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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cheesey Vegetable Chowder

I found a variation of this recipe on Pinterest and thought it sounded good.  I made a batch for our brood with several changes to bring the calories down and to adjust it to our tastes.  It was a huge success, especially since my non-soup eater declared it was the best soup I'd ever made and requested it in his thermos for lunch the next day.

Tonight, I decided to make a batch for the Awanas dinner (along with some pinto beans & ham hocks for the non-veggie lovers) along with some biscuits.  It went over pretty well, considering I had an unusual number of people coming back for seconds, thirds and even fourths (I won't mention names).  I also had requests for the recipe and I promised I would post it on the blog.  So, here it is:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup chopped carrot
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth (you can use veggie broth if you'd like to stay away from animal broth)
2 large baking potatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup milk
3 cups chopped broccoli
2 cups shredded sharp or medium cheddar cheese (milder cheeses just don't work for imparting cheese flavor).
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (to taste--I like mine peppery)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 additional minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mix cornstarch with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened.  Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through.  Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.

Note: Makes 10 servings.  If you use non-fat milk, this recipe is right around 185 calories per serving.  It would be even less if you use a low-fat or non-fat cheese.

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