Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup

broccoli beer cheese soup

broccoli cheese soup

Broccoli cheese soup has always been my favorite comfort food. As soon as the air starts to cold down I start craving a warm cheesy spoonful of this soup. I still had some beer left over from my pretzel and cheese dip recipe so I added a splash or two.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to roast off the broccoli first. This adds so much depth and flavor to the soup. My boyfriend and I love roasted broccoli so this soup allows us to have a favorite in a different way.

I also recommend serving this soup in a crusty bread bowl! I am trying to slow down on the carbs so I skipped any added bread, but this soup would be perfect in a bread bowl topped with more cheese. Yum!

Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Cheesy broccoli soup with a splash of Red Hopps!
Ingredients
  • 1 crown of roasted broccoli chopped
  • olive oil
  • 8 ounces of shredded cheddar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups of half and half
  • ½ cup Red Hopps or chicken stock
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • Spices - garlic, pepper, paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spread chopped broccoli onto a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and spices. I like to go heavy on the garlic and pepper. I recommend skipping salt in this recipe until the very end. The cheese is already very salty and the beer will intensify this.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter. Once butter has completely melted add in the flour and whisk consistently until the mixture starts to brown. Add in the beer and keep whisking. The mixture will thicken almost immediately. Pour in the half and half. Whisk until the ingredients look fully combined and reduce heat to medium low. Stir in the carrots and broccoli. You can use a hand mixer to emulsify the veggies, but since everything was already soft I just used a potato masher until I was happy with the consistency. If the soup looks too thick you can add more beer or half / half. Leave on reduced heat for 20 minutes stirring often. Add in cheese. You can add in more spices and salt if needed at this time.
  3. Serve topped with extra cheese and bacon crumbles!

broccoli cheese soup

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Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas

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     I have been wanting to tackle my front pathway for weeks. Finally the sun peaked out for a minute this morning and I ran outside with my new gardening gloves ready to give my pathway the makeover it deserved. Well, I learned several valuable lessons. Rubber grip gardening gloves do not protect you from thorns, lots of bugs live in bushes and I have 3 very different very stubborn species of vines growing around my porch. I may not have ended up with my dream front yard, but it does look significantly better. More festive.

     Lets talk quesadillas. Cheesy, spicy, creamy quesadillas. After all that yard work I needed something warm and filling. These tortillas are stuffed with chipotle chicken, black beans, cheese and jalapenos. I drizzled some sour cream and topped with some basil that I grew myself this summer!

What You Need:

1 chicken breast

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp red pepper

1/4 cup chicken stock

1 can of black beans rinsed

1 large flour tortilla

1/2 cup mixed cheeses ( I used cheddar and monterey jack)

1/4 cup pickled jalapenos ( or fresh chopped)

1 tbsp chipotle Tabasco sauce

Fresh herbs

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Directions: 

Chop the chicken breast set to the side. Spray a saute pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high. Add chicken and spices. Saute for about 5 minutes. When the chicken starts to stick add in the chicken stock and Tabasco. (Using cooking spray and chicken stock is a healthy alternative to oil.) When the cooking stock reduces down to a glaze turn off the heat and set to the side to cool off.

Heat another cooking spray prepared saute pan over medium low. Place one large tortilla flat in the pan. Add the chicken, beans, jalapenos and cheese. When the cheese begins to melt take a fork or spatula and fold the tortilla. Cook on each side until lightly browned. About 2 minutes each. Let the quesadilla cool for about 5 minutes before cutting. For the sour cream- add a tsp or milk or water for a nice consistency and drizzle over the top. You can use cilantro or basil. Chop and sprinkle on the quesadilla slices.

Enjoy!

Want to know what products I used?

Cusinart Saute Pan

Mainstays White China Plates

Chipotle Tabasco

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Tasty Tuesdays: Was That Pin A Win? Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

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Pinterest is that black hole that sucks you in for hours, but does all that pinning actually result in anything? How many of your pins do you actually put to use? I decided I wanted to start a series on the topped pinned recipes to see if they are worth the hype.

Today I bring you the Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin. There are hundreds of pins featuring this pork duo. The most pinned version uses just a few ingredients- honey, pork, bacon and olive oil. I of course had to complicate the recipe and add a few more ingredients.

What you need:

A pork loin around 1 lb

1 pack of smoked bacon not too thick

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper

garlic powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Take the pork loin and poke a few holes down the middle. Pour the vinegar and honey onto the tenderloin. Sprinkle on the brown sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Wrap the loin with bacon. I stretched the bacon to wrap around and tuck under each piece. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Final result- Definitely worth the effort! It was sweet and tender. Next time I think I will do a honey mustard glaze!

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Tangy Pepper and Olive Pepperoni Pizza




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 As much as I try I just cannot go a week without pizza. I even considered a cheese-less kale pizza to try and justify my cravings. This pizza has half the fat of a pizza from a local chain and is bursting with flavor. The mild garlic olives infused with the spice from the jalapenos and splash of sweet from the banana peppers. Such a winning combo. I added in a few boarshead pepperonis because they are my all time favorite.

