Chicken Soup with Broccoli Cheese Croutons

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Chicken Soup with Veggie Patch Broccoli Cheese Croutons

The leaves are falling and the weather is getting colder and colder and colder! That can only mean one thing...fall is here to stay! I actually adore the fall because two of my favorite things occur doing this time: the chance to light up the fireplace, and the opportunity to eat delicious comfort foods!

On the downside it seems that the fall brings on sniffles, chills and runny noses. Luckily though, it seems that one of the remedies for the cold or flu is yummy, comforting chicken soup! The steam of the soup works to open the air passages and thus making it easier to breathe. Plus, it seems the one thing that actually tastes enticing when your nose hurts, your eyes are watery and your bones ache.

The truth is, I actually love chicken soup any time of the year, for any occasion. That is why I have spent a lot of time perfecting my chicken soup recipes and trying to make them even healthier and more nutritious (note the sneaky inclusion of my White Bean Puree). Now that we are in the pre-Thanksgiving madness season, chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food to enjoy! I tend to want to eat lighter and healthier the days leading up to the Thanksgiving feast (and leftovers) so that I can overindulge without guilt or restrictions! And this recipe does the trick! It provides the steamy tastefulness of the soup with the added crunch of delicious and nutritious Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese!

So enjoy in good health or in sniffles!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Veggie Patch Broccoli Cheese Croutons

Makes about 4 servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1/4 cup White Bean Puree (See Make Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup dry egg noodles or macaroni
1 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
1/4 cup evaporated low-fat milk
1 cup total diced celery, carrots and/or parsnips
1 box Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese
Salt to taste

Cook Broccoli Bites with Cheese according to package directions. Set aside. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir constantly for a minute with a wooden spoon. Pour in the broth and mix in the White Bean Puree, dry pasta, and diced vegetables of choice. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are soft. Stir in the cooked chicken and the evaporated milk, mixing for a minute. Cut Broccoli Bites with Cheese in half. Ladle soup into serving bowls, top with Broccoli Bites with Cheese, and serve. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sneaky Chef Make-Ahead Recipe: White Bean Puree

1 (15-ounce) can white beans*(Great Northern, navy, butter, or cannellini)
1 to 2 tablespoons water

*If you prefer to use dried beans, soak overnight and cook as directed

Makes about 1 cup

Rinse and drain the beans and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Add 1 tablespoon of the water, then pulse on high until you have a smooth puree. If necessary, use a little more water, a tiny bit at a time, until the mixture smoothes out and no pieces or full beans are visible.
White Bean Puree will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze 1⁄4-cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers, and store for 3 months.


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