them in water and taking off any eyes or funny spots. I slit the top in just the middle, down to about the center of the potato, and then rub the skins with E.V.O.O. and salt. (I forgot about lemon juice the last time I made them, which is also delicious to add on the skins before baking.) The potatoes roast in a 400° oven for an hour, or until they are really soft in the middle. Once they are cool enough to handle I slice them in half, and scoop out the insides, leaving just a little bit to help the soft skin stay in one nice half piece. With 8 medium sized potatoes I added aprox. ¼ C. butter, and a cup of light Daisy© Sour Cream, seasoning to my taste with salt and pepper. I cooked up a head of fresh broccoli; Joseph cut about ¼ C. Green Onion, and 2 C. of mild cheddar cheese, leaving enough to sprinkle on top before baking. He then crumbled the Smithfield bacon on top when we were all done assembling. They went into the 350° oven for 20 minutes until the cheese was all nice and melty. Absolutely delicious! I do not need anything else for dinner except these potatoes. The best part is that you can customize your potatoes to suit your family’s taste.

Daisy© Sour Cream is the best Sour Cream we have tasted. Wegman’s brand is fine to cook with, but the real good stuff is the Daisy Sour Cream. We have not gone back to eating any other brand since first tasting the Daisy.

With the bacon we prefer Smithfield©. A southern brand that tastes the way bacon should: good.