Tag Archives: broccoli

Broccoli-Cheese Soup

I’m really into going to the produce stand lately because the produce at my grocery store isn’t so great. I don’t like how the peppers, apples, and zucchini at the store are twice as big as the produce at the stand. What in the world are they putting in those fruits and veggies anyway? Well, the good part about getting produce at the stand is that it’s inexpensive, quality, and abundant. The problem? It’s abundant. What do I do with so much broccoli? It’s cold out who might as well make soup! This Broccoli-Cheese Soup is a perfect way for me to use up some leftover veggies while still eating healthy.

Broccoli, carrot, and onion are simmered in broth (substitute veggie broth for a vegetarian option) before being blended together and mixed with a little half-and-half and cheese. The result is a creamy, warm, and healthy soup that is cheesy enough to be satisfying but not enough to be unhealthy. I have to admit that at the end of blending this, I decided to throw in a handful of baby spinach just because. I mean, why not? The soup is already green and plenty healthy but because I throw spinach in my smoothies, it doesn’t seem natural for me to not add spinach to whatever is in the blender. You don’t have to add spinach, obvi. This soup is perfectly satisfying just the way it is.

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Combine stock, broccoli, onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

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Pour soup into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).

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Blend until smooth.

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Return soup to pan. Stir in half-and-half and 2 ounces cheese. Top evenly with remaining cheese and parsley.

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Additions:

  • Handful of baby spinach

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter

I mentioned yesterday that I served the Nut-Crusted Chicken with an orange-flavored broccoli but my puny description didn’t do this dish justice. I’m pretty used to roasting broccoli and do it more often than steaming it. But this Charred Broccoli with Orange Browned Butter takes it a step further before taking it another step further.

Broccoli florets are roasted and then put under the broiler for a few minutes until nice and dark before being tossed in a mixture of browned butter, orange zest and orange juice. The roasted broccoli alone is flavorful enough but the browned butter and the addition of orange makes this an even fancier side dish than plain old steamed broccoli. I loved this dish with the chicken from yesterday because they both had hints of orange and paired well together but this broccoli will be a perfect addition to any meal.

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Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring once. Heat broiler to high, leaving pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until lightly charred.

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Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. Stir in rind and juice.

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Combine broccoli and butter mixture in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Cheesy Penne with Broccoli

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m shocked by how little I eat pasta anymore. When I was a vegetarian, it was all I ate. Which may be why I never lost weight. Now, I appreciate a good pasta meal but I don’t crave it (thankfully). I had some milk and cheese in my refrigerator that I didn’t know what to do with and some lingering penne that just never seemed to go away. This is typically how I decide what foods to make – by looking at what’s left in my fridge/pantry. Because even though I love to cook, I don’t love to spend a lot of money at the grocery. This Cheesy Penne with Broccoli was an easy way for me to use up some leftover staples I had hanging around my kitchen without having to spend a dime.

Cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese are all melted into an easy milky cream sauce and poured over cooked penne and boiled broccoli. The result is this hearty dish which will satisfy any pasta craving you have. The cheese sauce, even with it’s three cheeses, it light and thin enough to be a backup singer to this song. And even though I get weak (in a good way) when mustard is added to cheese sauce, the best part (in my opinion) is the broccoli. I mean, broccoli and cheese? Yes please. I have to point out that broccoli being my favorite anything is something that never would have come out of my childhood mouth. My how things have changed. Now, I won’t even consider pasta unless it has a veggie in it.

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Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli to pan; drain. Place pasta and broccoli in a large bowl.

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Combine milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened; remove from heat.

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Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, cream cheese, Dijon, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheddar cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

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Add cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss.

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Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat penne
  • Whole grain Dijon

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I hope your weekend was a little better than mine! The sky was perfectly blue and sunny and all I wanted was to enjoy the beautiful weather by either going to the beach or a baseball game. Instead, I spent my entire weekend indoors at my house because I had car problems and didn’t do much of anything but sit home alone watching several baseball games go into extra innings on Friday, and again on Saturday, and again on Sunday. Luckily, on Sunday morning I was able to get to the grocery store because I was really looking forward to making these Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps all weekend.

An Asian-inspired sauce made up of soy sauce, hoisin, rice vinegar and sherry is added to garlic, ginger, rotisserie chicken and packaged coleslaw and heated briefly before being spooned into lettuce cups and topped with scallions and nuts. I used broccoli slaw instead of regular coleslaw which stayed pretty crunchy even after being heated and the scallions add a fresh mild onion flavor. I also used peanuts instead of cashews because I had peanuts on hand but any nut will work or you can leave it out altogether. Because this dish uses precooked chicken, it comes together really quickly making this an easy weeknight dinner. If you are looking for something light, fast, low-carb and very tasty, this is a dish for you.

