Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Have you ever had something that you liked so much that you thought about it the next day and the day after that?  I did!  My girlfriend and I went to Panera for lunch and I usually order a sandwich, but that day I ordered soup and a salad.  I had never tried Panera’s soup and ordered the Broccoli Cheese Soup – WOW – It was love at first taste!  I never imagined that broccoli cheese soup would taste so good. I was determined to replicate that soup at home and searched the internet until I found a recipe that sounded perfect … and it didn’t disappoint.  It is every bit as good as Panera’s – try it for yourself and see.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup carrot, julienned
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated nutmeg)
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (mix white and yellow extra sharp cheddar)
salt and pepper

Directions:

Sauté onion in butter. Add the rest of the butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. Puree in a blender. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

Source:  Food.com

California Cheese Torte

Yummy!  I love this cheese Torte!  I’ve been making this for years over the holidays.  It’s pretty, it’s festive, and mostly importantly it’s incredibly good – what more could you want?

Ingredients

    • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese ( can use reduced fat)
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 8 ounces goat cheese
    • 2 teaspoons thyme
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ – 1 Cup pesto sauce to cover
    • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
    • additional red peppers, strips ( garnish)

 Directions

  1. Line a one-quart dish with plastic wrap.
  2. Place the garlic and cheeses in a food processor, and process.
  3. Add oil and thyme, and process again until well combined.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture in the dish.
  5. Then spread the pesto over the cheese.
  6. Spread another 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the pesto.
  7. Next, layer with the chopped red peppers.
  8. Finish with the final layer of cheese.
  9. Cover and chill at least 2 hrs.
  10. When ready to serve, unmold onto serving plate and garnish with additional red pepper strips, and fresh herbs (thyme or basil) if desired.
  11. Serve with crackers or raw veggies.

Pear Gorgonzola Tart

This recipe I found on Food Network really surprised me.  I love fruits and vegetables,but I would have to say that pears are not one of my favorite fruits. I thought I’d give this a try to practice my pastry making skills.  It was love at first bite.  The combination of the tartness of the gorgonzola cheese, the sweetness of the pear and the saltiness of the prosciutto is absolutely divine perfection.  This is one recipe I will be making again and again!  Enjoy!

Pear Gorgonzola Tart

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4 to 6 servings

 Ingredients

    • 1 store bought pie shell (I used a homemade tart shell)
    • 4 ounces cream cheese
    • 2 ounces Gorgonzola
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
    • Pinch salt
    • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 small pears, cored and sliced
    • 2 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips

    Directions

Bake the pie shell in a square or round tart pan according to package instructions. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, Gorgonzola, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Using a hand blender, whip the cheeses together.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pears and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes.

When the tart crust has cooled slightly, gently spread the whipped cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart. Place the pear slices in a decorative pattern over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the thin strips of prosciutto over the pears.

Cut into squares or wedges and serve.