Welcome back to Monday at Got My Reservations. Today I’m introducing my new series which I’m calling Table for Two: Recipes for the Empty Nest.
When I was in the hospital and rehab center for my knee replacement, I was given many menu items that I had rarely eaten over the last forty years of constant food constraints. I had French toast, chicken with noodles, and all kinds of desserts. It was the Boston Creme Pie that put me over the edge. I decided that I was done with dieting, as it obviously wasn’t working, and that I was ready to try a new way of eating. When I came home, I started looking at our favorite recipes and I tried to figure out how I could remake the recipes so that they only made enough for two to four servings. The Table for Two series was born.
Since then, I’ve been making dishes with butter, half and half, and oil. I’ve stopped using artificial sweeteners and we choose organic and pasture-raised produce and meats whenever possible. We eat fewer grain-based items, even those made with whole grains. And we’re both happier. I’ve lost a little weight, but that wasn’t the point, really. I’m hoping that weight loss comes with loving to eat a healthy portion of things that I have denied myself or felt guilty about eating over the years. I don’t claim that this will happen to you, but it did happen to me when I stopped “dieting.”
Today’s recipe is the first of the series. It isn’t remotely a diet food; it’s full of lovely cheese and cream as well as vegetables. Yet, accompanied by a low fat protein such as chicken, you have a delicious and satisfying meal. Add a veggie scrambler for breakfast and a big veggie salad for lunch, and you’ve got a reasonably healthy day. I can live with that.
This recipe gets a little zing from the hot peppers and tomatoes.You can also use a prepared cheese dip in place of the cheeses, salsa, and peppers; just leave out the spicy ingredients for a less spicy option.
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
- 1 minced pickled jalapeno pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh salsa (prepared from deli works well)
- 2 cups of half and half
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken stock
Cut the broccoli florets and the tender parts of the stems into small pieces. Cover the broccoli with water, bring the water to boil and boil for about 10 - 15 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Drain and set aside.
Chop the onion into small pieces. Saute the onions over medium heat in the butter until the onions become tender and transparent.
Add the flour gradually to the pan and mix it into the onions and butter. Stir until the flour is blended into the butter and onions.
Add the cheese, salsa, and jalapeno pepper and stir until blended.
Add the half and half and salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil.
Add the broccoli and the chicken stock to the soup.
Optional: using an immersion blender, blend all the liquids and vegetables together to make a creamy soup. If you prefer a chunkier soup, do not blend.
Turn the heat to low and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes. The soup can be transferred to a crock pot at this point and kept warm until meal time. It will need to be stirred prior to serving as there will be some separation if it sits too long.
The recipe makes approximately four 12 oz. servings, just enough for the empty nest and two servings for the freezer.
Original recipe http://www.andersonandgrant.com/2013/06/broccoli-and-cheese-soup.html#.UtvZcPTnac8