My son’s daycare was closed yesterday. My husband had stayed home with him the day before, and they regaled me in tales of Chutes and Ladders (won twice, by daddy!), pb&j sandwiches, and lots and lots of hugs and laughter. So obviously, I had to act in kind. We broke eggs for omelettes, fried up some chicken sausage, and toasted some bread and slathered it with butter. For the first morning in a while, it wasn’t rushed. No cold cereal and cold mugs of coffee. He wasn’t bundled up for a chilly car ride, no frustrations over lost mittens and un-cooperative boots. We sat down to a hot breakfast -he with his cup of milk, me with a hot cup of coffee – and chatted. Four-year-old led conversations are often accompanied by silly faces and adorable giggles, and meander through his days, his toys, and of course, food. Around lunchtime, I just couldn’t bring myself to put together a plain old pb&j for this special little guy. Above all things, he loves broccoli. So, out came the pots and pans, and my son found the perfect hiding spot (in the cabinets!) while I put together a quick soup.
Don’t worry – this is a one-pot soup, but you can’t fit a four-year-old in the same cabinet with all of your Farberware! With temperatures in the single digits and the wind chill in the double digits, my go-to is soup. It started with a craving for Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup, but an aversion to bundling up and trudging through the snow to get it. As is my belief, though – food should be delicious and effortless. Only using what I had on hand, I put together a quick, but ultimately satisfying soup. Top it with cheese and you’ll be warm in no time! I used frozen broccoli & matchstick carrots – it was what I had on hand, and I didn’t want to be chopping and chopping and chopping. Four-year-old hunger pangs are no joke! If you have fresh broccoli and whole carrots, they’ll work just fine, as long as the carrots are finely chopped.
30-minute White Cheddar & Broccoli Soup
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk (alternatively, 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of half and half would work, too!)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 cup matchstick carrots, or finely chopped carrots
1 16oz bag frozen broccoli florets
8 oz white cheddar cheese + more for serving, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions & garlic and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and stir, until no longer brown. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and milk/ half and half. Add in the salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, stirring, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add in broccoli and carrots and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the broccoli and carrots have softened. Sprinkle in the cheese, and simmer for another 10. Garnish with extra cheese and serve.