Monday, January 7, 2019

The Weekend Gourmet's Most Popular 2018 Recipe: Smoky Cheesy Broccoli-Cauliflower Rice Soup #bestof2018 #soup #cheesy #bacon

I've got some great new content coming your way later this week -- including the final installment of our 2018 trip to Memphis! First, I want to share The Weekend Gourmet's most popular recipe of 2018. It was a close tally, but the winner is a comforting soup that's perfect for enjoying on chilly Winter evenings. It's ready to eat in about 45 minutes of mostly hands-off cooking time...and it's bursting with tons of great flavors and textures!

My Smoky Cheesy Broccoli-Cauliflower Rice Soup is hearty and comforting -- a true meal in a bowl! It features plenty of healthy veggies...balanced by a generous amount of cheese and *bacon*! I've made this delicious soup at least twice per month since first sharing it here last August. For someone who's always cooking up something new to share in here? That's really saying something! One taste, and I promise you'll understand why it's in heavy dinner rotation here.

 Smoky Cheesy Broccoli-Cauliflower Rice Soup
adapted from Minute Rice 

Ingredients (makes approx. 12 cups of soup):
  • 2 tbs. salted butter
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 10.75-ounce can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 5-ounce can evaporated milk with enough water to make 2 cups total
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups uncooked quick-cook white or brown rice
  • 10-ounce package frozen broccoli-cauliflower mix
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2-cup package shredded Velveeta Mexican blend cheese
  • 3 strips crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
  • For garnish: additional shredded cheese and crumbled cooked bacon
Step 1: Add the butter to a Dutch oven over med-high heat; when the butter is melted and bubbly, add the onion and celery. Sautee until the onion is translucent and the celery is softened, approximately 5 minutes.

Step 2: Add the evaporated milk + water mixture, 2% milk, chicken broth, and mushroom soup to the cooked onion and celery. Stir until the soup is completely dissolved into the liquid ingredients. Add the rice and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer; lower heat to med-low and cover. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Microwave the broccoli-cauliflower mix and garlic powder for 3 minutes. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the cooked broccoli-cauliflower. Stir the soup to combine all ingredients -- and to ensure the cooked rice is evenly incorporated and not sticking to the bottom of the Dutch oven. 

Step 5: Add the shredded Velveeta to the soup and stir.Simmer the soup for 5 minutes so the cheese can melt. Stir once again to completely incorporate the melted cheese into the soup. Finally, add the crumbled bacon and give the soup one last stir to evenly combine all of the ingredients.
Step 6: To serve, ladle the soup into deep serving bowls. Garnish with additional shredded cheese and crumbled bacon. This hearty soup is essentially a complete meal in a bowl -- but warn bread served on the side for dipping is an excellent accompaniment!
This is one delicious soup! If you love broccoli-rice casserole, then you'll go absolutely nuts for this soup. I loved the addition of cauliflower and bacon...but you can definitely use broccoli only if you're not a cauliflower fan. To make this soup waistline-friendlier, use reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup, skim milk, 2% cheese, brown rice, and cooked turkey bacon. To make the soup veg-friendly, simply omit the bacon. 

Bottom line? This soup's a winner no matter what year you make it! I made a pot of this soup just last week during a particular chilly, wet evening...and it was the perfect way to warm our empty stomachs!

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