14 December 2012

Sketch-Free Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Oh yes.

Sketch-Free Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Last week I threatened promised that I'd share one last soup recipe from my soup-a-palooza recipe testing.  You can pretend to be surprised, but I'm banking a few of you stopped by today for that very thing.  The rest of you took off running =)  Come back I love you!!!!

Since downing a big bowl of the stuff at Panera last week, I haven't been able to get broccoli and cheese soup off my mind.  It also happens to be one of Paul's favorites and has been requested non-stop since the temperature began to drop outside.  I did a quick google perusal of homemade recipes and almost fell over.  Oodles and oodles of additive-rich canned cheddar soup, cream of broccoli soup, and an ever-present smorgasbord of velveeta "cheese product."  Oh the franken-foods!  I nearly fell out of my chair when the faux-cheesiest of them all had bajillions of 5 star reviews.  Come on kids!  We're better than that!  Eat real food.

Speaking of eating real food, Panera Bread has a similar philosophy with their menu!  Their bakery fresh breads and pastries beat the pants off anything you could find lurking on a dusty shelf.  And if any of those yummy artisan breads are left over at the end of the day?  They donate it to local organizations!  Kudos, PB!  They also offer an array of seasonal dishes on their menu and have an amazing selection of soups on rotation.  Over the years I've tried their vegetarian black bean, their creamy tomato, and even their garden veggie soup with pesto.  Of course my go-to will forever be the broccoli and cheddar.  If I'm going to drive two towns over for soup, chances are that will be the one I get =)  Most of my girlfriends live an hour or so away so when our crazy schedules align we'll meet at our half-way point [at Panera!] to play catch-up and stuff our faces.

Panera Bread Copycat Broccoli and Cheese Soup
 
The hardest part isn't the drive... or the scheduling...  Nope!  The hardest part is not snorting soup through our noses while we laugh at each other.

I won't name any names, but I will give you soup!

Sketch-Free Broccoli Cheese Soup
Sketch-Free Broccoli and Cheese Soup

ingredients
one bunch of fresh broccoli [enough for a few cups of chopped tops]
2 cups vegetable [or chicken!] stock
1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, plus plenty extra for topping [freshly grated]
1 heaping cup of regular gouda cheese [freshly grated, rind removed]
1 cup of shredded carrots [or a little extra!]
1 small white onion [about 2/3 cup or 1 cup, chopped]
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup half and half [or heavy cream]
3 TBSP all purpose flour
3 TBSP butter
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt [will vary based on salt content of your stock/broth]
a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Feeling fancy? garnish with red pepper flakes [optional!], parsley + sharp cheddar
Gluten-Free? To make this soup gluten-free you can use pureed potato to thicken the soup without using a flour-based roux or use sweet rice flour in place of all purpose flour.

Cheese-based soups and sauces are a bit tricky, since cheese has a borderline multiple personality.  It starts out solid, begins to melt, then thickens, then [if temps are too high] jumps right back into solid territory by curdling.  Best way to avoid that last little quirk? Use full fat dairy products for your cream base [they stand up to heat better than lowfat dairy], add your dairy products towards the end of the cooking process on a lower heat setting, and also combine sharp cheeses with creamy ones, for better melting and texture.  I chose higher quality, full-fat cheeses to ensure maximum flavor and melting.  The result?  Pure creamy deliciousness!

get cooking!
I made this soup 5 times.  Five.  This one was the BEST!  Thick, creamy, cheesy, broccoli-y [pretend that's a proper adjective!] and overall swoon-worthy.  Not to throw my own confetti or anything =)

This soup is quick and easy [30 minutes or so and it's good to go!] but I included uber-detailed instructions to help you out in the kitchen.  Hopefully you don't mind!

First ze veggies!  Chop em.  Well technically clean them THEN chop to your heart's content.  Dice the onions super small, mince the garlic, an shred the carrots if you didn't buy pre-shredded.  This can all be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later.  For the broccoli, chop 2/3 of it into tiny florets [just cut off as much stem as you can and it'll fall apart in the pot] and then take the remaining 1/3 and give it a rough chop so you have a few large pieces to add to the soup.  Totally optional!

