Cozy Up with Dairy

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup

Crisp fall days naturally remind us of favorite comfort foods. There is nothing better than a steaming bowl of creamy soup to take the chill off of an autumn afternoon. Another added benefit of fall recipes is that they can provide a week's worth of meals; making dinner a breeze on those busy nights.

Dairy gives a nutritious flavorful boost when added to favorite comfort foods. Milk, cheese and yogurt provide a powerful package of nine essential nutrients, including nutrients typically lacking in the diet: calcium, potassium and Vitamin D.

St. Louis District Dairy Council offers these quick delicious meal ideas for no-fuss dinners:

Create a scrumptious casserole. Casseroles are easy one-dish meals that are cold-weather cuisine staple. Try this traditional casserole with a cheesy twist:

Cheeseburger Macaroni Casserole

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (can also try penne or rotini pasta)
1 medium tomato, chopped
18-ounce can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon seasoned salt, optional
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef and onion until beef is browned and onion is soft; drain. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Spoon the macaroni into the prepared pan. Spread the beef mixture and chopped tomato over macaroni. Pour tomato sauce over beef and sprinkle with seasoned salt, if desired, and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese and cover loosely with foil; bake 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of casserole are bubbling.

Nutrition Facts per serving:

Calories: 340

Total Fat: 10 g

Saturated Fat: 4

Calcium: 30% Daily Value

Protein: 36 g

Use dairy to add pizzazz to classic comfort foods. Use Pepper Jack, Havarti or White Cheddar cheese slices in place of American cheese on grilled cheese sandwiches. Stir blue cheese crumbles into mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle grated Asiago or Parmesan on pizza or casseroles. Add ½ cup of shredded cheese, such as sharp Cheddar or nutty flavored Fontina, to your favorite meat loaf recipe.

Marinate meats with yogurt. Plain yogurt mixed with seasonings makes a flavorful marinade. Yogurt is a cultured milk product and its acids help tenderize meat. Try mixing plain yogurt with:

*soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil for an Asian flavor

*cilantro, cumin and chili powder for a Mexican flavor

*curry or tandoori spices for an Indian flavor

Warm up with a hearty bowl of soup. The classic comfort food, soup can make a nourishing main course when made with nutrient-packed ingredients, such as this tasty Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup.

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups fat-free milk
2 cups frozen broccoli, chopped
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook until tender. Add flour; stir until blended. Gradually stir in broth. Heat until slightly thickened. Add milk, broccoli and potatoes. Cook over low heat about 15 minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese and seasonings.

Yield: 12 (1-cup) servings.

Nutrition Facts per serving:

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 9 g

Saturated Fat: 6 g

Calcium: 25% Daily Value

Protein: 10 g

For more dairy information, visit Dairy Council's website at or contact nutrition educator Kelly Maher at (314)-835-9668, or