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More keeppies by VeresJanan
Comfort Food For Cool Weather by VeresJanan ,  Jan 3, 2013
Comfort Food For Cool Weather
Fall Vegetable Soup

Isn’t this a pretty soup? And not only that, it’s good for you, too. And did I mention tasty? Yes, this soup is a triple threat! I love this soup because it’s good food and I just feel good eating it. I love the hint of allspice, which is perfect for Fall. I love that.

Low Fat Creamy Mushroom Soup
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tsp Better than Bouillon Chicken (or 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 5 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz baby bella, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 tbsp light butter (optional)
Directions: Place cold water and flour in a blender and blend until smooth; pour into a medium pot and set heat to medium. Add celery, mushrooms, chicken bullion and butter and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove celery and a cup of soup in the blender, then return back to the pot.


 
Vegetarian Cheesy Broccoli Soup with Optional Ham

This creamy, cheesy vegetarian soup makes the perfect comfort food for wintertime. Serve this thick, hearty broccoli soup up in toasted bread bowls and even broccoli haters will rejoice; throw in some cubed, cooked ham at the end for die-hard carnivores.Ingredients
  • 6 small (individual serving size) sourdough bread boules
  • 6 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 2 cups diced onion (about one large onion)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 pounds broccoli florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus more for topping
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • If adding the optional ham
  • 1 3/4 cups diced ham for half / 3 1/2 cups diced ham for all
Preparation
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a bread bowl, cut a circle all around the top of the bread. Cut almost all of the way down to the bottom, but not all of the way through. Carefully lift out the section of bread. Brush the inside of the bread bowl and the inside of the piece you lifted out with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges of the bread begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot over low heat, melt the butter.
  4. Increase heat to medium and add the onions. Saute, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir in the flour and continue cooking over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Whisk in the vegetable broth and the milk. Stir in the broccoli and the bay leaf. Cook over medium, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes until the broccoli is tender and the mixture thickens a bit.
  8. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool so that it’s safer to puree.
  9. Remove the bay leaf.
  10. Using an immersion blender, or working in batches with your blender, puree the entire mixture. Return to the pan and return to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  11. Add the cheese, stirring constantly until melted.
  12. Taste and add salt if necessary and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
  13. If adding ham to half the soup, move about 5 cups of the soup to a medium saucepan. Stir in the 1 3/4 cup diced ham and warm over medium low until the ham is heated through, about 5 minutes. If adding ham to all, stir in to the soup and heat for an additional 5 minutes.
  14. Ladle into bread bowls and sprinkle with additional shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with the “top” of the bread bowl for dipping.
Grilled Cheese and Macaroni

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of mac ‘n cheese boxes at the grocery store have a FUN NEW FLAVOR: “Grilled cheese.”

What makes grilled cheese, taste like grilled cheese (besides artificial flavorings)?

I’ve done grilled cheese sandwiches before. Coated the bread in crushed cheese crackers, and slathering a sweet layer of jam in the middle, but that’s fancy pants. The basic flavors of grilled cheese are: toasted, buttered bread and simple gooey cheese.

It’s really simple to replicate this flavor, and I don’t know why I’ve never done it before… to get that brown toasted flavor, we’ll be using browned butter in our sauce, and buttered, crushed pieces of toast for the topping.

Ingredients
  • 8 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 8 oz shredded medium cheddar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp butter, browned
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 C whole milk
  • 5 slices buttered toast, cooled and crushed
  • 1 lb of pasta, shape of your choice
Instructions
  1. Set oven to 375°F
  2. Make your toast and slather on some butter. CRUSH CRUSH CRUSH. Set toast crumbs aside.
  3. Boil pasta according to its box. Set aside.
  4. Brown the butter. With your heat on low, melt the butter in a sauce pan. You need to watch this, so it doesn’t burn. When it looks, well, BROWN, and it smells nutty, you know you’ve hit the sweet spot.
  5. Into the browned butter, whisk the flour. Keeping whisking for about 2 minutes, to give the flour enough time to absorb all of the browned butter, and to cook out the “raw” flour taste.
  6. Are you still whisking? Good. Slowly add the milk and salt, and KEEP WHISKING. Raise your heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is thick, and will coat the back of a spoon.
  7. This part is crucial: If, in the past, your cheese sauce has come out gritty/grainy, this is the step where things went wrong. Ready? When your milk mixture has thickened, turn off the heat and move the pan to a cool burner. Now keep whisking the thickened milk for 2 minutes. If your thickened milk is too hot, it will ruin your cheese, so by mixing it for a couple of minutes first, you’re lowering the temperature.
  8. After whisking your thickened milk for 2 minutes, add your shredded cheese, and vigorously whisk until it’s melted.
  9. Stir in pasta, pour into baking vessel, top with breadcrumbs, and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes.

You’ll be so surprised how much this taste like grilled cheese, and it’s all thanks to the browned butter. I don’t feel that I have to mention this, but just for shits and giggles, this is pasta+milk+cheese, aka: fat+fat+fat. So how about we go easy on the portion size, or we split some with a friend? It’s cool to indulge once in a while, but let’s keep this recipe a once-in-a-while type of food. Deal?


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