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I’m hard-pressed to think of a better place to eat than Panera Bread. It’s like comfort meets trendy, and my taste buds get all excited. I love to dip their French bread into broccoli cheddar cheese soup.
But alas, going often can take a toll on my pocketbook, so I thought it would be fun to try and figure out a way to eat it for less, right in my cozy kitchen.
Nervous about trying, you say? Think it won’t turn out the same, you say? I feel ya. I was a little worried, too. If you mess it up, it’s no biggie. But, I got your back on this one. Follow the recipe, and you’ll be sitting in your kitchen thinking you were kickin’ it in the midst of the store eating their soup and listening to some classical music. Oh, and you’ll have enough to share with the entire family for just about the same price as one bowl at the restaurant.
The printable recipe, with measurements, is listed at the end of the post.
Step 1: Put some butter in a medium-sized saucepan. (Everything good starts with butter). After the butter melts, add the onions and saute them until they get a little bit of a brown color. Once they are light brown, take them out of the saucepan and set them to the side.
Step 2: Add the remainder of the butter and the flour to the saucepan and mix. This is going to thicken to your soup once you add the liquids.
Step 3: Add the half and half, and then the chicken broth. Let it cook on low for about 20 minutes, so it will start to thicken a little. (Butter and half and half–I could almost live on those two items alone. Good fat–good fat–it IS good for your bod).
Plus, butter and half and half are always going to give flavor and depth to your recipes. So anytime you see a recipe with those two items, snatch that baby up and start cookin’.
Step 4: Add the diced onions, carrots, and broccoli to the saucepan and cook for about 20 more minutes on low. (This chopper will chop and dice your ingredients faster than you can say, “Panera.” I have one like this, and I love mine).
Step 5: Pour about half of the soup from the saucepan into the Cuisinart and pulse it a few times to get the veggies to blend in a little more (especially if you have those kiddos that don’t want the veggies–they will never know–mwahahaha).
TIP: I poured about half of the soup into the Cuisinart at a time. I was afraid if I put too much I would have a monumental spill on my hands.
Step 6: Return the soup to your saucepan and add the shredded cheese and ground nutmeg. Cook the soup on low, while occasionally stirring, until the cheese is melted, and serve! It’s that simple! We have a couple of stores around here that sell French bread, cooked daily. Grab a loaf and add it to the side.
There are so many ways to eat dishes from your favorite restaurants, and save money. Don’t stress over perfection, just follow the recipe, and you will end up with a delicious bowl of Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup.
- 5 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 onion (diced)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup broccoli (finely chopped)
- 1 cup carrots (finely chopped)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Saute onions in the butter in a medium saucepan. Once sautéed, remove the onions and set them to the side.
- Add the remainder of the butter. Add the flour and mix.
- Add the half-and-half, and the chicken broth and mix. Cook for 20 minutes on low.
- Add the onions, broccoli, and carrots back to the soup base and cook for 20 minutes on low.
- Add the soup to the Cuisinart or blender in batches. Once you've pureed all of the soup, add it back to the saucepan.
- Add the cheese and nutmeg and cook on low until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!