Monday, January 14, 2013

broccoli cheddar soup + grilled cheese for a crowd

my girl, josephine is back to rock your faces off with yet another delicious winter soup and grilled cheese. you're like, i don't need to know how to make a grilled 3 year old can make that. can you make 10 grilled cheeses at the same time? no. not the old school way. so jo has a great tip she learned on how to make a million at one time. the last thing you want to be doing is standing over a hot stove anyway while you're hosting people over for lunch.

so let's start with the soup d'jour.
broccoli cheddar. it really is so delicious.
and it's actually pretty healthy for those of you who are into low fat and veggies. which i like the idea of but was skeptical that it could happen.

and you know what else is so good? an immersion blender! it's rocking my world. whoever invented this is the jam...this whole time i've been hand mashing soups or trying to stick boiling hot soup in a blender. it was dumb. like eating soups filled with canned cream of whatevers.

josephine says: The traditional broccoli cheese soup usually has loads of cheese and very little broccoli. And it’s probably made with poor quality cheese or high sodium canned cheese sauce. That yellow/orange mystery stuff?you know what I’m talking about. Your thighs are still upset with you still to this day from eating velveeta.  

jami says: i mean, i do enjoy queso dip now and again. don't tell anyone. except the entire inter web. although i will say, i never buy the stuff. it's like doritos...if it's at a party, i'm going to eat them.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Adapted from the March/April 2011 Cook's Illustrated magazine


2 tablespoons butter
2 lbs. fresh broccoli, chopped into 1-inch pieces
(I measure 8 cups total. If using stalks, simply peeled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces)

  1. -Fresh bunch broccoli usually comes with stalks. Do not throw those stalks out. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel the tough skin off and cut them into pieces or chunks. They make the broccoli flavor of this soup more concentrated.
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
3 minced garlic cloves 1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper(optional)
salt and black pepper to taste
3 cups water, divided(I only need 2 cups total)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chicken stock (homemade is the best!)
2 oz. baby spinach (2 loosely packed cups)
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)*
1.5 oz. parmesan cheese, grated fine (about 1/3 cup)

  1. -do not substitute sharp cheddar cheese with extra sharp cheddar cheese because extra sharp is too dry. Also, if you don’t have Parmesan cheese on hand or you don’t like it for some reason, you can totally omit it. I have done it. It still tasted great!

Heat the butter in a soup pot, and then add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, salt and cayenne, if using. Cook, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. 

(i'm currently dreaming about this 
le crueset number)

Add 1 cup water and the baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 min, stirring once.

Add the broth and the remaining water and increase heat to medium-high. When it simmers, stir in the spinach and cook about 1 minute.Blend the soup in a standard blender in two parts or a hand-held immersion blender with the cheddar and Parmesan. 
Return to the pot and adjust consistency with water if needed. and always taste to see if you need to add more salt!
josephine=cute X 100

Yields about 6 cups of soup

josephine says: When I first encountered this recipe on American’s Test Kitchen on PBS, I was thrilled and skeptical. This particular broccoli cheese soup sounded like it had tons of veggies, but I wondered if it would meet the expectation of that savory taste we all want. So I followed the recipe and made it. I felt like I could finally have broccoli cheese soup without feeling guilty and eat as much as i wanted. Yes, it is that good! It has tons of fresh veggies, but it is so rich and savory without loads of fat and sodium. It is so good for you, so give it a try. 

jami says: it's true. even i liked it and i'm very picky.

and for the grilled cheeses for a crowd, josephine says: this is straight from Cook's Illustrated  i didn't need to change a thing. it really works like they say it will and i am precise with the recipe. they know what they're doing! i did use my homemade bread recipe found here.

jami says: being precise scares me. i want to throw some pepperjack in here just for kicks. no one can stop me!
Makes 8 sandwiches
You’ll need two rimmed baking sheets for this recipe.

  • 2 2/3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 16 slices hearty white sandwich bread
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1. PREHEAT BAKING SHEETS Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions. Place 1 baking sheet on each rack and heat oven to 450 degrees.

  • 2. ASSEMBLE SANDWICHES Combine cheeses in bowl. Brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter. Flip 8 slices over, top with ½ cup cheese mixture, and compact cheese lightly with hand. Cover with remaining bread slices, buttered side up, and press down gently.

