I don't know if I've posted this recipe before or not, but I don't mind posting it again. It's super quick and easy, and it's pretty foolproof for making a knock off version of Panera's soup (without the use of heavy cream and butter like most of the recipes call for). My friends at lunch today LOVED it and said that it was just like eating at Panera--but better.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrots
2 cans chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 can evaporated milk (I used 2%. You do not want to use non-dairy milk for this recipe--it will be weird--believe me, I tried)
1 package frozen broccoli, microwaved and rough chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar (again, you need to use regular cheese. reduced fat will not melt)
Garlic (powder or minced)
Cook the onions and carrots in olive oil with salt and pepper until soft. Add a little extra olive oil and then mix in flour (about 2TBSP) to make a roux. Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil. Add broccoli, garlic (to taste), and additional salt/pepper to taste. Simmer until it starts to thicken slightly. Stir in can of milk and cheese. Reduce heat (do not allow to boil--it will separate the melted cheddar and will be kind of weird--still edible and taste fine--but the texture will be altered). Stir until cheese is melted. You can also use about ½ cup of velveeta in addition to the shredded cheese for a creamier texture, if you choose (optional). Add additional seasoning as needed. I also add about 2TBSP of Smart Balance at the end. That's a personal choice, but I think it makes it taste better.