Tag Archives: Broccoli

The Return of The Klutz and a Tasty Veggie Soup

8 Oct
Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

We’re back from our 20th wedding anniversary trip to our RV property on the Siletz River on the Central Coast of Oregon. Not too newsworthy unless I mention the fact that I pretty much shattered my left middle finger on the second day there in a boat launch accident.  I had surgery on the finger the day after we got back, and am now entrapped in a traction device. I don’t have the sling anymore at least, that was just to hold up my arm until the nerve block wore off.  After the recipe so you get to look at a few of “exciting” photos of the trip if you want. 🙂

Finger Traction Device

Finger Traction Device ~ Only the second one made at the clinic, lucky me!

Yet, I’m feeling for ya’! So I’ll share a yummy soup recipe I made just before we left first. It’s the least I can do. I only got a couple of pics since I was also packing for the week.

p.s. I finally purchased a sous vide immersion circulator! I’ve been experimenting it (with the hubby’s help since I’m down to one hand, but so far so good!) Just had an awesome chuck roast beef stew cooked 26 hours at 165F then seared with pan gravy made from juices in bag. I’ll start posting those those types of recipes when I can. Picture-taking is mighty hard at the present. Typing with one hand is not exactly a picnic either…

Potato, Leek, and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs
Adapted from Food and Wine

3 cloves unpeeled garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
1 pound Russet or other potatoes, peeled and chopped small
2 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped small
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cups Half and Half
Wedge of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Salt or Mrs. Dash and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cubed sourdough bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped pancetta
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon dried and crushed rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh)

Wrap garlic cloves in foil and bake at 400F degrees for 35 minutes. Remove and let cool then peel and add to a food processor or blender.

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the leeks, potatoes and broccoli and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks start to soften. Add the chicken stock and 3 1/2 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Working in batches, add soup to the garlic in the food processor or blender, amd puree the soup until very smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the Half and Half and wedge of lemon juice. Season the soup with salt or Mrs. Dash and pepper. Keep warm on low.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread cubes in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. In a skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the tablespoon of oil. Add the pancetta, sage, rosemary and bread crumbs and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the crumbs and pancetta are browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the pancetta crumbs, and enjoy!

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Potato Leek and Broccoli Soup with Pancetta Bread Crumbs

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Here are some pics from our vacation:

An armada of Kayakers on the Siletz River

An armada of kayakers on the Siletz River

Neighbor and hubby showing off the Dungeness crab

Neighbor and hubby showing off the Dungeness crab

Me showing off some crabs

Me showing off some crabs

Our Dungeness crab haul for the day

Our Dungeness crab haul for the day

 

Our Anniversary Dinner

Our Anniversary Dinner ~ Tee Hee!

New deck

Hubby built a new deck out of our old dock that washed away in flooding last year

 

 

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab

21 Dec
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab

So what is better than a plain broccoli cheese soup? Well one with Dungeness crab in it, of course! I was going to make this soup as I had in the past here, with chicken, but when we found out our crab-disliking-daughter was having a sleepover elsewhere my husband suggested adding crab instead. I was actually a bit hesitant to do so, but in the end went along with the idea. (I did make him shell the meat from the crab, though, as it can be a tedious process.)

Cooked Crab Ready to Shell

Cooked Crab Ready to Shell

He reheated and shelled one and a half crabs plus some random legs from our bounty in the freezer, which was way more than needed for our soup. I plan on making crab omelets with the rest of it for brunch.

Shelled Dungeness Crab

Shelled Dungeness Crab ~ This is only HALF the crab meat that was shelled!

As a side note, each day the remodel on our house sees a little more progress, but also setbacks. Our washer and dryer got hooked up yesterday and my first load of clothes is now sitting in the washer with detergent. Permanently, apparently. The dang thing won’t start! Granted it is a Maytag from the mid-70s I got while in college, but it has always been so reliable!