  • 3. BAKE SANDWICHES Remove hot baking sheets from oven and place on cooling rack. Arrange sandwiches on 1 sheet. Return to middle rack of oven, and carefully place second sheet over sandwiches, rim side up. Bake sandwiches until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove top baking sheet and transfer sheet with sandwiches to cooling rack. Serve.

then boom! grilled cheeses for lots of friends.

or hungry, wandering children.
(jospehine's sweet child and some of her rear. LOL. sorry.)


  1. I love your blog and also love the addition of these yummy recipes! The presentation of the recipes is just perfect with the pictures and directions - however, to print them, I'm copying and pasting into Word. Wondering if you would consider using a "Printable Recipe" link to just click and print? Keep up the good work, Jami!!

    1. you are so right. i will totally make it a printable thing. in the meantime, i could email this recipe to you? email me. my address is on the sidebar.

  2. Wow. What a clever idea to make the grilled cheese in the oven. When I was reading the beginning of this post I was thinkin "uhh yeah right, what could you teach me about grilled cheese!" I was wrong! I never thought of this great idea. I will certainly remember this!!! Thanks! PS I shared your blog with my mom. She loved your post about Layne's school pics. lol.

  3. mercy!! best lunch of all time. YUM.

  4. omg. grilled cheese is my fave. and this baked cookie sheet business is the smartest. also i am 96% positive that you have added recipes to your blog solely so you get to eat delicious food. unfair.

  5. oh wow...just reading the ingredient list, I believe this recipe will trump my own! can't wait to make it! mine is so bad for you, so I'm excited to give this a try! I bookmarked the tomato soup to make soon as well! love the recipe posts!

  6. totally unrelated, to these amazing recipes, but, answer me this. your photo co. is baker baker, but your sis is married and her last name is baker. so, is audrey your sis in law? or did she keep her maiden name? or?? this keeps me up at night. and i stalk you both on IG so i must know. thank you.

  7. Making these grilled cheese sandwiches tonight with soup!! I am loving the Everyday Prayers! Thanks for sharing about it!

  8. That soup sounds amazing! Can you believe Peru doesn't have cheddar cheese? Rude right? They actually sell american cheese slices labeled as cheddar but it's not it's american "plastic" cheese. pout maybe I will hijack someones kitchen in the us and make this recipe. Also immersion blenders don't exist here. Probably because everyone eats stew here. so sad

  9. i will be making this soup. like right now.

  10. I just used this recipe to make soup for dinner tonight . . . and in the process my blender exploded all over the counter (I added too much soup at once!). It was a huge mess, but I'm excited to try it tonight! :)

  11. Because I don't know anything about anything, I need to ask, how important to the taste is the mustard powder? Slash, what is mustard powder and where can a girl get her hands on some?

    1. Thanks for the question, Katie!

      I'd say mustard powder is one of the key ingredients in this soup. It enhances and complements tanginess and sharpness of the cheddar cheese. It helps building the character of this particular soup, if you will. It is commonly available in the spice section in any grocery store.

  12. Oh my goodness this looks delicious! I am definitely going to have to try this soon! Now I just need to buy an immersion blender!

    You just can't go wrong with grilled cheese!

  13. will def try the broc soup--thanks! want the best-ever grilled cheese recipe? get a good hoagie bun, lay open on a cookie sheet, put sliced sharp cheddar on one side, sliced swiss on the other. toast under broiler 'til hot 'n' bubbly (and a little brown on the edges, if you're like me). top with some dark leafy greens, roma tomatoes, and real mayo and squeeze together. seriously. you haven't had a "grilled" cheese til you've had this one. just have a few napkins on hand. =)

    (and you can make multiples at the same time.)

  14. Hi there. I just wanted to say hi and thank you for this recipe! I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old. Usually my husband and I like our dinner but on the night I made this soup, all 4 of us ate it and LOVED it! THANK YOU! That's pretty much a miracle because we never all want to eat the same thing. My 2 year old always wants mac n cheese. I will probably email you for the printable version too. Oh, and how much garlic? I think I used 1 clove. Thanks again!

  15. where did Joe get her bread AND you left out the garlic amt silly :) :)

    1. sorry! i thought i went back and added it. you can use 3-6 cloves!
      and the bread is her recipe. found here


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