Foodie Fridays - Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. 
I don't like canned soup.
It's full of salt, it's full of preservatives, and who knows what else.  Sometimes it's a necessary evil, like when you're sick or busy, and that's ok.  We don't always have time to cook.  But if you do, soup is one of the easiest things you can cook and for just a few dollars you can feed a crowd. 

Case in point, Broccoli and Cheese soup.  Most of the ingredients are pantry staples and the other ingredients are cheap and easy to find.    I like easy.  I like cheap.  Probably the most expensive thing in the soup is my extra ingredient, cubed ham.  Wanna see how easy it is?  (Also that bread in the background deserves its own post and hopefully soon I can get around to it.)
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
1 medium onion chopped
3 to 4 cloves of garlic chopped
3to 4 heads of broccoli chopped or 16 oz. of frozen broccoli florettes
1 quart of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 eight ounce pack of cubed ham
2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Into a large stockpot or dutchoven put two tablespoons of olive oil and saute your onion until translucent.  Add garlic and cook two to three more minutes. 

Once onion and garlic are sauted add the chicken stock, water, ham, and broccoli.  Bring to a low boil, cover, and simmer until broccoli is tender. 

While broccoli is cooking whisk together the milk and flour until smooth.  When the broccoli is tender add the milk mixture and continue to simmer until the soup has thickened to your desired consistency.  Before serving add the shredded cheese and heat through until the cheese is melted and combined with the soup. 

That's it!  Serve with crusty bread and a salad or as a starter for a holiday meal.  As this is the holiday season feel free to experiment with cubed turkey, chicken, or whatever meat you have available.  If you're looking for a vetarian option use vegetable stock and leave out the meat all together. 

This freezes beautifully and I love to freeze individual portions to pull out whenever I want a quick meal.  I hope you enjoy and as always please let me know if you make it and what you thought!


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