Add your veggie stock to a pot on medium-high heat, add your 2/3 of your broccoli [about 2 cups of florets] as well as your onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf.  Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Once the broth is done, start your roux.  In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly.  Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk.  For a thicker soup, use an extra tablespoon of each.  I skipped it.  Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture [its okay if some of the veggies jump in along side it!] and stir to incorporate.  Next pour in the veggies and slowly stir in 1 cup of half and half.  Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered.   Spoon out the bay leaf and season with the above herbs and spices, adding a little extra of whichever you like to taste.  Depending on the saltiness of your broth, you might skip the salt entirely or prefer to add a bit more -- taste and tweak as needed after adding your cheese.  Oh yes -- the cheese!  Once the soup has warmed back up, stir in the grated cheeses and remove from heat immediately.

I won't tell if you sneak extra cheese in your soup =)

Sketch-Free Broccoli Cheese Soup

That extra broccoli you left on the side?  Blanch in boiling water, steam in your microwave, or basically cook it however you'd like and stir into your completed soup for great texture and an extra burst of broccoli.  Garnish with a little extra grated cheddar and a sprinkle of parsley and eve spicy red pepper flakes if you'd like!  So good!

You'll wind up with two BIG bowls of the stuff or four appetizer-sized portions to pair with sandwiches or salads.  Ooh!  It also reheats like. a. champ.  LOVE that!

Sketch-Free Broccoli Cheese Soup

Panera Copycat Broccoli and Cheese Soup

so... how was it?
Comfort in a bowl!  I'm in love.  Wanna round it out into a full meal?  Add a piping hot veggie and cheese panini or even serve up the soup in a bread bowl!  Am I allowed to swoon now?  I'm swooning.

Disclosure: This post is part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker’s program. I received a stipend to try Panera’s soups and create an original recipe inspired by the experience.  As always, all opinions and content are my own! 

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155 comments:

  1. Jen, this looks incredible - probably the only way I could get my husband to eat broccoli! Can't wait to try it!

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    1. Haha then he clearly needs this soup! Stat! =) Thanks Claire!

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  2. yummm love panera and broccoli cheese! (thought I always get french onion when I go there) :)

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  3. That looks like the perfect, hearty sopa to have for dinner on this cold night! Slirpy, slirpy, nom!

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  4. um. DROOL. i love panera's broccoli and cheddar soup so i'm definitely going to make this soon!

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  5. Ohhhh...... I have to try making that!!

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  6. Since I made your cauliflower asparagus pesto soup last weekend, and it didn't disappoint, I think I'm going to have try your broccoli cheddar soup this weekend. I LOVE Panera's BC soup but then I gave up meat (silly girl), and it turns out they make it with chicken stock. So whenever we go, I shoot dagger eyes at the Hubby across the table as he slurps up my once favorite soup. Hope you have a great weekend.
    P.S. Love the name; it's right up my alley, in a non-skethcy way.

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    1. I'm so thrilled you liked the cauli soup!!!! Thanks Meghan! Let me know if you end up making this one =) No more dagger eyes! lol

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    2. I made your Broccoli Cheese soup last night, and at first, I was concerned. Typically when I make soup, I saute my veggies in a little oil first, then add the liquid component (i.e. veggie stock), but that wasn't the case here. Your recipe has it all going into the pot together. Not gonna lie, I was nervous, but I decided to just trust you (this is big for me) and follow your recipe as written. I'm glad I did because I can vouch for it. It was soooo good, creamy, cheesy, and delicious. The only thing I can't vouch for is whether it's good when reheated because there weren't any leftovers. Both the Hubby and I went back for seconds. You are da BOMB.

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    3. I die. This totally made my day Meghan! When I was recipe testing I tried the saute method and it totally worked, but his worked almost identically AND was easier/less messy. I about swooned into the pot and I'm over the flipping moon that you loved it too!

