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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Panera Bread Copycat Recipe

 "Panera Bread" is a restaurant chain serving soup, salad and sandwiches.  All are delicious but I particulary love their tomato basil soup in a bread bowl.  Hmmmmm!

Last week I discovered the following recipe on Pinterest and had to try it.  Wonderful!  However, I wasn't thinking at all of blogging so there are no pics.  Sorry.

I went to the website of Karen Petersen who stated that last year she cooked 365 slow cooker recipes in 365 days - and this was one of them.  Her website is Today's Mama Utah.

The recipe is as follows:
Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice 1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (or skim milk if you’re trying to cut some calories)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Stove-Top Version of Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

If you want to make this recipe on the stove-top you can! Here is the adjusted recipe:

3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned) 1 cup finely diced celery
 1 cup finely diced carrots
 1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
 4 cups chicken broth
 1/2 cup flour
 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
 1/4 tsp black pepper
 1/4 cup vegetable oil
 1 cup finely diced onions
 4 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
 1/2 bay leaf
 1/2 cup butter
 2 cups half and half, warmed (if you want you can use whole milk, evaporated milk instead…or even skim if you want to skinny it up)
 1 tsp salt

1. Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot. Add celery, onions and carrots. Saute 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (15 minutes).

2. While soup simmers, prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add back into soup pot.

3. Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend. Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I highly recommend this and look forward to trying more of Karen's recipes.



  1. Nice recipe. Unfortunately, I'm cooking bad :(.
    But my friend recommended me a site funny cooking book
    I always check out this website before making food.
    Sorry for my English. It's my third language.

  2. Thank you for stopping by. Cooking just takes practice. It took me three years to learn how to make gravy. Your English is no problem and I am jealous that you speak three languages. Take care.