Slow Cooker Broccoli Au Gratin

I was invited to guest post on my friend Christina’s blog, It’s A Keeper, for her Slow Cooker Summer Series!

 

Slow Cookin Summer: Easy Recipes for a Slow Cooker on It's a Keeper

 

With all the produce I’ve been getting from my CSA, I decided I should try Broccoli Au Gratin, but I couldn’t find one single recipe for it made in the slow cooker anywhere. Not in cookbooks, Google search, Pinterest, nowhere, and to be completely honest, I had never even made it in the oven like normal. So, I invented it!!

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I would love for you to head over and check out my post, and while you’re there, check out all the other great slow cooker recipes that were shared this summer! You can find my post by clicking here> Slow Cooker Broccoli Au Gratin and I’ll be back twice more this week for the final week of #BaconMonth, I can’t wait for you to see what I made tonight!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

My cat has been sick this past week. The diagnosis has run anywhere from a sinus infection to a possible tumor! She’s 12 and pretty much lives in our basement because she doesn’t like anyone in this house except me. I have nothing to do with that, she’s just anti social. So, this week while she’s been sick, now all of a sudden she has become more social, deciding to live in our laundry room. The laundry room is gated off so the dog can’t get back there and our daughter can’t get in the basement, so it’s baby steps really. I have a point here, bare with me. The vet gave her a shot of a steroid, and then a pill steroid to give her at home. Did you ever try to get a cat to take a pill she doesn’t want to take? Yeah, she growled at me and ran down into the basement. Until the third time, when I decided to try putting the pill in some sharp cheddar cheese. She didn’t take it right away, but sometime throughout the night, the cheese disappeared! The same thing happened last night! So, although I can’t guarantee it will work, if you need to get a cat to take a pill, stuff it in some sharp cheddar cheese and walk away :)

I wanted to make a copycat version of TGIFriday’s Broccoli Cheese Soup. I used to love it back when I went there more often. Now, I can’t remember the last time I was there, but I still remember the soup! I got the flavors right, and the texture of the broccoli, but I think TGIFriday’s version is a little thicker. I tried, though! 

One very important thing I learned while coming up with this recipe is NOT to use packaged pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheeses have an anti-caking agents in them (in the case of cheddar cheese, potato starch, corn starch, and calicum sulfate)  that prevents them from clumping in the package, but also prevents it from melting but instead clumps (irony, huh?). I’ve using pre-shredded cheeses in sauces before, but in this case it did not work out! Don’t do it, give your arm a workout and shred the cheese yourself, or use your food processor.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

 

Another important tip is to put the broccoli in a fine mess strainer while steaming it. This is because the broccoli is chopped so fine that it will fall right through a regular steamer basket. I placed the strainer directly over the steamer basket and covered it with a lid large enough to cover the broccoli, not tightly, but enough to steam the broccoli.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Broccoli Cheese Soup
 
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Creamy, cheesy Broccoli Cheese Soup in a quick and easy recipe!
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 5¼ cups chicken broth, divided
  • 4 cups freshly, finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus extra for garnish
  • 3 cups chopped fine fresh broccoli plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Chop the broccoli into fine pieces and place in a fine mesh strainer over a steamer basket pot with one inch of water at the bottom. Cover, bring to a boil and steam until cooked through and just slightly crispy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large pot with a tight fitting lid combine 5 cups of the chicken broth, parsley flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder. Cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile mix the flour with the ¼ cup chicken broth with a whisk until smooth.
  3. Once the chicken broth comes to a boil, pour in the flour mixture and whisk constantly for 1 minute. SLOWLY add in the shredded cheddar, whisking constantly until all the cheese is melted. Add in the cream, and then the broccoli, heat through. Soup will thicken upon standing.