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  7. I made this EXACT recipe last night! The only difference is I had more chedder instead of gouda, and a lil less butter, and half a cup of milk added to half/half. It's my favorite variation of this recipe passed down from my Mama! I will try it with the gouda next time...

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  8. This is my favorite soup from Panera too! I am so happy/excited/giddy to try this because I know its legit! I have never attempted homemade broccoli cheddar soup becasue all the recipes have nasty-fakeness (word?)going on! YUM thank you!!!!!

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  9. I want some. Now. Come and make it for me and the Peanut and I'll let you swing dance with J.

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  10. I saw this and had to have it. I made it last night and it was SO delicious! I could only find smoked gouda in my store; is that what you used? Next time I would do equal parts chedder and gouda and omit the extra salt. Thanks for the great recipe!

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    1. The salt will def vary person to person and also depending on the broth's sodium content - I added the note in there just in case so no one runs through the house on a salt high =) haha! I used regular gouda but it's good to know smoked was yummy too! Thanks Lauren!!!! <3

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  11. This looks absolutely divine! I want to jump in a bowl of it right now!

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  12. It does LOOK like comfort in a bowl!! I'l have to try this one out

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  13. Made this last night and subbed evaporated skim milk for the half and half - it was perfect except I wish it made more! :)

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  14. I really want to try this recipe, but i really dont like gouda..any ideas?

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    1. Anything melty will work fabulously for you! Fontina is a great melty cheese for soups with great flavor. Brie will work too! An american-cheddar blend or colby cheese should be soft and melt too I believe =) Lots of options! xoxo

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  15. I have been searching high and low for a broc/cheese soup recipe that does not have "canned cream of anything" or FAKE cheese!! Thank you so much...PB is my favorite, but living in Japan there are none around...lol! I can not wait to try this recipe!!

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  16. Living in Japan we don't have PB down the road anymore...I LOVE their soup! I have been looking for a recipe without "canned cream of anything" and Fake cheese! Can not wait to try this recipe!

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  17. yum! A trick to melting the cheese. Boil water (or broth), tbsp butter, shredded cheese & a couple tsp corn starch. this allows the cheese to melt but not separate.

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  18. This recipe looka delicious! I hate to burst your bubble but panera is far from homemade and healthy :/ research it...they are as bad as any fast food out there! Kudos to them for donating bread :)

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    1. I do love that they donate and they serve whole foods... which, to me, still beats the pants off the franken-nuggets made with pink slime and taco shells laced with silica and weird additives. Though I completely understand that no restaurant can ever truly compete with homemade and hand-picked, especially for those of us with dietary restrictions, intolerances, and other such needs. However sometimes in life you're eating socially with friends or co-workers or just need an option outside the home, and I would always prefer a Panera greek salad and baguette over a greasy fast food burger and fries. I do value and appreciate your comment though and will keep an eye out for any such research that comes my way. Thanks so much for stopping by Angela!

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  19. Thanks for the gluten free adaptation! Panera's broccoli cheese soup is what I miss most!

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  20. Just made this and I absolutely love it! Better than Panera Bread!

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  21. Just made this but had to adjust a few things because of what I had available. My cheeses were 1 cup gouda, 1/2 cup parmesan, and 1 1/2 cup cheddar. I also used 2% instead of cream and the soup overall was awesome!!

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    1. So happy it works with low-fat milk! eee! Thanks!

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  22. Just made this soup. I saw it pinned on pintrest and pinned it myself. The soup is AMAZING!!

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  23. My entire family loved this! Thank you!

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  24. I made this today and I can't get enough (although I need to, because, let's face it, this isn't good on the waistline :))! It's THE best broccoli and cheese soup I've ever made. Thanks so much!

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  25. I followed the recipe exactly minus the allspice, since I didn't have any. Let me say that this is the best soup ever. It is such a fresh soup that doesn't feel really heavy. I stress this since I used whipping cream instead of half and half. Thank you for sharing this recipe. This is a soup that will be recurring in our household.

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  26. Made this tonight! It was GREAT! Thanks so much for the recipe! We will be having this again!

