Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

{it's okay to copy a copy cat recipe}
Disregard any and all thoughts you might have about how unorthodox it might be to eat soup during warm months, because this soup will change your mind about all of those theories. Yeah, it's that good! This is one you will want to add to your menu asap. So, now... go get some broccoli and some cheddar!
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
2 cups half-and-half 

2 cups milk (the original recipe called for 2 cups half-and-half, but I didn't have enough so I improvised and it was just as good)
4 cups chicken broth  
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
Salt and pepper 
3 heads of broccoli, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced 
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese (or as much as you want!)


Melt the butter in a large spaghetti pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Be sure to really gradually add the half-and-half and make sure it's smooth before adding more, this really get the creamy consistency going.
Add the chicken broth and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about another 20 minutes. You can puree the soup if you so choose, however I hear this can be quite difficult to do, so I skipped this step. 
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. 

Top with a little extra cheese (mozzarella is also a good choice, too) and serve it up! Maybe a little bread on the side? I think yes!

Source: Yammie's Noshery

Loaded Potato Slices

{bar food extraordinaire}
Not going to lie, I saw these on Pinterest. And can I just say how delicious they are? I was surprised at how easy they were. Perfect for a week night when all you want is fast, quick comfort food. Just like the food you get at bars, but half the price and half the calories, and all in the comfort of your own kitchen.
3 Russet Potatoes, washed and sliced
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
4-5 slices of bacon, cubed and cooked through (can substitute bacon bits)
3-4 green onions, sliced
Olive Oil
Sour cream
Barbecue sauce, optional
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F, spray cookie sheet with Pam or spray butter which ever you prefer. Lay potato slices on cookie sheet as close together as possible so you can fit more on the sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through baking.

Once potatoes are soft and sizzling, sprinkle with cheese, then bacon and green onions. Potatoes should be hot enough to melt the cheese, but just to speed things up you can place them back in the oven for a minute or two.

Mix a little BBQ sauce with sour cream for dipping if you so choose, and there ya go! Enjoy!

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