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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soups for the Soul

Last night was another cool night in the valley. Unfortunately, the weather report doesn't have us reaching even the mid seventies again until early next week. I'm sure I'll survive until then, but daily I find myself waking up and tiptoeing outside hoping to see more sun (and feel more warmth) than the day before. Admittedly an unrealistic dream given the colder seasons that are approaching, but, nonetheless, there I am in my bare feet just after dawn..... hoping.

But, given the persistence of the chill, another warm and comforting bowl of soup was on the menu for dinner. Last night's choice was a classic - creamy, cheddar broccoli soup! It is a quick, and scrumptious meal that can be put together in less than hour.

Before you know it you're curled up on the couch warming your hands beneath a hot bowl of soup, breathing in the warm aromatic vapors coming off the bowl, and enjoying the mouthwatering creaminess of the thick and cheesy broth.

Creamy Cheddar Broccoli Soup
(Serves 4)
1 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup low-fat milk
½ cup low-fat sour cream
¼ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. basil
1 cup Cheez Whiz
1 cup broccoli florets, lightly steamed

First, melt butter in a large soup pot. Add onion, bell peppers, bay leaf and salt. Saute over a medium heat until onions are translucent and soft. Add chopped broccoli and chicken stock. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until broccoli is very tender.

Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in milk and then blend (in batches) until smooth. Return creamed broth to the soup pot and gently whisk in sour cream, cheez whiz and remaining spices. Stir in the steamed broccoli florets just before serving. Serve with a hunk of bread, and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese or sour cream, if desired.

Per serving: 272 calories, 13 g protein, and high in calcium and vitamins A & C


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