The plumbing under our sink also decided to start leaking, but a huge mess was diverted by a roll of paper towels that soaked up most of the water by the time we discovered it. Hubby fixed the sink, and tried to fix the washer but to no avail. Craigslist to the rescue for now…

I also unpacked the box that had my soup-making stock pot yesterday, and set to making a big batch of chicken broth for the soup made from two chicken carcasses I found in the chest freezer. One can never have too much chicken broth — truth. And the house always smells wonderful while it is simmering. That is, until the paint fumes from spray-painting the legs on our dining room table in the garage start seeping through the vents.  Did I mention I LOVE my new kitchen??? Really, I am starting to settle in, even through all the construction. Without further adieu, here is what I did to make the delicious soup from my new batch of stock. (p.s. this is a very quick and easy soup to make!)

Broccoli and Soup Base Simmering

Broccoli and Soup Base Simmering

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1 head broccoli florets, large pieces halved
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Shelled crab meat, for garnish

Heat the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté about 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onions and whisk continuously until there are no lumps left. Slowly stir in the half and half and chicken broth. Bring to a low boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn.

Tossing in the Cheese

A Gratuitous Cheese-Tossing shot ~ For Conor and Richard

Add the broccoli and cook 15 to 20 minutes more until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Add the seasonings and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with as much crab as you like.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab

Download and Print this Recipe

 

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

26 Feb
Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

This is one of those “it’s time to clean out the refrigerator” soups. I had a large hodgepodge of fresh vegetables to use up and a half-bag of cheese tortellini in the freezer. So why not make a soup out of it all?

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

I decided on an Italian-style soup with tomatoes and Italian seasoning. This started out to be a semi-vegetarian soup, but a last-minute errand brought me close to the supermarket so I ran in and bought a link of Italian Turkey Sausage. You can leave out the sausage because the tortellini is filling enough, but I’m always wary of serving my husband a vegetarian supper.

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

There is really not much to the recipe other than some slicing and dicing and a little sauteing. Use any kind of vegetables you want in this soup! Don’t have asparagus but have some zucchini? Use that instead! Don’t have any celery? Then add more carrots! What a flexible way to use up those pesky portions of vegetables that aren’t enough for a meal, huh?

Vegetable Base for Soup

Vegetable Base for Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/4 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jar or can of tomatoes, diced, with liquid
6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
Small head of broccoli, cut into florets
Small bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
9 ounces cheese tortellini, frozen or refrigerated
1/2 horseshoe link of Italian Turkey Sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Dice, chop, mince, slice, and cut up all your veggies (and sausage if you use it). You can perfect your knife skills with this soup!

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the seasonings. Plop in two large spoonfuls of tomato paste into the skillet (about 2 tablespoons) then stir to combine with the vegetables. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

Simmering the Soup

Simmering the Soup

Add the diced tomatoes then add the broccoli and asparagus, stirring to combine. Now pour in the chicken broth. Turn up heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, to meld the flavors.

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the tortellini and sausage, bring back up to a simmer, and continue cooking until tortellini is cooked through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian Sourdough bread. I decided to use the one fresh tomato we had left in a side salad that we also ate with the soup.

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

14 Dec
Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

I am so very proud of my daughter! She cooked us dinner for the very first time last night, and she did a wonderful job of it. She is learning cooking and nutrition skills in her Freshman courses called “Family and Consumer Studies” or some such nonsense. Back in ancient times when I was that age, the class was called Home Economics (Home Ec for short). Nonetheless, the class has taught her that she CAN cook something besides eggs and cookies, both of which she cooks herself on a regular basis.

The original recipe has no chicken in it, but since this was going to be our dinner she wanted to add some. She asked me if I could cook the chicken for her and she would do the rest. How could I complain? I did tell her she could watch me and learn, but alas, that wasn’t part of her plan. So I pan-fried up some chicken, called her down for her part, and started snapping photos. “MOM! I do not want you in the kitchen while I do this. GO! I can do this myself!” You don’t know how hard it was for me to do that. Really. I slunk upstairs to my office space and frittered away the time nervously until I was called to supper.

