Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Soup

One of the reasons I appreciate seasons is for the change in food. What we eat in the winter looks so dramatically different from what we eat in the summer. Winter is all about the comfort food, and currently, I’m on a soup kick. It’s frigid outside, and I want warm, delicious, creamy soup for dinner every night. Overkill? Maybe. Nonetheless, there’s something to be said for warming yourself from the inside out.

This soup is anything but low-calorie, but it’s worth it! Broccoli, mushrooms, cream, and chicken–need I say more?

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Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Soup

Serves 4 (big servings!)

You’ll need:

  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (divided)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Melt butter in large stock pot or dutch oven. Add broccoli, onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper, and basil. Saute for 5 minutes.

2. Add chicken broth, half and half, and 1 cup of milk. Bring to a boil.

3. In a measuring cup, mix 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup flour until there are no lumps. While stirring, pour into soup. Mix for 1 minute.

4. Add chicken breasts, and reduce to a simmer. Once chicken breasts are cooked through (10-15 minutes), remove and shred.

5. Add shredded chicken and Parmesan cheese to soup. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Enjoy!

P.S. I’m on blog lovin’ now! Join me?

What’s for dinner? Winter Edition.

A few weeks ago, I shared some basics of meal planning. I’m a firm believer, simply because it saves me time and money, and we (almost always) have something delicious and wholesome on the table for dinner.

20140114_084943All my theories and tips are all fine and well and good, but how do they play out in real life? Both the husband and I work full time. We often don’t get home until 6:30 pm, so don’t have infinite amounts of time to make dinner. Here’s what we’ve been eating recently to work around our time constraints:

Tacos or Fajitas. They’re so easy, and can be prepped ahead of time if you’re on top of your game. Bonus points for making your own taco seasoning or fajita marinade–it’s not hard!

Italian Wedding Soup. Make your meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. If you do, this is a very simple weeknight meal.

Jambalaya. One of our favorites, because it’s so versatile. I often leave out the shrimp to keep the cost factor manageable.

White Chicken Chili. Just had this one last night. So delicious. To make it even easier, dump everything in the crock pot before you leave for work, put it on low for up to 10 hours, and dinner is served right when you walk in the door. If you do it this way, you don’t have to cook your chicken first–just add two raw chicken breasts, and it will be juicy and cooked to perfection by dinner time. Shred and serve.

IMG_5723Meatloaf. Another great one, though it requires you to be home an hour before you eat. In order to cut down on prep time, I make this recipe the night before, and cover with saran wrap in the fridge. Then all I have to do is slide it in the oven.

Chicken Fingers. 30 minutes start to finish, and you’re done. Serve with a veggie side and some ketchup for dipping.

IMG_5915Pea Soup. Maybe not one for the masses, but we like it. Another recipe that’s easily made ahead or quickly made on a weeknight.

Loaded Nachos. This has become something of a Sunday night tradition. And I like it.

IMG_6116Chili. Ever faithful, traditional, meat and beans chili. Comfort food at it’s finest right here.

IMG_4537Barbeque Chicken. Take the desired amount of chicken breasts or thighs. Put in baking dish. Slather with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Salmon. Thaw desired amount of salmon. Sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper. Saute in 1 Tbs. olive oil for 4 minutes (or so) a side. It’s done when it flakes.

Whole Roasted Chicken. Nothing like it. Like the meatloaf, this one is very little hands on time, but does require you to put it in the oven 1.5 hours before dinner.

IMG_2021It takes some planning, but eating well on a weeknight is doable, no matter your schedule!

What have you been eating recently? Have any quick, weeknight meals I should add to my list?

Tomato Soup

It’s almost tomato season! We have baby green tomatoes all over our plants, and I can’t wait until they turn juicy red. In the meantime, try your hand at this tomato soup. It makes a big batch, so it’ll be perfect for hot summer days when you can’t stand the thought of cooking another meal. Just warm it up and serve!

Tomato Soup

Based on Bon Appetit

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • fresh basil–about half a cup of packed leaves
  • 2-28 oz cans of tomatoes–whole, diced, or crushed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 4 cups broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ground black pepper

1. Melt your butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. By large, I mean large–6 quarts or bigger. If all you have is a 5 quart stock pot, simply reduce the amount of water you put in, or you will have a mess on your hands.

2. Once the butter melts, add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, 5 or 6 minutes.

3. Add basil. Stir until it wilts.

4. Add tomato paste. Cook for another 5 or 6 minutes.

5. Add the tomatoes and all their juices, honey, broth, and water. Stir. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 45 minutes or so. The soup will reduce substantially.

6. Remove from heat, and let the soup cool for a few minutes. Puree the soup in batches in your blender, or use an immersion blender to break up the remaining chunks of onion and tomato.

7. Stir in cream, return to medium low heat, and allow it to cook for another 10 minutes. Just enough time to make some grilled cheese!

IMG_0354Enjoy!