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In the midst of holiday preparation craziness, there was this soup.  Broccoli cheddar soup.  A knock-off of the famed and beloved Panera version, this version is a lighter homemade version where you control the ingredients – I love soups like this one!  I’ve made this recipe a handful of times over the past few years and I seem to make it a little differently each time, mostly just varying the milk ratio (i.e. sometimes adding a little cream in place of some of the skim milk), but it turns out fabulous each and every time.  The consistency isn’t as thick as Panera’s version but like I said, it’s on the lighter side, so if you want to thicken it up, just increase the cream-milk ratio.  The most recent time this soup appeared in our kitchen, I was in the middle of packaging up my Christmas treats over the course of a few days and because the recipe left us a fair amount of leftovers, it was so nice to be able to quickly heat up a bit for lunch.  And aside from a regular weeknight meal, in the past I’ve also made a double batch of the soup, kept it warm in the crock pot, and served it in coffee mugs as a warm appetizer during fall and winter parties.  This broccoli cheddar soup is always a big hit here and is definitely one of our favorites!