Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

$8.47. This is the cost of half of a salad and a bowl of soup at Panera. I think we can do better than that, folks. I'm not denying that Panera's broccoli cheddar soup is some of the best in the business. I'm there with ya'; however, we can make it for less than half the cost of Panera soup. Did I mention this recipe makes 4 servings? So theoretically, you can make this soup for about $5, and it will feed you, your husband and two children. If you have more than two children, you know what to do. It's simple, really.

Choose your favorite two kids, and they get to eat. Kidding. Double it. That whole "favorite kid" argument is really only good when deciding who can go to college. Tim and I have decided that we will keep a healthy distance from our future children, lessen their likability and saving us thousands and thousands of dollars.

Maybe this is why we don't have children yet.

1/4 cup melted butter
Onion flakes or half of a small onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb. broccoli (I use frozen)
1 cup diced carrots (optional)
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic salt


Heat butter over low heat.

Add onion pieces or your onion flakes. We don't like larger pieces of onion, which is why we opted for the flakes. Allow to simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes.

Add flour and whisk for about one minute over the low heat.

Add milk and stir.

Add chicken broth and stir.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Add broccoli and let simmer for another 15 minutes. I put frozen broccoli in the mix (not thawed) and it worked great.

After broccoli is softened, you can either a) leave the larger chunks of broccoli alone, or b) use a hand mixer and slowly mix for about 30 seconds. This doesn't make a huge difference, but I did find that it broke up the larger pieces nicely.

Add the cheese, salt and pepper and slowly combine. Let it warm up for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.

Serve warm. And with a wrap.

Love and saving the big bucks,

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