This is a classic "clean out the refrigerator" soup. I had some broccoli that was past its prime so I made a simple cream of broccoli soup. I added two boxes of mac and cheese to flesh it out and make it more appealing for my boys. I will definitely be making this soup again.
Total Time: 1 hour (or longer)
Yield: 6-8 servings
1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (reserve 1 cup for later)
3 cups broccoli florets and stem, chopped (reserve 1 cup of florets for later)
2 Tbsp No Chicken Base or other type of broth
juice of one lemon, divided
Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste
2 boxes packaged mac and cheese (I used Annie's White Cheddar with Shells)
yogurt, if desired
In the ingredients list, I showed shredded cheese and milk, not the yogurt that I used instead. I also added in the lemon after tasting it the first time. Feel free to make your own modifications or substitutions depending on what is in your own refrigerator and pantry.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 5 minutes or so.
Add garlic, then celery, then carrots, stirring and cooking for about a minute each.
Add broccoli, your favorite stock, bouillon or broth, 1/2 lemon juice, 8 cups water and seasonings. Bring pot to just a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the veggies are soft. You can simmer it longer, if you wish, and the flavors will just continue to develop.
Remove soup from heat and blend in sections (or use an immersion blender if you have one). I added the powdered cheese to the last batch I blended to ensure that it would be thoroughly mixed in. Return to stockpot.
Add in carrots. Return to just a boil then add in broccoli and macaroni noodles (shells) and remaining lemon juice. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the noodles and carrots are cooked.
Serve with a swirl of yogurt or maybe some shredded cheese. It is great for lunch the next day too.