Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I don’t think anyone actually celebrated on the 17th this year, sorry Tuesday, no one really appreciates a holiday falling on you. Our annual parade and accompanying festivities took place last weekend. Robert and I did not partake in any green beer drinking this year as we were busy with wedding festivities for our dear friends Mark and Lindsay. Despite predictions of storms all weekend, their wedding was sunny and absolutely beautiful! Lindsay made a stunning bride and every detail of their ceremony and reception was absolutely perfect, I wish I had taken more pictures!
Sunday was a day of recuperation and chores, nice and necessary all at the same time. I would likely have forgotten St. Patrick’s day was coming up if it hadn’t been for all the corned beef recipes popping up as I planned our meals for the week. I love corned beef, but I typically only make it once a year (now) and when I do I use my slow cooker, so it’s not much of a recipe worth sharing. Luckily, I DO have another recipe worth sharing, and it’s green!
I found this recipe in my last issue of Cooking Light and decided it was the perfect green detox dinner after a weekend of wedding festivities. I have made several different broccoli cheddar or cream of broccoli soups in the past and liked those recipes, but this one intrigued me as it used cooked brown rice blended with chicken broth and milk in place of heavy cream/butter/flour. Strange as it sounds, it worked beautifully and I can’t wait to experiment with it in other recipes.
I was a little concerned it would be bland but thanks to proper seasoning and extra sharp cheddar cheese, it was flavored perfectly! The soup was delicious, healthy (right at 200 calories a bowl) and got the husband seal of approval. Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables and although Robert eats it, I usually get the feeling he could take it or leave it. He raved about this dish, and paid me the ultimate soup compliment, “This is better than Panera!” I have to agree, and although he could care less, I know how much worse the Panera version is for you, which makes it even better.
Hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did, and if you are one of the few people actually celebrating today instead of last weekend, have a happy and safe St. Paddy’s!
Lighter Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Recipe from Cooking Light
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock, divided
1/2 Cup uncooked instant Brown Rice
1 Cup Milk (I used skim)
2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup chopped Onion
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 1/4 lb’s broccoli florets, chopped
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 Cups Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
1. Combine rice and 2 Cups stock in a small pot over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Let cool. Place rice mixture and milk in a blender. Secure lid but remove center piece or spout to allow steam to escape. Place a clean dish towel over the spout to prevent splatter and blend until smooth.
2. Heat a large saute pan over med heat, add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, stirring. Add broccoli and salt and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining 2 cups of stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes until broccoli is tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice/milk mixture and simmer 2-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Place half of soup in blender and blend until smooth. Return blended soup to pan and stir. Add pepper and 1 cup of cheese. Use remaining 1/4 cup of cheese to garnish when serving. Enjoy!