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  27. Question... I can't find your Cauliflower Asparagus Pesto Soup recipe that was mentioned in another comment. Can you please post a link? That sounds very good, and I'd love to try it! Thanks, Amanda

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  28. Can I just confess--- I have been changing the way I eat for a year now. I've been in a funk because we challenged ourselves to not eating out for a month. I am very irritable. I feel like it's all work and no play for me. Then I saw your post with the delicious looking, non-synthetic ingredients, and I realized it will be okay.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  29. Just made the soup, used frozen veggies b/c i had then on hand. Oh boy is this amazing live it. I've shared with my while family your site!

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  30. Made this tonight for my roommates and I and it was very well received! I didn't have any cayenne pepper but you couldn't tell that anything was missing. Thanks for a great recipe!

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  31. We ate this tonight. The second recipe of yours we've tried. Everytime I make one of your meals, my boys and husband rave over dinner and say it's the best thing ever.

    I think I'll just make a grocery list from your website from now on!

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    1. Ahhh! Thanks!!!! I'm so over the moon that you love them and the flautas too! =) Reading your comments made my night last night =)

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  32. I used 1% milk and only 1/2 cup of cheddar and it was de-lish.

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  33. "Come on kids! We're better than that! Eat real food." - LOVE THAT!!! Thank you for posting a recipe not using the cheese product that seems to dominate every broccoli cheese soup recipe out there. I will be making this soon and will report back with what I am sure to be a raving review :-)

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    1. That cheese product can take a flying leap out of our kitchens! Glad you're with me! xoxo

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  34. Thank you for the extra bit about the melting of the cheese. I have already found a recipe that I am happy with but have had some issues with the cheese either not fully melting or (after reading this) returning to a solid. I end up with tiny bits of cheese. It's still yummy, but not as perfect as the first time I made it. I will definitely PIN this one and try it when I get a bigger budget.

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    1. The little curdled cheese nugget situation had been driving me crazy too! That's why I tested this baby so much - super happy to help! This procedure will work with a number of cheese based soups and sauces so I hope it continues to come in handy for you! xoxo

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  35. You can also substitute corn starch for flour. To make gluten free.. This soup also freezes well..

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  36. This soup looks great and I am definitely pinning it....probably for a day I am home alone, because I want it all to myself! I do have a silly question- where did you get those little tiny soup spoons! They are so cute!

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    1. Thanks Heather!!!! The spoons are from Crate and Barrel! :)

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  37. That was delicious, thank you. I am usually not a huge soup fan but this recipe looked so tasty that I had to try it and I will definitely be making it again!

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  38. Yea, ok this was absolutely delicious!! I didn't want to spend the money for the gouda and I just substituted Sharp cheddar and it was still just as delicious!

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  39. I absolutely love, love, love this recipe.. I love broccoli cheese soup, and only eat it if I go out and its available.. Pre-packages soups are too salty, even the dry mix kind.. I have been doing a lot of cooking from scratch of all the things I love to eat. And this by far will need to be tripled the next time for me and my son.. We ate some for dinner but I immediately scooped out some for lunch the next day. We ate it with french bread.. I of course made a thicker soup with the added butter and flour, amazing, and more veggie, because I got shred happy with the carrots and broccoli.. I did not use the bay leaf, & cayenne pepper..I also used a low sodium vegetable stock, white cheddar cheese and swiss cheese. So good next time i will use the gouda. Thanks for the recipe again it is the BOMB.

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    1. *happy dance!* Thanks Renee!!!!! The gouda makes it even creamier - you'll love it! <3 It makes me beyond happy that you went shred happy with the veggies, that happens a lot here in this kitchen too! With veggies its always the more the merrier! =) [wow... I'm THAT cheesy! lol]

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  40. Can you tell me how much this recipe makes? I feed a family of 6 and I was thinking I should probably double the recipe.