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Combine soy sauce, sherry, hoisin, and rice vinegar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic and ginger to pan; sauté 30 seconds.

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Add soy sauce mixture and coleslaw; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add chicken and 1/4 cup onions to pan; cook 1 minute or until coleslaw just begins to wilt.

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Divide chicken mixture evenly among lettuce leaves; sprinkle evenly with remaining scallions and nuts.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Boston lettuce
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Peanuts

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Broccoli with Walnut Romesco Sauce

This week has been brutal for me.  Normally, I would be in Vegas right now for March Madness with my girl friends playing blackjack and betting on NCAA basketball but instead I’m home nursing a stupid cold and having a rough week at work.  After going to Vegas for 10+ years every March, this year we passed on the trip in order to go to our friend’s stepson’s wedding in Mississippi next weekend.  And although we will have a great time down south, it’s killing me not to be in Vegas.  Instead of drinking too much, not eating enough and winning and losing, I’ve been staying away from alcohol and eating healthy.  One tasty dish I’ve made is Broccoli with Walnut Romesco Sauce.

Steamed broccoli is served with a quick puree of garlic, olive oil, roasted red peppers, walnuts, water, and tomato paste.  Smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, and sherry vinegar add additional layers of flavor that pack a punch and keep this sauce interesting.  I only used a fraction of the olive oil called for to keep calories down and was happy that this sauce wasn’t too oily.  In fact, this sauce reminds me of my favorite dip I have ever made (and now my go-to dip), Roasted Red Pepper Dip.  This sauce is versatile too.  Add a dollup to some chicken, on your burger, or mixed in with your favorite tomato sauce for a flavorful pasta dish.  I’m happy to tell you about this sauce because it’s so good but I wish I wasn’t able to because I was too busy gambling right now.  I’m looking forward to Mississippi but it looks like I’ll also need a trip to Atlantic City soon.

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Saute garlic cloves in olive oil over medium heat, 3 minutes.

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Puree with jarred roasted red peppers (drained),  walnuts, water, tomato paste, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and ancho chile powder.

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Serve with steamed broccoli.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Food Network magazine

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Just the word “casserole” reminds me of Sundays at my Grandma’s or weird microwavable leftovers that would be eaten f0r days.  But in Central Illinois where I grew up, casseroles were pretty commonplace with the more mayonnaise the better.  They were pretty much invented as a catch-all of whatever was left in the fridge, with leftover meat and possibly questionable vegetables hidden in mayo, cheese and/or some kind of creamy soup.  Plus, they were cheap and quick.  For a working mom pinching pennies, casseroles were life savers.  This Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole takes me back to being young in Illinois when my mom was still around and eating dinner meant the TV was off.

Onion and mushrooms are cooked until soft, thickened with flour and milk and mixed with broccoli florets and precooked chicken.  A combination of fat-free plain yogurt and mayonnaise (I used low-fat) are added off the heat which really thickens up the casserole while keeping it low in calories.  Finally, a topping of cheddar (again, I used low-fat) and parmesan cheeses are added and the dish is broiled until melted and golden.  You are left with a one-pot dish that doesn’t require any baking.  This is such a quick and easy casserole to make and really could be used with any meat or vegetable – just the way a casserole should be.  So turn the TV off and enjoy an old classic.

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Preheat broiler.  Prepare broccoli in microwave according to package directions.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 12 minutes or until mushrooms brown and liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

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Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly.

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Stir in broccoli and chicken; cook 1 minute.

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Remove pan from heat. Stir in yogurt, mayonnaise, pepper, and salt.

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Top evenly with cheeses; broil 2 minutes.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Low-fat mayonnaise
  • Reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Honey Cashew Chicken

I think I might have found the perfect meal.  For someone who didn’t eat much Asian food as a kid, I have identified Asian flavors as being my favorite thing to make and eat.  When I have nothing else to eat, my go-to is either chicken, rice, pasta or veggies with some kind of soy sauce-rice-vinegar-sriracha sauce.  This Honey Cashew Chicken is exactly right up my alley.  A little bit of protein, a little bit of veggies, a little bit of carbs in a sweet, spicy and salty sauce – Yes!

Bite-sized pieces of chicken are tossed in a light coating of cornstarch and cooked in a hot skillet with canola and sesame oil.  Fresh broccoli, red pepper and edamame are added and stir-fried until perfectly crisp before being mixed with cashews and a perfect concoction of soy sauce, honey and sriracha.  Served with a side of brown rice or quinoa, this will be a meal I will make again and again.

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The ingredients:

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Combine chicken, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl; toss to coat.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola and sesame oils. Add chicken mixture, and sauté for 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Increase heat to high, and add broccoli, edamame, garlic, onion and red pepper.  Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done, stirring frequently.  Stir in cashews.

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Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.   Add vinegar mixture to chicken mixture; toss to coat.

Serve with rice or quinoa.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Onion

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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