Healthy Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday. I froze myself in the northern states of Wisconsin and Illinois, which has resulted in a less than healthy start to 2013 for me.  The good news about being sick is that it's a great excuse to eat lot's of soup.  Not that you ever really need an excuse to eat soup.  

Last night I was craving cheesy broccoli (from Panera in a bread bowl)...but I wasn't in the mood for the 4000 calories that is in theirs (why did no one tell me that in college??!).  This recipe did just the trick - really delicious and mild, this soup is perfect for someone who doesn't like Gruyere on their grilled cheese or Blue Cheese on their burger ( husband, my father...).   

My husband had 2 giant bowls, I had 3.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook for several minutes. Add in the chicken broth and broccoli, and bring to a low simmer - about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, and nutmeg.  Reduce the heat to low, and whisk the milk mixture into the broth mixture. Cook for 5-10 more minutes to thicken. Remove from heat, then stir in the Velveeta and Parmesan, allowing it to melt.  Transfer about 1/3 of the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree - or use your immersion blender (that's what I did)!  Pour the pureed mixture back into the pot, and stir to combine. Garnish with shredded cheddar, if you want (which you do).

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