Sauteing the Chicken

Sauteing the Chicken

After I snapped some shots of the finished soup in the pot and took my requisite bowl of soup photos and started eating it, she shouted “Hot Sauce! You can add hot sauce if you want!” I found the Sriracha sauce in the fridge, and she splattered quite a bit over her soup. I tentatively added a few drops over mine and stirred it in, took one bite, and thought “Wow! What a great addition to the taste!” Splurt, splurt, splurt, on went more. Sadly I did not take any photos of this momentous event, but trust me, Sriracha tastes great with this soup. Without further adieu, here is the recipe:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
Mrs. Dash Table Blend, or salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
1-2 pounds fresh broccoli florets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Sriracha sauce (optional, for serving)

Season the chopped chicken with Mrs. Dash (or salt) and pepper to taste. I used a lot of it. Heat a large skillet to medium high, add the oil, then sauté the chicken for several minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Chopping the Onion

Chopping the Onion

Heat the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onions and whisk continuously until there are no lumps left. Add the half and half and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn.

Add the broccoli and cook 15 to 20 minutes more until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork. Add the salt, pepper, chicken, and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Serve with Sriracha sauce, or any other hot sauce, and thick slices of crusty bread.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Chicken

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Parmesan Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Skillet

11 Aug

T

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

This is a quick and dirty post as I have to get back to work. We did a tag team on this dinner, as it was “my night” to cook last night but I ended up having to work until all hours. So I got the chicken defrosted and marinated, then arm-chair coached my hubby through the rest of it. This was literally a throw-it together dinner, and came out sooo tasty! We made a little too much rice, so I’ve halved the amount in the recipe below.

Parmesan Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Skillet

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced in half lengthwise
Black pepper
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Blend
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-salt
1/2 cup dried rice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 head of broccoli florets, cooked
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Season the chicken with black pepper and Mrs. Dash. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon, and vinegars. Marinate the chicken in it for at least a half hour up to an hour. Cook the rice in the chicken broth according to package directions and steam the broccoli. Meanwhile, add some of the marinade mixture to a medium-hot large skillet and add the chicken. Add a little more oil if needed. Cook the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, then remove and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the 1/4 cup vinegar mixture, then add the broccoli florets. Slice and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and return to the pan. The rice should be done now so stir the rice into the  chicken broccoli mixture. Add a little more chicken broth if it looks too dry. Now stir in the Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately with more Parmesan on top.

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

Parmesan Chicken Broccoli and Rice Skillet

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

7 Aug
Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Meatless Mondays! OK so it’s Wednesday or later by the time you read this, but I’ve decided to get in on the Meatless Monday dinner idea and made this on Monday. This is not only meatless, but it’s a one-pot meal. Sort of, if you don’t count the strainer.

I had a small head of broccoli and a bag of fresh spinach in the fridge, along with some mushrooms, ALL of which needed cooked ASAP because I forgot to bring them on my four-day camping trip last weekend. Well, not so much forgot but knew we were eating out a lot (I thought) so ignored them by default. We actually ended up cooking dinner two out of the three nights due to unforeseen circumstances. This is also a “by the seat of your pants” meal, meaning I really didn’t know what I was going to add to except for the veggies and pasta it until I started cooking it.

My hubby was pleased and my daughter kept eating my leftovers, darn it! Since this was meatless, I decided to use the hearty Rigatoni pasta to give it a bit more ooomph. I also added a large dollop of sour cream at the last minute, since the Greek yogurt didn’t make it as thick as I wanted it. Per usual, I added lemon and crushed red pepper flakes since it had spinach in it. I can’t say it enough, those two ingredients just make spinach sing! Instead of regular butter, I also used my Tarragon Lemon Chive Butter compound, but of course you can use any butter instead. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this for a delightful Meatless Monday Meal.

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

2 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces dried Rigatoni (or other sturdy pasta)
1/2 tablespoon Tarragon Lemon Chive butter, or unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 to 5 cups cups fresh spinach, torn
1 cup reserved pasta water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A couple of pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
7-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish

Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions Ready for Sauce

Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Onions Ready for Sauce

Bring a big pot of water to boil.  If you have a steamer basket that fits inside the pot, put the broccoli in it and place it in or above the boiling water to cook the broccoli for about 5 minutes (steaming might take longer). If you don’t have anything like that, then just add the broccoli to the boiling water for same amount of time. Remove the broccoli from the water without pouring the water down the drain. Set broccoli aside. Now add the pasta to the water, and bring it back up to boil and cook according to package directions.