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    1. Ohmygosh I am kicking myself for not writing it down when I wrote the recipe. I usually measure all my soups - terribly sorry! To feed 6 you'll definitley want to double the recipe because I think this only made about 4 cups [maybe a little more] of soup. Most of my friends/family have doubled it when they made it at home so that should ensure you have enough. I'll make it again once I get to the store for ingredients and get an exact amount to add to the post! <3 Thanks Hollis! xo

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  41. This recipe is fantastic!! I just made it tonight and am quite impressed (with the recipe and with myself for doing it justice;). Next time, I will skip adding the salt like you suggested. It's a bit salty for me, and that's saying a lot because I love salt. I should've listened to my gut and went without it. That being said, it's still damn delicious and I will devour it all in no time. Thanks for a great recipe! Already excited to make it again! (Also, I often do food posts on my blog from recipes I made, so I hope you don't mind if I post far less professional pictures of my cooking process on my blog and credit you for the recipe!)

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    1. Hi Renee! Thank you!!!! It's one of my favorite recipes so I'm glad you loved it =) If you blog it, do you mind not re-printing my recipe? I spent a bit of money recipe testing it like a fiend, so I'd like to use it for my cookbook and keep the recipe on my blog for copyright reasons <3 I'd LOVE to see all your process shots though and could direct anyone that needs a visual to the post if you'd like! Thanks again! xo

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    2. Not a problem at all. I will direct my faithful (few;) followers to your blog for the recipe. I didn't know you were doing a cookbook. That's exciting, congrats! Thanks again for the great recipe!

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    3. Thanks Renee! It's been my dream to write one even before starting the blog so I figured I better get my butt in gear and get cracking on it! Let me know when your post is live so I can send people over to see all the yummy photos! <3

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    4. Hey there, Jenn! Just wanted to let you know the post is live. You (and others) can check it out at http://highhopesandheartbreak.blogspot.com/. It's the first post right now, but in the future, it'll be in the "Cookin' in the Kitchen" tab. Bear in mind, my pics are simply from my iPhone, so yours are much better. :) I'm eating the soup right now, so I couldn't be happier. Have a good weekend!

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    5. Ahhhh I love it! Tweeting it and adding it to my Pinterest boards so everyone can check it out! <3 Thanks Renee!

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  42. Hey there! Any idea if this will freeze and reheat well? I'm pregnant and want to freeze some yummy meals for post-babybirthin'.

    Thanks!

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    1. Hey Natalie! Congrats! [I'm expecting too! ee!] I haven't tried it but I did freeze a batch that my husband fully inhaled behind my back [haha] and have been told by a few readers that they found it to freeze well too. When I freeze soups I'll try to freeze thicker versions of the soup so when I reaheat they're extra thick and creamy -- adding heavier cream or a bit extra of the flour/butter roux will help to further thicken it if you'd like! I'm always an email away too if any questions pop up or you need freezer meal ideas! xoxo

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  43. Thank you, this is just what I need for my daily vegetable intake :D
    And yes, right now I'm expecting my first ^^

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  44. I don't know how I came here (probably from pinterest) but I'm so glad I did. I made this soup today and it was seriously GOOD! I have to admit that I had a bit of bacon that needed using so I cut it up, cooked it, and made the roux (not sure of the spelling) on top of that. It was a lovely and tasty addition. But even without the bacon this is the best broccoli/cheese soup I've ever made. Guess now I'll have to look at your other recipes!

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  45. I made this very american soup for my family tonight and we absolutely loved it. It is the first time my boys had broccoli cheese soup and my 1.5 year old cleaned his bowl just couldn't get enough.

    So, just wanted to let you know that your recipe has reached it way to Denmark and I will definately serve it again. Thank you :)

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    1. Thanks Phie!!!!! My dad's side of the family is actually from Denmark! Copenhagen to be exact =) It's so goregous there I've been dying to visit again =)

      I'm so excited your family loved the soup! And a toddler approval? That's the best ever! Thanks!

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  46. This was out of this world!!! It's very rare to see my husband eat a vegetable & he gobbled this down! Thank you for the recipe ; )

    I had to change it up a little bit based off of the ingredients I had at home. I used 1 cup of veg & 1 cup of chicken broth. I did not use gouda cheese but used what I had on hand (sharp, colby jack & parmesan.) & then I did not have allspice or nutmeg in my pantry. (and I chopped my carrots up teenytiny instead of shredding them)

    I'm not sure if Panera paid you to promote them but just an FYI they are far from healthy.

