Tried & True: Broccoli Cheese Soup

I am slowly becoming a connoisseur of homemade soups; mostly because it’s winter, and there’s nothing better than hot soup on a cold day.

Searching for the “perfect” broccoli cheese soup, I stumbled upon a variety of recipes that varied in ingredients, but were similar in that they all contained broccoli, some kind of cheese, and were creamed.

I tried a few different recipes because I couldn’t quite get it to the consistency I wanted. In the process, I learned some very interesting things:

  1. I don’t like burnt or scorched anything. If we have this in common, ┬ámake sure you stir often, almost constantly, when the cream mixture begins to boil. Maybe even turn the heat down very low, so you can control the heating process.
  2. Make sure you don’t use too much cheese. If you over-indulge, the soup will become too thick and pastey, taking away from its delicious flavor.
  3. Cooking, or steaming, the broccoli in the microwave first ensures that the broccoli is tender, and saves a lot of time, too.

Cindy’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups velveeta cheese, cubed

Melt butter in Dutch oven, saute onion and garlic. Add flour slowly and stir until blended. Add chicken broth slowly, stirring constantly. Add milk and bring to a boil. Add broccoli, lower the heat, and bring to a slow boil. Add cheese and remove from heat, stirring occasionally.  Serves 4.

It’s funny how good things can come from a single idea. All my boyfriend had to say was, “Have you ever used queso in your soup?”

So I guess you know what’s for dinner tomorrow night …

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Tried and True: Apple Crisp

It’s funny how our activities, mindsets, and tastes change with the seasons.

I can only speak from an Iowan’s point of view, but once Labor Day rolls around, we start thinking about falling leaves, cooler days, Halloween, and of course, the foods of fall; apples, pumpkins, and soups.

As an artist, I take a lot of pride in my creations, including the dishes I prepare. And though I have yet to find the perfect sugar cookie, I think I may have found the ultimate Apple Crisp.

I have tried many Apple Crisp recipes, hoping that I would hit on that one that makes everyone clamor for seconds.

I took a Betty Crocker recipe and added my own special touches. However, I believe that the right amount of each ingredient, as well as the time and temp at which it is baked, makes all the difference.

There are some recipes where the amount of ingredients don’t matter; however, I recommend you follow the recipe word for word. I guarantee you will be happy with the results.

Awesome Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

5-6 apples – peeled, cored, and sliced

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup cold butter or margarine

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Toss apples with white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl to coat; let sit in the bowl for 15 minutes so the apples get juicy, then pour into a square baking dish.

Mix brown sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Mix the butter or margarine into the dry mixture until crumbly; top apples with the mixture.

Bake until the apples are tender when a fork is stuck into them, about 40 minutes. Let sit at least 1/2 hour before serving. Best served with ice cream or whipped topping.