Once the pasta is done, reserve one cup of the pasta/broccoli water and set the pasta aside. (I just added it to the broccoli basket.) Return the pot to the burner, and add the butter and oil to the pot and reduce heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions start to soften and the mushrooms release their liquid. Now add the garlic, and cook for about a minute more. Next add about half the spinach and a half cup of the reserved pasta water. Add the rest of the spinach, and stir until all is wilted.

At this point, grind a bunch of black pepper over it to taste, the crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice, yogurt, and sour cream.  Now add the broccoli and pasta back into the pot and stir around. Last, add the grated Parmesan cheese, and mix around to incorporate. Add more pasta water as needed to desired consistency. This sauce will be a bit clumpy on the veggies, but it’s all good. Heat for a minute or two more, then serve immediately with more Parmesan. I had some garlic bread I was going to serve with this, but I totally forgot to heat it up. Oh well!

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Broccoli, Spinach, and Mushroom Pasta in a Yogurt Cheese Sauce

Grilled Turkey Sausage, Broccoli, and Cauliflower Foil Packets

8 May
Foil Packets Ready to Close and Grill

Foil Packets Ready to Close and Grill

I just love the start of grilling season! That, and the versatility of grilled foil packets. There are so many variations of meats and vegetables you can add to the packets, and a tried and true simple marinade goes with just about anything. Rather than make “individual” packets, I just divide the food between two large packets then dump everything onto a platter when ready to eat. (Unlike this variation I made last summer the size of a watermelon! Link here for the variation, using red peppers and mushrooms: Grilled Sausage and Vegetables in Foil Packet)

I had my husband put these on the grill, and didn’t realize he had the two middle burners set on low instead of medium, so we didn’t get the yummy crispy-crunchy browned bits all over everything, but the potatoes and vegetables were tender and we were ready to eat, so I let it slide this time. Next time I’ll remind him of the heat setting.  This recipe easily feeds five or six people, and we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Marinating Broccoli Cauliflower Potatoes Onions and Tomatoes

Marinating Broccoli Cauliflower Potatoes Onions and Tomatoes

Grilled Turkey Sausage, Broccoli and Cauliflower Foil Packets

1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
3 medium potatoes, washed and chopped into chunks
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large Roma or Plum tomato
1 large green onion, chopped
1 Smoked Turkey Sausage link (I used Jennie-O), cut into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon butter or substitute, cut into tiny chunks

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Mrs. Dash (or salt), and black pepper until well combined. Add all the veggies and let them marinate while you preheat a grill to medium heat. Prepare two large pieces of aluminum foil — heavy duty if you have it or double up if you don’t — to fit everything in them.

When ready to cook, add the sausage chunks to the bowl of vegetables and lightly toss around to distribute. Evenly spread the food over the center of the foil pieces, leaving enough room to close and seal the packets. Distribute the tiny chunks of butter over the top, then seal the foil packets.  Place the packets on the grill and close the lid and cook for about 40 minutes, or one hour if the hubs decides to mess with the heat settings, turning halfway through. Carefully open packets and dump contents onto a serving platter. Pass it around and help yourselves! You will be surprised how quick plates are emptied.

Grilled Turkey Sausage and Vegetables Ready to Eat

Grilled Turkey Sausage and Vegetables Ready to Eat

Thick and Hearty Broccoli, Potato, and Cheese Soup

3 Apr
Thick and Creamy Broccoli, Potato, and Cheese Soup

Thick and Creamy Broccoli, Potato, and Cheese Soup

This is pea-soup thick, I tell you! Stand up spoon thick. And can be an awesome meatless main if I can get hubby to stop adding bacon to everything. Not that I don’t mind the bacon, don’t get me wrong, but he seems to want to add a meat protein to everything he makes, even when it doesn’t really need it. However, I am SOOOO grateful my husband cooks. Thank You!!! xoxoxo.

