{Foodee} Soup's On! Broccoli Chedda is Always Betta

Panera. Lord have mercy! Just saying those three syllables gets me all googly-eyed. {Like on your birthday...when you first see that giant piece of perfectly frosted chocolate cake strutting right your way with fresh Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and rainbow sprinkles kind of googly-eyed...ya feel me?} The anticipation! The butterflies! The madness! Down right enchanting.

When I first stepped foot into that pretty palace many half-moon {cookies!} ago, I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed. Where's the menu? Is this the end of the line? Why is that muffin the size of a yacht? I need it. Do we seat ourselves? I want a panini. No! I want a brownie. I want 7 brownies. Where do I put this tray? Did I just throw out my silverware? What the frizz does Frontega mean? {Did I just swear in public?}

After many a minute in line with fellow puzzled patrons, a Bacon Turkey Bravo and a bountiful bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Soup were staring me square in the mug. {Yeah, sure..."Pick 2"... on my first visit? The pressure!} First bites down. I reacted like a bear with a picnic basket. I was a monster. A certified lunatic. I could hear myself grumbling {with eyes slammed shut} nom, nom, nom out loud and I didn't care. Child, please. I downed every last glorious bit of that meal and I have happily forked over $9.49 {give or take} to that powerhouse every return trip since!

So, when I'm looking to save a little moolah, but still pay tribute to my precious Panera, I copy cat their top soup recipe right up and  enjoy a check "meowt" moment right at home. Try it, loves!

Here's my version of Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup:

Psst...you need this in your life.

1 stick 'o butta
1 large diced onion {I'm talkin', HUGE}
1/4 cup flour
2c half and half
2c culinary chicken stock
1 large crown of fresh broccoli
2c shredded carrots
8 oz. shredded chedda
Salt + pepp to taste
{optional: add 1/4t nutmeg}

{Step 1}

Melt half a stick of butter in a pan and fry up your onion just until the edges get a little brown. Set it aside.

{Step 2}

Melt the other half of the butter stick on low heat. Whisk in your flour SLOWLY to make a rue. Slowly add in your half and half and your chicken stock...alternately...1 c at a time. {Whisk well after each cup you add.} When all mixed in, simmer that sweetie on medium for 20 minutes. Stir frequently or your flour will clump at the bottom of your pan and your half and half might curdle {gross!}.

{Step 3}

While the broth is simmering, shred those carrots {Tip: We buy the pre-shredded kind...julienned...in a bag to save time and just give them a few quick cuts to make them smaller.} and cut up your fresh broccoli.

{Step 4}

When 20 minutes is up and your broth is cooked down a bit, add in the carrots and broccoli. Don't forget about those Step 1 onions you nicely caramelized!! Toss 'em in. Simmer everything for another 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Add salt + pepp to taste while everything is cooking. {and that optional nutmeg if you like things fancy schmancy}

{Step 5}

Add that chedda, baby! Stir it in, pronto! Don't look away because it will start to clump. Start with 8 oz. If it's not cheesy enough for you, add another cup each time until it reaches it's cheesy potential. Serve it with a panini to be extra copy catty.

Tear into that combo like Yogi Bear, honey.

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