What you need:

For the dough:

1 Cup of AP Flour

1/2 packet of active yeast

1/2 cup of warm water

1/2 tsp italian seasoning

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp salt

For the toppings:

banana peppers

jalapenos

garlic marinated olives

boardshead pepperoni

mozzarella

pizza sauce of your choice

How to make it:

Preheat your oven to 375.

I used a bread machine and just dumped all the ingredients in the machine on the dough setting. This dough does not need more then 20 minutes of rise time. We are making a fairly thin crust.  If you do not have a bread machine just mix your sugar, water, and yeast together. Let sit for 2 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients.

Roll your dough out as thin as you prefer. I did about 1/2 an inch thick.

Top your pizza with the sauce, cheese, peppers, olives and pepperoni. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust has a deep golden color and cheese is bubbling.

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Just try to only have one piece 😉

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Jalapeno Honey Butter and Spicy Fried Chicken




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   Honey butter is one of my favorite indulgences. The richness of the salted butter combined with the sweet smooth honey flavor just cannot be beat. This brings back memories of Sunday dinners when I was growing up. My mom usually paired a comforting bowl of chili with corn bread twists and hot honey butter. I wanted to spice things up a little bit and added some jalapeno. It ended up being the perfect balance of salty, sweet and spicy. This entire meal was built around this jalapeno honey butter to be honest. Just try not to eat it all! Savory toast smothered in this butter topped with crispy chicken breast. The side dish possibilities are endless.

What you need:

For the jalapeno honey butter-

1 fresh jalapeno – seeded, ribs removed, and finely chopped

2 tbsp salted butter

1 tbsp honey

For the chicken-

2 chicken breasts

2 cup of flour

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp italian seasoning

1 egg

1 cup of milk

peanut oil for frying

Sourdough Bread

Directions:

For the honey butter:

Melt the butter and mix in the jalapenos and honey. Once combined place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

For the chicken:

I preheated a deep fryer with the peanut oil at 375. Mix together the egg and milk. Add chicken and soak while the rest of the ingredients are put together. In a separate bowl mix together flour and spices. Drop chicken into the flour mix and cover entirely. Fry the chicken until internal temp is 155 (the chicken will continue to rise to 165 once you let rest). My chicken was about 1/2 inch thick and took around 15 minutes to fry. Remember to flip the chicken half way through for even coloring.

Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes then slice in half.

Toast the sourdough bread and top with the chilled butter.

Serve alone or with your choice of side.

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Homemade Garlic Cheese Bagels + Healthy (er) Cajun Fries

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I have always wanted to try making my own bagels. It just always seemed like it would be such a long process. Last week I had extra time before work so I stopped by a local bagel shop to pick up coffee and a fresh french toast bagel. Something about that smooth crispy texture with the soft bread just wins me over every time. I decided I was going to make my own savory version as soon as possible. “P” and I love breakfast sandwiches on the weekends. We were brainstorming different flavors when I remembered a smoked gouda I still had in the fridge. Then it was born- the garlic gouda bagel.

 

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The recipe is simple. If you have a bread maker then you can whip these up with only 10 minutes of hands on time.

What you need:

Bagels-

3 1/2 cups of bread flour

1/4 tsp fine salt

3 heaping tsp sugar

2 packs of dry active yeast

1 egg white

1 1/4 cups warm water

Shredded Smoked Gouda

Garlic Powder

Sea Salt

Pepper

Fries-

2 Large Russet Potatoes

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Cajun Seasoning

How to make them:

   2 hours before you plan on serving mix together your dough. I used a bread machine on my dough setting. You can also use a mixer with dough attachment. In my bread machine I started with the sugar, water, and yeast. The warm water and sugar is going to activate your yeast. You would start this way in a mixer as well. Let the yeast sit for about 2 minutes or so. You can smell the yeast once it starts to activate. Add in your flour, egg white, and salt. I always put my salt in last because you never want it to directly touch the yeast. In a mixture you would just mix until combined, form a ball then let sit covered to rise. In the bread machine you just leave on the dough setting until it runs the cycle. My machine mixes the dough, lets it rise, kneads the dough, then lets it rise again. Your dough will have doubled by the end of two hours. Preheat your oven to 350. Drop onto a floured surface and make 6 evenly proportioned balls of dough. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. While the dough is resting bring a pot of water to a boil. I used a deep 12 inch sautee pan and it worked perfect. Poke your thumb though each ball creating a 2 inch opening. Turn your water down to a rolling simmer and drop in your dough. I did 3 at a time. It is important to only boil for 40-45 seconds. 20 on each side. Any longer and you start to get a tough exterior. They will start to firm up instantly. Place them on a baking pan and sprinkle your cheese and seasoning on each one.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes until the exterior is lightly golden. Put bagels on a cooling rack and turn the oven up to 425. Cut your potatoes in halves then in wedges or strips. Laying them out on your baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Liberally season

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Bake for about 20 minutes depending on your desired crisp level.

