Monday, October 20, 2014

Loaded Broccoli, Cheese and Bacon Soup

Some time ago I posted a recipe for Cream of Broccoli Soup on the blog.  At that time I was still looking for an even better recipe.  This recipe that I found on Mel's Kitchen CafĂ© website is excellent.  Give it a try when you've got a bunch of broccoli and are craving a warm thick comforting soup.  The author said it was hearty and delicious.  I also like this soup because it has other vegetables besides the broccoli and I'm all about using vegetables!

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup chopped celery, diced small
  • 3 cups chopped potatoes, diced small
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4-5 cups coarsely chopped broccoli; peel the outside of the tough stalks before using
  • 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk (I used 1/2 skim milk and 1/2 half and half)
  • 3-4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese  
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, carrots, celery, potatoes and onion. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to get tender.
    Add the chopped broccoli. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. The pan is going to be very full of vegetables and it might seem like it isn't "soupy" enough since the vegetables overpower the broth but I promise it will all work out when you add the cheese mixture.
    In a separate medium saucepan, saute the bacon until golden and crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the grease.  If you prefer you can use a combination of bacon grease and butter to prepare the cream sauce.
    Melt the butter (in the same saucepan you cooked the bacon in) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.
    Stir in the cheddar cheese one handful at a time, adding another handful after the cheese that has been added has melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and dry mustard.
    Slowly stir the cheese sauce into the hot broth and vegetables, whisking to combine well. Stir in the reserved bacon and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you want the soup a bit thinner, stir in a little extra broth or milk a bit at a time until you get the consistency you are looking for.  We like thick soup, so I didn't add any additional liquid.
    Adapted from

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Nut Stuffed Delicata Squash

    This  is a very good vegetarian recipe using Delicata Squash.  I loved it!  I'm not sure Arthur did, but he ate it--just not with as much enthusiasm as I did.

    The recipe calls for a variety of nuts.  Some of which I had and others I didn't.  Just use 1 1/3 cups of whatever nuts you have on hand.  A variety is nice but probably not essential. 

    3 tablespoons butter
    1 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or fresh thyme leaves or a combination of both   
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    1/3 cup chopped pistachios
    1/3 cup chopped almonds
    1/3 cup pine nuts
    1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (you can also substitute sour cream)   
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    About 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
    2 Delicata squash (about 2 lbs. total), halved lengthwise and seeded

    Preheat oven to 350°.  Place squash halves cut side down in pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1/2 hour.  Prepare filling.
    Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in herbs and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, combine yogurt or sour cream, eggs, and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir in nut mixture.
    Remove squash from oven and remove foil.  Turn squash over and divide stuffing among squash halves, sprinkle with more parmesan, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 30 minutes.
    Adapted from