We are officially in our second week of school. And once again, I’m reminded of the importance of adding easy-to-make meals to my meal plan. Because the last thing this mom needs after a full day is to make a complicated meal.
This time of year, I’m also about easy-to-make meals that can serve as lunch the next day or later in the week. Cook once, eat twice is a mantra that works well during the school year, particularly for breakfast and lunch. Along with rotate, rotate, rotate. Remember when we talked about that last week?
For breakfast, this looks like cooking a batch of waffles, muffins, or pancakes over the weekend and reserving extras in the freezer or fridge for the upcoming week. I’m also hooked on making hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot on Sunday night. This only takes 5 minutes on high pressure, and then a five minute natural release, followed by a quick release and an ice bath.
Overnight oats are another popular choice in our house. Overnight oats can be made for breakfast and also served in the lunchbox (warm or cold). Oatmeal is one of Piper’s favorite lunchbox mains.
For lunch, this looks like planning in a way that takes advantage of breakfast or dinner leftovers. Waffle sammies (sandwiches) are a popular lunchbox main with my kids. There’s something about serving a sandwich on a waffle that just makes a boring ol’ sandwich super fun for the kids.
Soup is another easy “cook once, eat twice” meal option. Soup usually makes enough for at least one lunch, for at least two people. Score!
Today’s recipe has been a family favorite ever since Helen (from the Live Simply Team) perfected it a few months ago. I know, that means I’ve been secretly making and enjoying this recipe without sharing it with you. I’m sorry! That was unfair.
It takes about 10 minutes to make broccoli cheese soup in the Instant Pot. This is just the cooking time, so don’t forget to factor in extra time for the pot to come to pressure. After the cooking time and a quick release, cream and cheese are added to the Instant Pot to create the classic flavor and texture of a broccoli cheese soup. Minutes later, dinner is ready and tomorrow’s lunch is already taken care of.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 3 TB butter salted or unsalted
- 1/2 medium white onion diced (1 cup once diced)
- 3-4 carrots peeled and diced (1 cup once diced)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 broccoli crowns roughly chopped (1 pound)*
- 1 tsp salt **
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- pinch nutmeg
- 4 cups chicken broth use low sodium broth/stock if store-bought
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded
Thicken the Soup:
- 2 TB organic cornstarch or arrowroot flour starch
- 2 TB cold water
- Turn on the Instant Pot to Saute. Once hot, add the butter.
- Once melted, add the onions and carrots. Cook until the veggies begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and all seasonings, except nutmeg. Press Cancel to turn off the heat.
- Add the broccoli and cover everything with the chicken broth.
- Secure the lid and set to Sealing. Set to Manual, High Pressure for 5 minutes. Shred the cheese during this time.
- Perform a controlled quick release (use a towel or hot pad holder) - if it starts to sputter, close the valve to let it rest before opening again.
- Once pressure is released, remove the lid and stir in the cream. This helps cool it down just a bit so the cheese won’t “break” once added.
- Gradually stir in the cheddar to melt.
- Mix together the cornstarch (or arrowroot) and water, if a thicker soup is desired. Stir the mixture into the soup. It will take the soup a few minutes to thicken.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg and serve.