1 (10 oz) pkg frozen cut broccoli
(or) about 4 cups fresh florets
2 Tbsps butter – divided
1 Tbsp dry minced onion flakes
2 (1.32 oz) pkgs white country gravy mix
1 ½ cups cold water
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
½ to 1 cup Half & Half cream
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded Velveeta cheese
¼ lb white American cheese – diced
1 cup canned carrot slices – drained
¼ tsp (each) salt, minced garlic
1/8 tsp (each) nutmeg, black pepper
How Mama Makes If:
If using ‘fresh’ broccoli, wash and cut florets. Place cut broccoli (frozen or fresh) into a microwave safe dish. Add ¼ cup water and 1 Tbsp butter to dish; cover; microwave 6 – 7 minutes. Remove dish from microwave and let it sit ‘covered’ for a few minutes (it will continue to cook tender) – then chop the broccoli until it is in very small pieces – set aside. Place dry gravy mix into mixing bowl; add 1 ½ cups cold water; with whisk, mix until smooth. Add chicken broth to large cook pot. Add dry onion flakes to chicken broth in pot. Set heat to medium. Add prepared gravy mix; cook & stir until mixture thickens. Add Half & Half and all three cheeses to pan; cook & stir until cheeses have melted and sauce is smooth. Drain and chop carrot slices. Add carrot slices and diced broccoli to soup. Stir in garlic and seasonings. Simmer soup about 10 minutes – stirring frequently.
(Note 1): Start with ½ cup cream, then gradually add more to thin soup, if desired. The ½ cup measure of cream works for nice thick soup.
(Note 2): For a really creamy soup, choose 1 cup Velveeta and ‘omit’ shredded Cheddar. Also pre-shredded Velveeta is more expensive. I buy it in 16 or 32 oz bar in a box and make cheese sauce and dip with the rest of it.
(Note 3): Add-Ons: Crumbled cooked bacon, extra shredded Cheddar, and a bit of chopped green onion blades make a lovely topper for this soup.
(Note 4): This recipe can be ‘converted’ to Broccoli ‘Potato’ Cheese Soup by adding 2 cups cooked cubed potatoes to the soup pot. You will need the full 1 cup half & half in recipe if you do this, plus a ‘pinch’ more salt & pepper for taste.