Low Fat COMFORT Food: Cheesy Broccoli Ham Soup

Ok folks. Eating healthier, does not always mean totally cutting out all your favorites…….

All you may need to do, is simply “tweak” the recipe…. no I didn’t say “twerk”…… ok… don’t know where that came from….. I guess I’m just living in real time here. lol!

And I am more than happy to help you make ANY recipe you have more healthy! Simply Email it to me at Lifetimefitnessteam@gmail.com.

OK. So here is the ORIGINAL recipe that I got from a wonderful friend that brought me this soup while I was pregnant and it spoke to my SOUL! Food can do that, didn’t you know?

Robyn Whitworth Lower Fat, Cheesy Broccoli Ham Soup recipe

My rule of thumb with cooking, is to always make a recipe to the “T” before I make any adjustments so that I understand WHY each ingredient is added, and when so that I can adjust it and still have it turn out. I know how to do this, not only because of my professional Culinary training, but from experience. 🙂

So, I did. EVEN THOUGH I was fully aware that half and half, and canned milk, and grated cheese, and butter and milk and that much salt was PROBABLY going to be adjusted due to salt/fat content…. and it was GOOD. Just like I remembered it, but yes…….. now that we are eating a lot less salt regularly around our house, everyone including my hubby mentioned that it was SALTY and my husband also said it felt “heavy.” My thoughts exactly. SO———–> time to adjust. 🙂

Here is MY low-fat Version:

Lower Fat, Cheesy Broccoli Ham Soup
Robyn Whitworth, Lifetime Fitness

(takes me about 25 minutes to make….. yay)
yield: 10 cups

3 broccoli crowns, florets cut off (about 4 cups broccoli)
Chicken bouillon for 3 cups of liquid
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dehydrated onions, minced OPT.
12-16 oz cubed, cooked ham
2 cups frozen hash browns, cubed (no peppers or onions) **
3 cups milk, divided
2-3 tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar ***

** Potato tip: When soup/casserole recipes call for cubed potatoes, I often buy frozen ones and simply pop them in the microwave for a few mins before adding, and it cuts the cooking time down quite a bit. 🙂
***Cheese tip:Sharp cheddar will offer more flavor, thereby offering you the option to use less, in whatever recipe you are making. 🙂

Step1: Place about 4 cups of water on to boil in a large soup pot. The one I use most often for this recipe is an 8 qt. Once the water is about to boiling, add the broccoli and cover. Cook until broccoli is fork tender, about 7-8 minutes at a boil. During this broccoli cooking time, pour your hash browns into a microwave safe bowl, and cook them for 2-3 minutes until softened, but not mushy.

Step 2: Lower the temp to medium heat, and simply sprinkle your bouillon over the broccoli.  (Removing the extra step to make bouillon. 🙂 ) And stir it around a bit to dissolve. If you choose to add the dehydrated onion, add it during this step.

Step 3: Add your defrosted potato cubes (or hash browns), as well as 2 1/2 cups of the milk (reserve the last 1/2 cup) and ham cubes. Allow the mixture to come back up to med-high heat, or a low boil. This can take a few minutes, around 5 probably.

Step 4: YES! Your soup will be SOUPY! 🙂 Now to thicken in a bit. Make sure your soup is at a low boil. And now, we will make what is called in professional terms, a SLURRY. Pour your reserved 1/2 cup milk into a cup or bowl, and then add your corn starch. I put 2 OR 3 tbsp, because its the THICKNESS of the slurry that matters here, not the amount of corn starch, it may vary. SO—– add 2 tbsp of corn starch, and mix the slurry with a fork. Once the slurry reaches the consistency of heavy cream, it is ready! You may need to add another tbsp of corn starch. Then, while stirring your soup, slowly pour in your slurry. Your soup should thicken up, not a TON— but it will look thicker almost immediately. Keep stirring it.

Step 5: Add your cheese now, and lower the temp slightly, so its still boiling, but lower— but not as low as a simmer. Once the cheese has melted in, grab a spoon and carefully taste test. You may need to add some salt here. I usually add around a 1/4 tsp or so, and a few dashes of pepper.

AND VOILA! YUMMY Cheesy, Warm and hearty Broccoli and Ham soup for the SOUL!
My kids LOVE this soup, and it always gets slurped up to the last drop. When I take it to potlucks and other gatherings I am always asked for the recipe. People are surprised that there is no fatty cream or butter or much added salt to it. 🙂 Yay for us!