    Check out

    http://foodbabe.com/2012/04/16/panera-bread-the-healthiest-fast-food/

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    1. Thanks Angela! =) I'm glad the recipe worked marvelously with what you had on hand! Any recipe that can do that stays in rotation here forever since I'm always out of SOMETHING! hehe =) So excited this soup got a thumbs up from the veggie-wary husband too!

      It was a Panera sponsored/inspired post [disclosed in the post itself since I'm a stickler for that!] but since I live in a really small southern town, it truly is one of the healthier options that I can easily get friends to agree on when we're finally all able to meet up. For the most part I dine at home and make my meals from scratch to avoid sketchy ingredients and such. Thanks for looking out! =)

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  47. Just made this now. Super easy and a great way to get veggies into our diets that we don't normally eat! I made it using thickened cream this time, but I would prefer something with a bit less fat and less rich. Would sour cream or 0% milk work better?

    Thanks! :)

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    1. I know for a fact that it works with half and half and have had a few friends/readers try it with whole milk, 2% milk, and lowfat milk and say they loved it -- I think skim/0% milk may be just a bit too watery though? The lower fat content the dairy posesses, the less thick the soup will be but the flavor should still be spot on with lower fat milks. Light/regular sour cream would make the soup taste tangy because of the bacteria cultures. Hope that helps! <3 Let me know which one you wind up trying out! xoxo

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    2. Thanks, I might buy a bottle of low fat milk instead and try that!

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  48. I really want to keep your recipe in my recipe box, but when I go to print it, it's 23 pages long, the pictures are scattered as well as the paragraphs. Is there any way you can put up a link just for the recipe w/o pics or comments? I love broccoli and cheddar soup and can hardly wait to try this.

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    1. Hi LaDonna! Thanks!!!! So happy you found my blog! Here's a link to how to remove the images:

      http://www.peasandcrayons.com/2012/11/print-print-baby.html

      But if that's being weird and not working email me or leave me your email so I can email you and I'll send you the text-only version of the recipe! Just let me know! xoxo

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  49. Thank you so much!!! It came out to 9 pages (I printed 7 of them). I can live with that. I can hardly wait to try this soup!

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  50. Oh my! Just made this for supper and the family loved it! Thanks!

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  51. I just made this and my husband and I both loved it! I cook so much that I'm not big on following recipes, but I'm so glad I did! Thanks for making it worth my time!

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    1. Yay!!!! So glad you have this one a chance! <3 xoxo

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  52. I absolutely LOVE broccoli & cheese soup, but I'm dairy free and haven't had any in soooo long. Do you think goat cheese would totally ruin this if I used that instead?

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    1. Goat cheese is super strong so start off with a little and work your way up, tasting as you go! I'd also opt for a bit of coconut milk to use as a thickener and some Romano (sheep!) cheese for its amazing flavor! It will be a different flavor profile entirely but should still be cheesy and yummy! Let me know how it goes! <3

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    2. Thanks! I'll give it a go when I get a chance and let you know the results!

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  53. Could I use carrot pulp that is leftover from juicing in place of the shredded carrots? I cannot WAIT to try this when it cools down again! My hubby and I were just talking about winter soups, stews, and chowders a few minutes ago... Then I get on Pinterest and see this! Perfect timing!

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    1. Absolutely! I use the lefotver pulp as a salad topper and in my carrot coconut muffins but I haven't tried it in this soup yet! I'll probably do the same next time I make it! It won't have *all* the flavor the carrot normally contributes but I think it's a close enough swap that it will still be delish -- let me know! <3 I'm excited for you to try the recipe! =)

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  54. I just tried Panera's broccoli cheese soup the other day and loved it. Having grown up on my mom's, I found others bland and pasty. Your recipe looks so good and I love the fresh ingredients. Can't wait to try it!

