Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chicken & Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

It's cold here in upstate South Carolina! I'm talking, wind chills in the single digits cold!  For the South, that's like negative temps for you Northern folks! When it gets cold outside I crave warm soup. And one of my favorite comfort soups is broccoli cheese soup. It's been my favorite for as long as I can remember. If there's the option to order it at a restaurant, I'm likely ordering it! I know it's probably not the healthiest soup, with all the cheese in it and butter and flour, but I've tried to lighten it up and make it as healthy as I can think! I use coconut milk and fat free half & half instead of whole milk, whole wheat flour, lots of broth/stock, and reduced fat cheese instead of full fat. I also add in some rotisserie chicken breast to get a dose of meat and extra protein in it. You're welcome to use your own boiled chicken breasts, but I like the ease of using the rotisserie...I only need part of the breast, it's already cooked for me, it's usually cheaper than buying just a pack of chicken breasts (at least at my local grocery store!), and I can use the rest of the chicken to eat off for other dinners or lunches! There's also a bit of hot sauce to give it a SLIGHT kick (but it's barely noticeable!). I take the easy route and just get the steamer bags of broccoli and microwave them half the recommended time on the bag. Why did I use 2 types of milk and so much broth? Well, the coconut milk can have a strong flavor, so to make sure the soup didn't taste like an Asian soup, I had to balance it out with a little bit of dairy and lots of stock. The result? A cheesy, delicious warm your toes soup (that I have to tell myself to NOT eat 10 bowls of!)

 Side note: My parents gave me one of their old camera's to use for my food photos. ("Old" as in my Mom has a habit of buying nice camera's, getting frustrated with not being able to figure out how to use it, and then buys another one and passes the "old" one on to my Dad to use for work! This one was only bought last year, so it's not "old" by any means! Thanks, Mom for getting frustrated with it! :) ) Hopefully I can figure out how to make the pictures look as good as all these awesome blog photos (mine NOT being included...). I need some practice with my food staging!  Either way, thanks to my awesome parents for your generous gift! (And I hope the lack of photo skills doesn't deter you from eating this soup!)


Chicken & Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup
Serves: Approximately 6-8

3 TBL extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 TBL whole wheat flour
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup fat free half & half
4 cups vegetable broth/stock (I like to use "Better than Bouillon" base)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth/stock (again, I prefer "Better than Bouillon" base)
24 oz frozen broccoli florets steam bags (cooked half of recommended cooking time in microwave)
2 cups rotisserie chicken breast, diced into bite size pieces (I just break it apart by hand)
5-6 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper (more to taste)
2 tsp garlic powder (more to taste)
1 tsp hot sauce (Frank's is good)

Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add in the onion and saute for about 4 minutes, or until soft. Sprinkle the flour onto onions and cook 2-3 minutes, or until no more lumps appear. Add in the coconut milk, half & half, vegetable & chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes. Add in broccoli and cook 10 minutes. Add chicken and cook 10 more minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat and immediately add cheese, stirring until melted. Taste and add more salt, pepper, garlic powder, or hot sauce if needed.  May serve with optional french or sourdough bread or alone. Enjoy!

Bon Appetit,


  1. I love using better than bouillon - so much cheaper than canned or boxed broth! This looks delicious! FYI - my boss paid me $275 for my time - or $25 an hour, if you were wondering what kind of rates you can get for catering. It was fun, but a lot of work!

    1. I love it too, Biz! Got a big thing at Costco that has lasted me awhile! And thanks for that info! I was tossing around figures with my parents and that was about what we came up with to charge for time! I'm sure it was lots of work, but I'm going to start seriously considering doing it on the side! Thanks! :)