Goul Grub: Broccoli-Cheddar Soup with Cheese Quesadillas

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So we all know Halloween is all about the candy. Believe me, I know. I'm currently on the 3rd bag of candy we bought for trick-or-treaters. It'll be a miracle if it makes it until the 31st. Given that, it's important we also sneak in some healthy stuff in between the caramel apples and bite-sized Snickers.

Going healthy doesn't mean boring. I keep the Halloween theme with this super healthy broccoli cheddar soup -- going a little heavier on the broccoli gives it an eerie green color that's perfect for your little zombie or pumpkin. And using cookie cutters to cut out whole-wheat tortillas and low-fat cheese makes for a super fun and festive dunker for the soup.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Cheese Quesadillas
1/4 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 bag (16 oz) frozen broccoli, thawed
2 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (recommend: Swanon's)
1/4 cup flour
half n half
finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
whole wheat tortillas

Heat butter in a large pot. Add the onions and carrot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook another minute until garlic is fragrant. Add the flour all at once and mix the vegetables in. Stir it constantly so the flour doesn't burn. Incorporate that flour until it coats all the vegetables (takes about 2 minutes). Slowly add the stock, stirring or whisking as you go to melt the flour into the liquid. Scrape up any "brown bits" on the bottom and make sure that flour is nice and melted in. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the broccoli. Cook another 10 minutes until broccoli is very tender.

To puree the soup, either place an immersion blender in and puree until nice and creamy or conversely, puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Once pureed, add about a cup of the cheese and stir until melted in. Add the half n half to taste and stir to combine. Adjust with seasoning and serve hot.

To make the quesadillas, use cookie cutters to cut out the different shapes. Remember: you need two of the same shape to make once quesadilla. Spray one side of each piece of tortilla with cooking spray. Top one slice with some more of the shredded cheese, then top with the other corresponding shape creating a "sandwich." You want the sprayed side up. Carefully place the tortillas in a pan set on medium-high heat. Grill until cheese is melted, about 1 minute on each side. Remove with spatula and serve immediately.

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