Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The weather has been frigid and dreary which means I don’t want to do anything except wear flannel pajamas, eat cheesy foods, and watch Rom-coms. Despite this,  I am determined to not let the annual “winter coat” back on (or, better known as the reason I have 8 pairs of jeans in varying sizes).  I love to make soup, especially the good and hearty type.  This soup accomplishes that perfectly and, as a bonus, is thickened with cannelloni beans making this a low-fat, high fiber version!

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Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serves: 2 (+4 lunches!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 carrots, peeled and minced
  • 3 cups of chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup 1% Milk, optional, and recommended 🙂
  • salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Heat a soup pot on medium and add the olive oil and onions. Sauté for 2 minutes until they turn clear.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. (If it starts to become dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of water.)
  3. Add the stock and water to the pot.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  (This is important as all of the flavors from the onion and garlic season the stock).
  4. Add the cannelloni beans and blend everything together using an immersion blender. This will create a nice puree of your aromatics and beans.
  5. Add the carrots and broccoli to the pot with the puree and allow the soup to simmer for another 5-8 minutes, until the carrots and broccoli are soft.
  6. Blend the soup again until it is almost entirely pureed.  Leaving some whole pieces of broccoli works well.
  7. Add the cheddar cheese (and milk, if desired), stir until melted,  and season to taste! Serve with extra cheddar.

 

*You can also use a regular blender, obviously!   When blending in step 5, leave about 2 cups of the soup in the pot and puree the rest.

*If freezing, do not add milk to the soup.  You can add milk when re-heating at a later point.

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Butternut Squash and Kale Soup

It’s the season of red Starbucks cups and butternut squash!  Butternut squash is one of those super delicious foods, but sometimes it’s really annoying to peel… and why the heck does it have to be so heavy?!  If you can find the peeled and diced packaged versions, go crazy!  For the rest of you, invest in a good peeler and sharp chef’s knife.  This soup made a ton but it just get’s better as the flavors meld together over a couple of days. This is a great winter comfort dish without all the extra kcals, so enjoy!

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Serves: 2 (+4 lunches- wahoo!)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 32 oz Vegetable stock
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a soup pot on medium and add the olive oil
  2. Add the onions and garlic, saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, butternut squash, oregano, and lemon. Stir frequently for 1 minute.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork. If the liquid evaporates too much, add an additional cup of water.
  5. Use an immersion blender and blend the soup until the desired consistency is reached.  I did mine about 3/4 of the way, meaning there were still some pieces of butternut squash left in it.  You can obviously blend it all the way too… and in a blender if you want!
  6. Lastly, add the beans, kale, milk, and dill. Stir for 2-3 minutes until kale becomes soft and wilted, then serve!
Giant pot of soup. My pot, by the way, is from World Market... and it's amazing ($13). It's made of enamel (think camping bowls/mugs etc.). Super easy to clean and store and its so pretty.

Giant pot of soup. My pot, by the way, is from World Market… and it’s amazing ($13). It’s made of enamel (think camping bowls/mugs etc.). Super easy to clean and store and its so pretty.

Avocado Farro Salad

If any of you are also experiencing this heat in not only a tiny apartment, but also with a poorly performing air conditioner unit,  you’ll understand my desire to eliminate all other sources of heat!   I’ve been avoiding my oven and using the stove only when I have to.  Grain based salads are great because not only are they easy to make, but they have a substantial amount of protein in them and make it an easy way to get in lots of veggies during the day.  If you don’t like Farro (or have the patience for it to cook – I barely do), try quinoa, brown rice, or barley too.

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Avocado Farro Salad

Serves 2 with leftovers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Farro, dry
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons tarragon, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (flavored olive oil is even better!)
  • Avocado for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook the faro according to package directions. It usually runs 1 cup faro: 1.5 cups water. Plan ahead because this will take about an hour to cook.

2. While the faro cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients. Add the beans, feta, tarragon, peppers, parsley, and olive oil to a bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Once the faro is cooked, add to the bowl with all of the ingredients. Mix well and serve.

* This is also great served cold the next day for lunch with salad or chicken etc.

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