 

Pumpkin-Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup with Bacon

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When I saw the ingredients for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge, Pumpkin Puree and Broccoli, I almost immediately decided I was going to make a sauce, like a pumpkin broccoli Alfredo to serve over pasta. That is, until I saw this FABULOUS Broccoli Bacon Beer Cheese Soup that my friend Becca from It’s Yummi had made and my husband suggested I use her recipe as a base for this challenge.

So, off I went to the grocery store. Becca suggested using Kerrygold Red Leicester (like an aged cheddar)  and Dubliner cheeses, and I knew my grocery store carries the Kerrygold brand, but once I got there I discovered that while they did have the Dubliner, they only had reduced fat, and did not have the Red Leicester, only reduced fat aged cheddar. I was a bit worried that reduced fat cheeses wouldn’t melt as well as full fat, but I decided to go with it and see what happened.

The cheeses did melt, although not 100%, but I did end up with a rich, creamy soup with just a hint of pumpkin flavor. I personally didn’t care for the taste that the Dubliner cheese gave to the soup. It’s a lot like a swiss and aged Parmesan, and I felt it gave too much of a bite. I’m not saying don’t use it, but I would use less of it next time, to just give a hint of flavor.

Don’t be intimidated by the somewhat long list of ingredients, it’s really easy to put together if you shred your cheeses ahead of time. That’s a hint, shred your cheeses ahead of time!

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Pumpkin-Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup with Bacon (adapted from It’s Yummi- Broccoli Bacon Beer Cheese Soup)

2 cups steamed or frozen broccoli

1  15 ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)

2 cups milk

6 strips reduced sodium bacon, plus extra for garnish if desired

24 ounces beer, room temperature ( I used Budweiser, but any brand will do)

14 ounces Kerrygold or other brand reduced fat aged cheddar ( save a little for garnish)

7 ounces or less reduced fat Dubliner

1 medium onion, diced

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard

3 tablespoons flour

salt, to taste

Directions:

Chop and steam broccoli, if using fresh. While broccoli is steaming, fry the bacon until crisp, drain and set aside until cool enough to crumble.

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir in the chopped onion, celery, garlic powder, dry mustard, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are softened.

Heat the milk in a saucepan or large measuring cup in the microwave, just until warm.

Stir flour into the onion/celery mixture, and cook, stirring for one minute.

SLOWLY wisk in the beer, and then the milk. Be careful that your milk is warm and beer is room temperature, and that you wisk them in slowly, otherwise the cheeses won’t melt properly.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly stir in the cheeses, allowing each batch to melt before adding more. After the cheeses have been added, continue to cook for 8-10, stirring occasionally so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom.

After 8-10 minutes, stir in the pumpkin puree and then the steamed or frozen broccoli and the bacon, and cook for 2 minutes more. Ladle into bowls, garnish with reserved bacon and cheese if desired, and serve.

Want to see what everyone else made? Then click on the button below for more :)

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Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad (Walmart Copycat Recipe)

I’ve mentioned before that I used to work in the deli department of my local Wal-Mart. One of my favorite salad’s that they carry is Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad. It didn’t occur to me to try to make it at home until recently! I’m not sure why, I started making a version of a Mozzarella, Tomato, and Artichoke Salad they used to carry years ago! I guess time passing made me forget about it, I left there 4 years ago when I had my daughter. I finally decided to come up with my own version to serve at her birthday party last Saturday. What I came up with tastes EXACTLY like the store-bought!

Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad

 

4.7 from 7 reviews
Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad (Walmart Copycat Recipe)
 
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Copycat version of Walmart's Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad. Tastes just like the original!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: approx. 8 as a side dish
Ingredients
  • 1 box tri-colored (veggie) rotini pasta
  • 1 medium head broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 1 medium red onion, diced fine
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, with a few drops of olive oil and dashes of salt in the water to keep the pasta from sticking. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Wash the broccoli well and chop into small florets. Chop the onion fine, and mix the broccoli and onions with the pasta. Add the cheddar cheese to the pasta mixture, mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, and apple cider vinegar well. Pour the mixture over the top of the pasta, broccoli and onions, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.