Thank you for all the well wishes, everyone — I really appreciate them :). I was planning to head to Cincinnati today to celebrate my friend’s birthday with her. Needless to say, I had to give her a rain check. 🙁 I braved going out to dinner with Mr. Prevention last night — Mexican. I’ll spare you the details (good food ahead!). I am following up with my primary care physician on Monday and will bring her the notes I’ve been taking regarding my symptoms, severity, etc.
I’ll be honest, it took me a LONG time to try a Green Monster (a fruit smoothie with plentiful amounts of fresh spinach thrown in, turning the smoothie a vibrant green color). I’m someone who gives high marks on the looks of food, even though that is far from fair. Some of the best meals churned out in this kitchen have been the ugliest.
When I hear of Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, I think of Panera’s version. Sadly, 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) comes in at 290 calories, 16 grams of fat (9 g. saturated), 1540 mg. sodium, 24 g. carbohydrate, and 7 g. fiber. Not that the soup isn’t delicious, but 9 grams of saturated fat and 1540 mg. sodium? Eek.
This version (for the same portion size) comes in at 191 calories (33% less), 9 g. fat (44% less), 781 mg. sodium (49% less), and 7.9 g. fiber (12% more). And the taste? Delicious!!
Broccoli-Cheddar Soup adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2011 and Pink Parsley
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 pounds broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 1/2-3 cups water
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 oz baby spinach (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, onion, dry mustard, cayenne, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli and onion are fragrant and slightly softened, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and baking soda. Cover dutch oven and cook until the broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring periodically, scraping the bottom.
Add the broth and 1 cup of water, and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Return soup back to the pot, and bring to a light simmer. Thin the soup out with the remaining water, if necessary (I didn’t use this last bit of water). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. Yield: 7 1/2 cups (~6 servings, 1 1/4 cup each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 163 calories; 7.7 g. fat; 15 mg. cholesterol; 668 mg. sodium; 14.5 g. carbohydrate; 5 g. fiber; 11.1 g. protein
Result: A delicious, lightened up broccoli cheese soup! A conversation starter and crowd-pleaser all in one! I think kids would love this, too. Very simple (and cheap!) to make, too! Enjoy!
Question: Has spring moved in to your area?
Have a great weekend!