Thursday, December 24, 2020

PANERA'S BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP (modified by Wendy Demandante)

                 I steam the broccoli in the microwave. The soup thickens in the refrigerator and 

                 then may seem too thick. It can be thinned with stock if desired, but I find that, 

                 once heated, the consistency is just right.

          Panera’s  Broccoli Cheese  Soup

(modified by Wendy Demandante)

Serves 10



8 tablespoons butter, divided

1 onion, chopped

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 quart half-and-half at room temperature

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

2 ½ pounds broccoli, roughly cut and steamed

1 pound carrots, finely grated

1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

                       Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste



1.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in sauté pan. Sauté onion in melted butter until soft; set aside.

2.  Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in 8-quart pot. Add flour and whisk over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

3.  Slowly add half-and-half, whisking constantly.

4.  Add stock, whisking until combined.

5.  Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.  Add the broccoli, carrots, and reserved onion. Cook over low heat until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

7.  Blend, preferably with immersible blender, leaving some pieces of broccoli intact.

8.  Add cheese and stir over medium-low heat until cheese is melted.

9. Stir in nutmeg as well as salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, July 18, 2020


No one ever said that chile con queso is healthy, but, at least, this recipe doesn't call for processed cheese.

Chile Con  Queso
Serves 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, diced (about ¾ cup)
2 large jalapeño peppers, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated Pepper Jack cheese
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup salsa fresca
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish, optional
Tortilla or corn chips

1.Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add onions and jalapeños and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
3.Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
4. Sift flour into saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
5. Add half-and-half and stir until flour dissolves. Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, a few minutes.
6. Turn heat down to low and gradually add grated cheeses, stirring until cheeses are completely melted.
7. Stir in cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, and salsa fresca. 
8. Add more half-and-half or milk if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning as desired. 
9. Transfer to small Crockpot and, if desired, garnish with cilantro. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Teach your kids or grandkids to make these when they are young. You can make them together, and, eventually, they can make them alone and serve you breakfast in bed. Just try to keep the syrup off the bedsheets!

Wendy’s Pancakes
Serves 2

1  egg
About 1  cup half-and-half
1  teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
         1/4  teaspoon salt
1/3  cup all-purpose flour
1/3  cup whole-wheat flour

1. In 2-cup measuring cup, use small whisk to beat egg.
2. Add enough half-and-half to beaten egg to measure 1 1/8cups. Whisk gently to blend.
3. Whisk in vegetable oil and then baking powder and salt.
4. Whisk in all-purpose flour and then whole-wheat flour.
5. When ready to cook pancakes, heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Brush skillet with vegetable oil or melted butter.
6. Pour batter into hot skillet. Cook pancakes until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top. Turn pancakes over; cook until bottoms are golden brown. Serve immediately.

NOTE: I prefer making pancake batter the day before I cook it and keeping it refrigerating until ready to cook pancakes.

Best served hot from the skillet. However, hot pancakes may be placed on baking sheet and kept in 250°F. oven until all are cooked and ready to serve. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019


I didn't try pimento cheese during my recent Kentucky trip, but I heard several references to it. Here's my version, which includes suggestions for alternatives in the notes.

Southern  Pimento Cheese
Makes about 2 cups

2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
8 ounces Neufchâtel or cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup mayonnaise
1 4-ounce jar diced pimento, drained
1 shallot, finely diced
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

1.Place Cheddar cheese, Neufchâtel cheese, mayonnaise, pimento, shallot, and cayenne pepper into large bowl of mixer.
2.Beat at medium speed—with paddle if possible—until thoroughly combined.
3.Taste and then add salt as desired.

NOTE: Some add seeded and minced jalapeño pepper. Some add black pepper. Some add minced garlic though it may not be traditional. Some use roasted red peppers instead of pimentos. Also, may want to roast, peel, and dice your own pimentos. Heard that some like sour cream in place of the mayonnaise.
May use cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches.

               Holiday idea: Put cheese in crocks and give as gifts along with a box of Trader Joe’s round multigrain crackers.


Saturday, September 29, 2018


Rich, delicious, elegant, and easy to make. Two- or three-ounce servings are sufficient. Can be made in a food processor, but it makes cleaning up difficult.

Chocolate Mousse
Serves 6 to 8

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks

1. Place chocolate chips in blender container.
3. Heat whipping cream to boiling point and then pour into blender container.
4. Blend for 1 minute.
5. Add salt.
6. Add egg yolks, one at a time, blending after each addition. Blend for 30 seconds.
7. Divide mixture among six to eight demitasse glasses and refrigerate until firm.
8. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. A garnish of a mint leaf, chocolate shavings, or whipped cream may be added.

Saturday, March 31, 2018


There is not much nutritionally redeeming in this recipe. However, it's still a good recipe to have in one's repertoire.


8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8.5 ounces (drained weight) canned, but not marinated, artichoke hearts, 
drained and chopped

1. In medium-sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese.

2. Beat in mayonnaise, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

3. Stir in mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and artichoke hearts.

4. Turn into shallow baking dish.

5. Bake about 20 minutes in 350°F. oven until bubbly.

NOTE: Serve hot with bagel or pita chips. Can be baked for 30 to 45 minutes in small Crock-Pot insert and then inserted in warmed Crock-Pot for serving. Some add a drained small can of diced green chiles in Step 3.

Monday, February 19, 2018


I've been searching for a great gratin for a few years, and I finally found it. The original recipe calls for quarter-inch-thick potato slices, but I cut mine with a European cheese slicer, which I also used to peel the potatoes, and the slices were about an eighth of an inch thick. One more thing, be sure to let gratin rest for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven.

Potatoes  Au  Gratin
Serves 9

2 ½ cups whipping cream
¾ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into ¼-inch or thinner slices                                                                             
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

1. Whisk together cream, shallots, rosemary, salt, and pepper in medium bowl.
2. Place half of potatoes in buttered 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish, distributing them evenly.
3. Spread with about ¾ packed cup cheese.
4. Top with second half of potatoes, distributing them evenly.
5. Pour cream mixture over potatoes.
6. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of potatoes.
7. Cover gratin with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F. oven for 1 hour.
8. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer. May be broiled for a few minutes if necessary to get top golden brown.

9. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
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