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Serve your bagels with your desired filling. We used eggs, bacon, spicy bbq sauce, tomato and cheese.

Enjoy!!!!

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  • Bagel tip- if your bagels are too hard after baking store them in a Tupperware while still warm. The steam will soften them dramatically.
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Tortilla Free Burritos + Garlic Fries





This dish was a total accident. I originally was going to make salad, but the longer my day was the more I craved a burrito. The problem with burritos in our house is we love choices. I try to only buy the 100 calories tortillas, but how much can you really fit in there? So burrito bowl it is.
Somehow by the time I started cooking fries appeared on the menu. My boyfriend stayed in California for a while and obsessed over the food trucks that served burritos stuffed with French fries. I discovered this one night when I made fajitas and he insisted I make fries as well.
Crispy potatoes covered in burrito toppings is definitely the greatest combination discovery this year. 
This recipe is really easy to make healthy as well. I actually almost forgot to shred cheese on top after I started assembling because the plate was so full and colorful. 

This sauce is the star of the show. If you do not like spicy you can skip this, but I love spicy. This sauce is a thin vinegar with tons of pepper. If you google gunshot sauce you can find a list of retailers. I buy mine from the hot sauce store at our local mall. 

I hope you enjoy this creation inspired by California food trucks 🙂
What you need:
2 chicken breasts 
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 ripe avocado 
1/2 cup shredded cheese 
1 cup black beans rinsed 
1 vine ripened tomato 
2 cups steak fries (or russet potatoes sliced thick)
Garlic powder
Pepper
Salt 
Jalepenos optional
Sour cream optional 
How to make it: 
Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare grill. 
I pound my chicken until it is about 1/2 thick then leave on the cutting board until I am ready to grill. 
Rinse beans and heat up on the stove. Set to the side. Chop tomato and shred cheese of your choice. (I used extra sharp cheddar) 
I had a bag of steak fries hiding in my freezer, but you can definitely make your own.  I spread mine out on a baking tray and liberally coated with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until crispy. 
Season the chicken with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Grill for 3 minutes on each side then use a pastry brush to lather either side of the chicken with the gunshot sauce. Cover and cook until internal temperature is 165. 
For the avocado, you can eat as is or drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill for 3-5 minutes. I love grilling my avocado! 
The assembly- 
Start with fries then layer chicken, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, sour cream and jalepenos. I drizzled a little more gunshot sauce on top too!

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Ricotta Meatballs





Meatballs are a classic dish in Italian homes. My mom always made the best homemade meatballs when I was growing up. The whole house would smell like garlic and sausage. 
Ricotta and I have a love hate relationship. I hate the texture, but when it is mixed into meats and sauces I love the moisture it adds. These meatballs are sure to satisfy any Italian craving.
What you need:
1 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground sirloin 
1 egg
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp garlic chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 can crushed tomatoes 
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
Olive oil 
A sauté pan with lid.
Directions:
Heat pan over medium heat. Add in oil. Enough to just cover the bottom of the pan. Mix all ingredients and shape into equal size balls. You can use a cookie scoop here. Drop all the meatballs carefully in the oil and cook until brown on all sides. About 5 minutes each side. Lower heat to medium low and add tomatoes to the pan. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with pasta or alone and enjoy!

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Redneck Nachos

 

Sometimes you just really need a cheat day. I tracked my diet and excersize using the fitness pal app this week. It was a really easy way to count my calories and monitor my fat/protein/carb intake. To reward my hard work throughout the week I decided to do a cheat meal tonight. I did make a few changes to the original recipe to slightly lighten it up, but my no means is this a healthy dinner.

If you need to satify that need for fat steak fries, hot gooey cheeses, tangy pulled pork and spicy jalepeno overload then look no further!

 

Redneck Nachos
( inspired by Atlanta’s Pig & Chick Restaurants )
What you need :
Steak cut fries (homemade or frozen)
Shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)*
Pulled pork**
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Pickled jalapeños
Sour cream ***
Preheat oven to 400.
Bake or fry your steak fries until they are crispy on the outside, but still tender on the inside. Drain on paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Fill your pan with the fries. I used my cuisinart 5 1/2 quart sautée pan. This is my all time favorite oven safe pan!
Cover the fries with the shredded cheeses, pork, bbq sauce and jalapeños.
Heat in the oven until all the cheese has melted and starts to bubble.
Serve with sour cream, hot sauce and extra BBQ sauce!
* feel free to substitute with 2% cheeses
** I will link my favorite pulled pork recipe. I prefer to use a loin to cut out all the extra fat usually found in pork shoulder
http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2013/06/12/slow-cooker-pulled-pork/
*** fat free sour cream works here!

 

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