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  55. This might be the first soup I make without the aide of my crockpot, it just looks so dang good!

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  56. This is by far, hands down, THE best broccoli and cheese soup I have ever tasted. My husband does not like soup and he couldn't get enough of it!

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  57. Looks so good! Can't wait to try. Huge THANK YOU for adding the gluten free option to the recipe!

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  58. OMeffinG!! Best broccoli cheese soup ever! Used smoked Gouda. And the recipe is already perfectly creamy; no additional flour necessary.

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  59. Didn't know broccoli could be this good! Leftovers for lunch today were just as delicious. You and your soup ROCK!

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  60. Thanks!!!! So happy you liked it! I can't wait for cooler temps so I have an excuse to make this one more often =) I'm a bit obsessed!

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  61. I am so ready to try this!!.

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  62. I just made this and it's delicious!! I didn't have the gouda on hand, but I can imagine how it would be even better with that added in. Thank you :)

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  63. Thank you!!!! I HATE frankenfoods!! 'Cream of' anything canned is disgusting. In any recipe using them, I say it's not cooking. It's 'fixing something to eat.' And I'm against low fat products. I've taken 70lbs off by eating REAL food. I will DEF make this.

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  64. OMG!!!! This sounds WONDERFUL! and yes, I have seen those bazillions of recipes with Velveeta--YUCK! Thank you for this "healthy real food" soup recipe. Totally agree with all you wrote about Panera--they truly "give back to the community" and it is my favorite place to meet friends and have breakfast or lunch. You walk in and smell that wonderful bread--what's not to like?

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  65. Just made this soup and it was awesome! I added some chili flakes and paired it with a sammich :)
    Thanks for this awesome recipe, I will definitely be making this again and again!!!!

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  66. Could you use evaporated milk in place of the half n half?

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  67. loved it, thanks! you really can stop searching everyone! this is it! this is the broccoli cheese soup you've been looking for!

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  68. Just walked away from the table after serving this to my husband and two kids. Everyone loved it! Thank you so much for this recipe!

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  69. FYI - Chicken stock has MSG, which is also a food additive that can cause migraines.

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  70. I'm all for shunning additives but glutamates are naturally occurring in chicken and usually end up in chicken broth/stock as a result. It's easily avoided by using veggie broth/stock :) a good vegetable base can be super flavorful in recipes! Xo

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  71. Thanks Jeanne!!! Glad your family loved it! :)

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  72. Yes!!! "Fixing something to eat" vs actual cooking us a fabulous way to put it! Way to rock the healthy lifestyle changes and whole foods! You're awesome!

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  73. Hi Jen! I used all natural "Kitchen Basics" chicken cooking stock and the box states that there is "no msg". You may want to try this brand of chicken stock (if you can find it in your local grocery store), if you are not making your own.

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  74. is this something you could make in the crockpot? or does it have to be done on the stove?

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  75. It's so quick to whip up via stovetop that cleaning the crockpot would just be a hassle.. But I'll recipe test it to see if it works next time I make it! Ill keep ya posted :) xoxo

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  76. Hey, I made this soup once in the Spring, and then again for supper tonight. It's super delicious. I definitely don't need to try any other broccoli cheese soup recipes. This is THE ONE!
    Props to Pinterest for leading me here, and of course to you Jenn. Good work!

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  77. how many servings does this make? Im planning on making it tomorrow for a family of 7.

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  78. Hi Angela! So excited you're making the soup! Thanks! The recipe yields about four cups of soup total, so you may want to possibly double or triple the recipe depending on if you're serving it as the main course or as a side/appetizer -- leftovers also freeze marvelously! :) xo

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  79. I'm new to gluten free cooking. Would you add the potato puree to the broth and vegetables to thicken it and omit the flour/butter steps? Can't wait to try it out this weekend, even though it's still warm my 7 year old insists it isn't fall until I start making soup and broccoli cheddar is her favorite!

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  80. HO.LY. COW. This is literally the best broccoli cheese soup I've ever had. I'm adding this to my personal cookbook right now!

