Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ahhhh….soup, good in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Especially in fall and winter. However, when you are short on time and hungry for comfort food, this is the recipe for you. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup is a healthier option than the typical broccoli cheese soups that are loaded down with heavy cream and or half and half. Not that I have an aversion to half and half, it’s just a little too good to be considered healthy. Not that this dish isn’t good…well that got this post off to an awkward start. Ahem. In the past I have posted a few soup recipes that are good for those who are sensitive to lactose, and while this soup does contain some milk, you can easily omit the milk entirely and use only coconut milk. As long as you add a little extra cumin and or black pepper to cover up the coconut taste.;) Using a blend of cheeses gives this soup more flavor and color, making it an impressive looking dish to serve to both family and friends.

The Ingredients: 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets, 1/2 to 1 cup matchstick carrots, 2 red potatoes or 1 small yellow onion, 1 cup evaporated milk, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup colby jack cheese, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional), 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs, 3 tbsp. butter.

Mince broccoli florets, dice potatoes or onion. Add 1 tbsp. of the butter and the diced potatoes to a medium to large soup pot over high heat. Saute for ten minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and remaining butter. Saute for another ten minutes. Now add the chicken broth, evaporated milk, coconut milk, and spices. Stir well, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for fifteen to twenty minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the cheeses and breadcrumbs and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Soup+Cheese=comfort food….:)

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Skinny Baked Potato Soup

Doesn’t everyone love those creamy, smooth, delicious soups that they serve in restaurants? You know, those ones that usually contain half and half or heavy cream….While they are delicious, those of us with sensitive stomachs have not been able to enjoy said delicacies. Until now. I decided it was time for me to post a dairy-free soup recipe that lactose tolerants and lactose intolerants alike will love. Coconut milk, whether it be in a can or a carton, is sweeping the nation as a substitute for many milk products. It is absolutely delicious in soup as it is naturally creamy and smooth, creating the perfect consistency and texture. Skinny Baked Potato Soup is the perfect choice for those of us who have longed to experience rich foods but have been held back by our traitorous digestive systems. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef (who else?), Queenbee, Friar Tyst, The Health Inspector, and La Critico.

The Chef: “Queenbee, lover of potatoes, expert on potato soups, what dost thou think of this delicacy?” Queenbee: “It was very good, well-flavored and soothing to the taste buds.” The Chef: “I will consider this high praise from an expert such as yourself.”

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, do elaborate.” Friar Tyst: “I thought it was kinda soupy.” The Chef: “Hmm, anything else?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it kinda tasted like soup.” The Chef: “Thank you for your detailed comments sir.”

The Chef: “Mr. Health Inspector, your assessment of today’s specialty?” The Health Inspector: “I find that the onion flavor greatly added to it.” The Chef: “Well onions often do.” The Health Inspector: “You also seem to be practicing cleaner kitchen methods.” The Chef: “I am!?” 

The Chef: “And last but not least, La Critico, your thoughts?” La Critico: “The soup was really good but it would be better with peanuts.” The Chef: “That’s…..certainly something to consider…” La Critico: “Cinnamon, that’s just the thing.” The Chef: “Let’s not get carried away.” La Critico: “But what you need is cinnamon.” The Chef: “Cinnamon belongs in the world of baking, NOT cooking.” La Critico: “Well I don’t know about that.”

The Ingredients: 8-9 red potatoes, 4 cups vegetable broth, 8 0z.  coconut milk, 1 medium yellow onion, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 2-3 tbsp. sour cream, 1 large vegetable bouillon (optional, if you don’t have vegetable broth, dissolve the bouillon in 4 cups of water), 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. parsley flakes.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Add the potatoes, vegetable broth, and spices to a large soup pot. Bring this to a rolling boil for fifteen to twenty minutes. Puree the soup in three batches in your blender or food processor. Add the pureed soup back the the pot with the coconut milk, sour cream, and cheese. Stir well. Let sit for ten to fifteen minutes over medium heat before serving.

Sigh, simple deliciousness, comforting thoughts, warmth for the soul, all in one picture.



