Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I usually think it's a crime to cook dinner on a Friday night, but I had lot's of leftover broccoli from the week that I couldn't bare to see go to waste, so I made broccoli cheddar soup.  I avoid all broccoli soups that call for Velveeta cheese in them.  What is that stuff anyway?  I used a copycat Panera Bread recipe and it's so good.  Definitely worth the 30 minutes I spent in the kitchen on a Friday evening.  A few children in my family think if they see anything green in their food, it will kill them.  I'm happy to report that it did not kill anyone and was enjoyed by most.  

Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1/2  cup butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup  chopped carrots ( I used baby carrots)
4 cups chopped broccoli
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
few drops of hot pepper sauce
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cream or half and half
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/4 cup cornstarch, whisked into 1/2 cup cold water or cold broth
2 cups (about 8 oz)  grated sharp cheddar cheese

Melt butter in large stockpot. Add onions and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and broccoli cook for additional 3-4 minutes, season with salt, pepper, paprika and hot pepper sauce.  Pour chicken broth and cream into vegetable mixture. Add one teaspoon mustard, whisk until smooth.
Simmer over medium-low heat.
In a small bowl or cup, whisk the cold water or broth together with the cornstarch until smooth. Pour into the stockpot with the vegetable mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese and cook just until cheese is melted. Reduce heat until ready to serve.
Serves 4 as a main course

-Sharp or extra sharp cheese is best for this recipe.
-If you want to make a heartier soup,  cook a couple of chicken breast halves and shred or chop before adding to the finished soup.

Recipe Source:  A Bountiful Kitchen

{cooks note}
We didn't have any leftovers, so I would double this the next time I make it.  I also shredded my carrots.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coconut Granola

We love granola in our family.  We like to add it to yogurt and fruit, eat it plain or as a bowl of cereal.  I only made one batch since it was my first time trying it out, and it was gone the next day.  I will most definitely triple it the next time I make it.  I used chopped, toasted almonds found in the bulk section at Winco instead of the slivered almonds, and I used vanilla bean paste instead of coconut extract.  This granola is crunchy, packed with coconut flavor and easy to make.

Coconut Granola

Yield: About 5 cups - 10 servings

  • 3 cups rolled oats (don't use quick oats)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (I used a scant cup)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss together oats, almonds, and coconut, set aside. In a separate microwave safe mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, coconut oil and salt and heat in microwave on HIGH power 1 minute stirring once halfway through heating. Stir in coconut extract and pour mixture over oats and toss until evenly coated (it will seem dry at first, just keep tossing).
  • Spread oat covered mixture in an even layer into a rimmed, Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 45 - 55 minutes , stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely (it will harden as it cools). Store in an airtight container.
  • Recipe Source:  Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy