Monday, January 27, 2014

Super Bowl Week: GF Beer Cheese Soup

Hello! I feel like I'm meeting up with a long, lost friend. After being out-of-town for two weekends in a row, not only am I exhausted and rundown with yet another cold, I have not had much time to blog. Last week, we cleaned out some of the deep freeze leftovers and had a couple of recipe repeats. Sort of boring to blog about. This week it is all about quick, healthier, and AMAZING Super Bowl recipes. Normally, I don't get very jacked up about the big game. I'm more of a college football kind of gal. This year I'm kind of excited about it. Pete Carroll somewhat mesmerizes me with his coaching talent. Plus, I like the Seahawk colors. Is that the kind of girly response you were looking for ;)?

Now let's talk about gluten-free beers. I have not really delved into this territory. I really like Redbridge, but can no longer find it anywhere in Kansas. The other's I've tried are way too bitter. I even went so far as to search for Redbridge this Monday night at three different liquor stores only to feel like a total disappointed booze-hound as it is a Monday night. No Redbridge anywhere! But, a dear clerk did steer me to Omission Pale Ale. I think I've found a new gluten-free beer friends. I tried a little sip and am in love! All the great flavor of regular pale ale without the gluten-free bitterness. It is perfect for this lovely beer cheese soup!

Not only have I found a beverage I can enjoy this weekend while watching the handsome Pete Carroll, I can also make my favorite beer cheese soup again! In true Drake Diner style, I also used popcorn in place of croutons. The trick to lightening everything up you ask? Lighter cheeses. Here, I've used 2% Velveeta and fat-free shredded cheddar to pack all of the cheesy flavors with fewer calories. If you are looking for a fun and healthier way to feed a crowd, you may want to try this soup!

Gluten-Free Beer Cheese Soup

Nonstick cooking spray
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 oz. gluten-free pale ale (such as Omission)
6 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup corn starch
8 oz. 2% Velveeta cheese
2 cups fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
6 cups popped popcorn for topping (optional)

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the beer (pale ale). Stir to break up any brown bits that are at the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and milk. Whisk in the corn starch until smooth. Cook, stirring frequently, until the soup begins to thicken (about 5-6 minutes). Using an immersion blender, blend until all of the veggies are blended into the soup. Add the cheeses. Stir until the cheese is melted and smooth. Top with popcorn for a fun garnish if you choose before serving.

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