Skinny Broccoli Potato Soup

I love potato soup, any kind, any vegetable combo. Potatoes provide a natural creaminess to soup that is just soooooooo….good…. Broccoli Potato Soup is an old favorite of ours that we don’t make often enough, so I decided to share it with you. Not only is this an all-vegetarian dish, it is absolutely delicious! And so comforting after a long day. If you’re a vegan, just leave out the cheese! Although I don’t know why anyone would ever not eat cheese, you won’t hear me stopping you! By all means, starve yourself of cheese and butter, they’re only the best dairy products out there. But you didn’t hear it from me. Of course, there’s also sour cream, eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, cream-cheese, mascarpone cheese….cheesy cheese….. Sigh. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Health Inspector and Friar Tyst.

The Chef: “Friar Tyst,  your thoughts on the soup?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it was green.” The Chef: “Yes, well, besides that.” Friar Tyst: “I thought it was greeeeennnnnn…..” The Chef: “Sigh.”

The Chef: “Mr. Health Inspector, please tell me that you have a better rating?” The Health Inspector: “It was strangely edible.” The Chef: “That’s certainly an original opinion, anything else?” The Health Inspector: “It was like some kind of good thing….good stuff….” The Chef: “Hmmmm.”

You can’t make this stuff up! Those were their exact answers! Oh well, we love them anyway.:)

The Ingredients: 12 oz. broccoli florets, 7-8 red potatoes, 4 cups vegetable broth (bouillon and water), 2 additional cups of water, 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese, 1 tsp. basil, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. garlic, 1/2 tsp. cumin.

Peel and dice the potatoes into 2 to 3 inch chunks. Add the potato chunks, vegetable broth, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Halve the broccoli florets. Add the spices and chopped broccoli to the pot, cook for an additional ten minutes. Puree half of soup in the bowl of your food processor or blender, adding it back to the pot when you are finished. You will probably have to do it in more than one batch. Add the cheese and allow it to melt over low heat. Serve while warm.

Ahhhh, just looking at this soup comforts me, I hope that your family enjoys it as much as mine did! The green color means that it is healthy, do not be afraid.


Cheddar Vegetable Chowder

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love soups and stews. Especially when they have a potato base. Potatoes add a creaminess and richness to every single soup that you put them in. This soup is comprised of four classic vegetables, potatoes, carrots, celery, and yellow onion. Every vegetarian has or should have these staple veggies in their refrigerator, so why not combine them to create awesomeness? This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Queenbee, and La Critico. First we will hear from Queenbee.

The Chef: “Queenbee, what did you think about this delectable delight?” Queenbee: “It was a nice, soothing blend of vegetables and flavors. Cheddar Vegetable chowder was pleasing to the palate and satisfying overall.” The Chef: “Glad to be of service!” 

Now we will prepare ourselves for the critic’s rating:

The Chef: “La Critico, please elaborate on your opinions of these dish.” La Critico: “That was a real good soup, I liked it.” The Chef: “What? No sarcastic commentary?” La Critico: “I like soups with potatoes in them, adds a real nice texture, not watery like the other one you made.” The Chef: “Let us not speak of that travesty.” 

The Ingredients: 6 red potatoes, 5 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 1/2 yellow onion, 15 oz. red beans, 4 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, 1 tbsp. sour cream, 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic, 1/2 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt.

Dice potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion. Saute potatoes in the bottom of your soup pot with butter and olive oil for ten minutes. Add the remaining veggies and saute for another five minutes. Add the broths and spices, put the lid on the pot and simmer for twenty minutes. Puree the soup in the bowl of your food processor (you’ll probably have to do it in three batches). Return to the pot and add the cheese, red beans, and sour cream. Stir until the cheese melts. Turn off the heat and let it sit until you are ready to serve it.

Ah, just looking at it makes me hungry….



Spicy Chicken Soup with Rice


First of all, this week I learned that my site was not visible to public search engines, so now that that’s fixed, I hope that all of you out there will be able to enjoy this blog! Spicy Chicken Soup with Rice started out non-spicy and became spicy along the way, hence the name change (it was originally called Chicken Rice Soup.) Anyway, this is a great soup for spice lovers and non-spice lovers alike. In other words, if you don’t like spice, leave out or half the amount of pepper. El Gastronomo loves soups that contain rice and poultry. While La Critico likes anything that contains heat, I mean, look at the guy, he adds sriracha to most of his meals! I know that I post a lot of soup recipes here on PrettyAsAFlowerBlog, but I’m not going to apologize for that.;) Soup is one of the best foods ever invented, and we soup lovers are here to celebrate all the possibilities. Because who doesn’t like soup?

