Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

This is a must!  This soup actually has a lot of flavor and you will enjoy it!  Give it a try!  I added potatoes for extra flavor and bulk – it turned out to be a good decision!

 

INGREDIENTS:

*Onion and chicken stock can be irritating to a sensitive bladder. I use the least amount of onion possible and I make sure I’m either using homemade chicken stock or organic high quality chicken stock.  

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion in hot butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Whisk 1/4 cup melted butter and flour together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; cook until flour loses it’s granular texture, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk if necessary to keep the flour from burning, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Gradually pour milk into flour mixture while whisking constantly. Stir chicken stock into milk mixture. Bring to a simmer; cook until flour taste is gone and mixture is thickened, about 20 minutes. Add broccoli, carrots, sauteed onion, and celery, (add optional potatoes here!); simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir Cheddar cheese into vegetable mixture until cheese melts. Season with salt if desired. 

Eggless Cheesecake

 cheesecake

I’ve been making this eggless cheesecake for over a decade.  It’s creamy, delicious, and shockingly eggless.  This is a recipe you really need to make sure you make without distractions.  Put the child(ren) to bed, get the pets out of the room, quiet your phone, don’t check texts, turn off the TV, and focus on the measurements, because they aren’t the normal amounts used in other baking recipes, and this recipe is intermediate to advanced in skill.  One time with my son in the room, I added the entire can of sweetened condensed milk instead of 1/2 cup, it puffed up too high and was ruined.  So please pay attention.  This recipe is worth it.  If you have citrus or I.C. issues like me, definitely play it safe and omit the two lemon ingredients, but it’s sadly so much better with them!  Enjoy!

Baking Knowledge level: Intermediate to advanced.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Graham crackers to make the crust (make it yourself like I do; see directions).
  • Four 8 oz. bars regular or Neufchâtel cream cheese, room temperature (I do a mixture of 2 regular bars and 2 reduced fat bars)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (Approximately half of a standard 14 oz. can, but measure it!)*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 T. lemon juice**
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind**
  • 1 T. pure 100% vanilla extract (you’re not still using that fake stuff, are you? 🙂 )
  • 1 cup sour cream*

*Buy the most simple sweetened condensed milk  and sour cream you can – the less ingredients the better! I only buy Daisy brand sour cream (full fat). 


**Remove the citrus if you have a bladder like m
ine that can’t tolerate it.  

 

Necessary Tools:

  • A SPRINGFORM PAN like this, don’t use anything else
  • A jelly roll pan for underneath the springform pan
  • Aluminum foil

 

DIRECTIONS:

To make your own graham cracker crust:

  1. Make sure your springform pan’s latch is closed.  Read the directions for your pan before beginning.
  2. Using aluminum foil, cover the outside of your springform pan to prevent leaks.  Bring aluminum foil up 1″ around the sides of the pan and make an aluminum foil barricade just in case of a small leak.  Then place your springform pan (with foil around the bottom outside of it) onto a jelly roll pan to ensure if it leaks, even though it shouldn’t, you don’t have a large oven mess to clean up.  Set aside.
  3. Note: If your pan ends up leaking after baking, try to rescue your cheesecake and throw out the pan.  Life is too short for junky & frustrating bakeware.  Treat yourself to a new leakproof pan on Amazon or where ever you prefer to buy it.
  4. Crush or food process enough chocolate or honey graham crackers to make about 1/2″ medium size crumbs on the bottom of your Springform pan.  Melt approximately 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, let cool slightly.  Using your clean fingers, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the cooled melted butter in the bottom of your un-greased 9″ springform pan.
  5.   Pat graham cracker and butter mixture and tamp down until the entire bottom of the springform pan is covered in crumbs and compacted as best you can.
  6. Now set aside and finish your cheesecake filling below.

To make the cheesecake:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or in your stand mixer, beat everything except sour cream until smooth approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Add sour cream and blend well.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan (foil on outside bottom, with graham/butter crust on the bottom of the pan).
  5. Bake for approximately 1 hour on center rack.  Thin knife inserted into outside of cake should come out clean when cake is done.  If it doesn’t, I usually add 10 minutes and re-test.  Middle of cake will still be creamy.
  6. Turn off oven and open oven door.  Let cake sit in oven for another 2-3 hours to cool slowly.  (DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!)
  7. Remove pan from oven after it has cooled.  Loosen sides of pan with knife.  Unlatch your Springform pan to open it up and remove sides.
  8. Place cake, still on thin metal pan base, on a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely at room temperature before placing in fridge.  Lightly cover with plastic wrap if needed (monitor condensation).
  9. Refrigerate a few hours before serving.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

 

I’ve been making this recipe since 2014!

This recipe is from “Smitten Kitchen” – and we found it really healthy YET wonderful.  Sometimes, as we all know, healthy baked goods can be very unappetizing, but these had flavor, sweetness, with a unique apple taste.   I got about a 18-19 muffins yield.  They freeze and defrost well.  I left them on the counter to defrost, or in a pinch, I defrosted them on the defrost setting of my microwave.  I’ve used buttermilk one time, and recently (2017) I used 2% Greek Yogurt, both work well but I prefer the Greek Yogurt (or use any regular yogurt).  🙂   ENJOY!

—You can make these eggless by obviously removing the egg – no substitution needed. The buttermilk or yogurt makes up for it.—

Smitten Kitchen Link!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon** (cinnamon is not I.C. safe for me, so I omit it)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten (*eggless tip, if you need it)
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt**
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

 

*IF YOU NEED TO MAKE THEM EGGLESS, I JUST TOOK OUT THE EGG BECAUSE THERE IS BUTTERMILK OR YOGURT IN THE RECIPE TO MAKE UP FOR IT). 

**We used 2% Fage Greek Yogurt and it turned out wonderful. – December 2017.

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
  2. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  4. If using eggs, add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  5. Mix in the buttermilk/yogurt gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.)
  6. Stir buttermilk/yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.