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  81. I just made this and it really is AMAZING. I quadrupled the recipe as I have 2 teen boys and a 10 year old girl who can out-eat them! WOWOWOWOW Make this soup.

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  82. I love that your daughter out eats the entire clan! =) So happy you guys liked the soup! xoxo

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  83. Yes that should work! You can add a little butter in still if you'd like the flavor but absolutely skip the flour to make the soup GF! =)

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  84. Always love a good soup recipie. I have a point of conern, though. I'm allergic to carrots--I can't even handle them without getting hives. How nessicary are they to this recipie? Could I substitute another veggie? Use more broccoli? Grate the stem?

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  85. So excited for you to try the recipe! Substitute with a little more broccoli and you're good to go! The stem or florets should work marvelously! Xo

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  86. I made this for a work function. I made it the night before and then in the morning poured it into the crockpot and it heated up nicely, Just make sure to heat up on low. It was so yummy, will be making again soon!

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  87. Can I do this with gluten free flour?

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  88. also want to know if this works in a crock pot?

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  89. How much does this make?

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  90. I believe so! Lost sources suggest sweet rice flour to thicken a soup via GF roux: http://mobile.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/01/gluten-free-tuesday-roux-rice-flour.html -- as for the crockpot, I would skip it. Sometimes heating delicate cheeses for that long will result in grainy or curdled chunks in the soup. I've tried it both ways and prefer stovetop.
    Hope that helps! Xo

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  91. Just made this soup for myself...errr I mean my family ; ) and I LOVE IT! Super easy to make (even with grading the cheese yourself). My husband (worlds biggest critic when it comes to my cooking) and my 1 year old son gobbled it up (as well as myself)! This is definitely going to be my go-to comfort food soup AND I am planning on making it again when I have an all girls night at my house next month. Thanks! I look forward to perusing your site for more delish recipes!

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  92. Just made this soup and it's AMMMMMAZING ! I can't believe I spent so much money at Panera Bread ! I could of been making this years ago ! Thank You !!

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  93. I found you through pinterest and decided to give your recipe a try and WOW!! I just made this for dinner tonight and it is amazing! I've never had the panera version (they don't have those where I live, sadly), but this soup is impressive! I also love that it is vegetarian! I try to cook vegetarian meals at least 3 times a week to help cut down on cost of groceries, and this is is such an amazing dish! My husband (a carnivore) didn't even miss the meat. This will be going into our dinner rotation! Thank you so much for posting this!

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  94. OMG, ten pages of commentary on a fucking soup. It was good. Wish I would've saved my printer ink tho.

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  95. Maurin King SagerMonday, November 11, 2013

    So I see that it makes about 4cups but I am wanting to make it for about 12 people. Are there any adjustments that I should make to the recipe or just triple everything?

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  96. I love how easy this was to make!!! My son even complimented me on dinner and that NEVER happens. :)

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  97. I'd like to stay anonymousWednesday, November 13, 2013

    Not sure if you knew this, but this site took your recipe word for word. http://ihearthandson.blogspot.ca/2013/09/broccoli-cheese-soup.html?m=1

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  98. Oh gosh... thanks for the heads up! I spent weeks developing and perfecting this recipe and to have it copy and pasted like my hard work means nothing? It hurts =(

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  99. He did!? Aww yay! Thanks Liz! He must have been seduced by the gouda ;)

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  100. oh noooo! There should have been an option on the print button I installed to show up under each blog post that allowed you to remove the comments when printing. Did it not work? I'll try to troubleshoot if you used the button and it glitched just let me know! eep! I've had the same thing happen in the past and lost a buttload of paper and ink!

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  101. Can I Use Evaporated Milk Instead OF The Half And Half? And What If I Were Using Frozen Broccoli Instead Of Freash?

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  102. Evaporated milk will work great! For frozen broc, I'm not sure how much water it will add to the soup when you add it in, but it might work! It might be a tad different texture and taste wise too. Let me know how it works out! <3

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  103. Dear Jenn, please reply - I live in a country where we don't have half and half. What would you recommend I substitute it with? Thanks so much! :)

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