Cooking Tip: Using pre-cooked rice and chicken make this meal much quicker and easier.

Cooking Tip: Fresh vegetables really send this dish over the top, but feel free to use what you have!

The Ingredients: 4 cups chicken broth (condensed soup works well) 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 additional cup of water, 1-2 cups shredded cooked chicken, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 5-6 carrots, 1/2 yellow onion, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash,  1 can of Triple Succotash, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. garlic, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. parsley flakes, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2-3 tbsp. olive oil.

Dice carrots, onion, yellow squash, and zucchini. If you are using condensed soup to make chicken broth like I did,  bring four cups of water to a boil, then stir in the desired amount of soup. One to one and a half cups should be plenty. The same goes for vegetable broth, just add boiling water to vegetable bouillons. Meanwhile, saute the diced vegetables with olive oil for ten minutes over high heat. Add the broths and water to a soup pot with the sauteed vegetables. Add the spices and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the rice and chicken and cook for an additional ten to fifteen minutes.

How about a close up?


Skinny Tomato Bisque


Skinny Tomato Bisque, a delicious vegetarian dish, otherwise known as Queenbee’s new favorite soup. I created this soup by accident. Originally it was meant to be a pasta sauce, and while it is good with noodles, nothing can compare to the original. This soup/stew is based entirely off of vegetables, with very few additions. Who knew that something so simple could be so delicious! This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef (of course!) and The Health Inspector.

The Chef: “Mr. Health Inspector, what do you think about this recipe?” The Health Inspector: “I haven’t tasted it yet.” The Chef: “Okay, well you can let me know later then. Is the preparation above board?” The Health Inspector: “We’ll see.”

The Ingredients: 1 28 oz. can Hunt’s crushed basil tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 3-4 large carrots, 1 yellow squash, 2 stalks celery, 1/4 cup diced yellow onion, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 2 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 cup of water, 3 tbsp. olive oil.

Chop the carrots, squash, and celery into equal pieces. Add the carrots and one tbsp. of olive oil to a skillet over high heat, saute for 5-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the squash, celery, onion, and the remaining olive oil. Saute for an additional ten minutes. Puree the tomatoes, sour cream, and spices in the bowl of your food processor. Add the tomato mixture to a soup pot over medium low heat. Add the sauteed vegetables and water to the bowl of your food processor, pulse until the vegetables are finely minced. Add the minced vegetables to the pot and cook for ten minutes or until the soup is hot. Serve while warm.

How about a closer look?


Creamy Gnocchi Soup with Herbs

Anyone who has been to a certain Italian restaurant knows how good their Chicken Gnocchi Soup is. So today I set out to recreate said amazing recipe, and I believe that I have succeeded in creating a healthier, lighter version that is still just as creamy and just as flavorful. Next to Chicken Garden Soup with Dumplings, this is my new favorite soup. Now, let it be said that in my opinion, making your own gnocchi is too complicated and intricate. I am sure that the homemade way tastes fresher than store-bought gnocchi, but I am sticking firmly to my belief in packaged gnocchi. Yes, this is the first time that I have cooked with gnocchi, can you tell? Anyway, enjoy this soup and don’t be afraid to tweak it to suit your taste-buds!

The Ingredients: 4 cups of water, 2 cups of half and half, 3 large carrots, 5 stalks of celery, 1/4 yellow onion, 1/2 cup of cooked, cubed chicken (for flavor), 1/2 cup bread flour, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 3 tbsp. butter, 1/2 of a Knorr extra large vegetable bouillon, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. parsley flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin.

Bring water to a boil in a large soup pot. When it comes to a boil, add the bouillon. Turn off the heat and add all of the spices. Stir gently to combine and leave it on the burner. Finely dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Add the carrots, celery, olive oil, and butter to a saucepan over high heat. Cook for ten minutes. Add the onion, cook until the onion is translucent. Turn off the heat and add the flour, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the half and half. If the mixture seems too thick, add half a cup of water. Add the vegetable mixture to the broth in the soup pot.

This picture does not do the soup justice, however, it does portray the creaminess.:)