We had some coolish days last week before an incredible Easter Weekend warm-up where I worked my hiney-off in the yard pulling weeds that were just starting to poke up. I have a real trouble spot with those in the backyard. I also planted my herb garden! I am so looking forward to having fresh-grown herbs around again. It’s still too early for permanently leaving them outdoors so they come in at night in my handy-dandy deck rail planter pots.  My husband was also busy on his super-secret tomato plant project, which won’t be so super-secret soon once I blab my mouth here and fill you in on it. But that comes later. Today it’s all about the soup. I hope you enjoy!

p.s. I didn’t watch him make this, I only showed up to eat and take pictures, and had to drag the ingredients and method out of him later. So if I’ve missed a step or ingredient here and there… sorry!

Thick and Creamy Broccoli, Potato, and Cheese Soup

4 strips bacon, cooked (totally optional!)
1 to 2 heads of broccoli, depending on size
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 cups homemade or low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about one cup)

So the first indication I got that hubby was cooking was the smell of bacon wafting up through the hallway into my office at about four in the afternoon. Really? Are you going to make me salivate at my desk here while I am slaving a way at work??? All that aside, he told me earlier he was going to make a broccoli, potato, and cheese soup, so when I smelled BACON I was a bit confused. So of course I had to go downstairs and investigate. And sniggle. Oh. do you know what “sniggle” means? I said I was going to do that to the Easter ham the other day and he asked if that’s really a word. Well, in my book it is. It means: If you take teensy-weensy pieces of something that’s supposed to be part of the main meal before it’s served, it tastes better. And that is the Honest-to-God Truth. Amen.

Thick and Hearty Broccoli and Potato Cheese Soup

Thick and Hearty Broccoli and Potato Cheese Soup

On to the prep of this, give or take ingredients and steps.

If you are adding bacon, cook this first. Otherwise, cut all the florets off the broccoli and trim the stalks. Add olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, minced garlic, and HALF the broccoli florets and half the stalks to a large soup pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until the veggies start to soften, then add the chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10 or 15 minutes. In batches, puree all the vegetables in a blender or food processor with some of the liquid until smooth, and return to the pot. Or, if you have a handy-dandy immersion blender, use that instead. I don’t have one. Do I need one? I don’t know but I have no room for it.

Next, add the diced potatoes, the seasonings to taste, and the rest of the broccoli florets. You can save the other half of the broccoli stalks for another use, or compost them. Bring back up to a boil, then turn down to simmer again for about 15 or 20 minutes until the potatoes and florets are tender. I think he added some of the bacon at this point, but can’t be sure. Either way, it’s optional. Last, add the cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and stir to combine and melt. (Hint: The pre-bagged store-bought stuff will clump in a soup like this. Do yourself and the soup a favor and shred your own cheese from a block.) Garnish with cooked bacon pieces (optional) and serve with slices of thick, buttered French bread. Oh my, this was so good. I’m sure it freezes well, but we ate so much that night that we were able to finish it off for lunch the next day.

Roasted Broccoflower

15 Sep
Whole Broccoflower

Whole Broccoflower

No, this is not some alien green-dyed cauliflower. I spotted this at the grocery the other day when I was looking for some fresh veggies for dinner. We like broccoli, we like cauliflower… what the heck! The first thing I did when I got home was google this specimen to make sure I wasn’t being tricked into buying an over-priced fake veggie. I found that this hybrid vegetable was developed in Holland and the name Broccoflower was coined by the company Tanimura & Antle in California in 1989. Broccoflower® is actually a registered trademark!

I consulted my owl friends on the best way to cook this. I had thought about putting it in the pressure cooker as I make a mean Cauliflower in Mushroom Cheese Sauce with that recipe, but the vote was an overwhelmingly “Nooooo!” on that idea. Then came a suggestion of sautéing in oil in a saucepan with garlic. Ahhh… getting somewhere. I finally decided to roast the broccoflower in the oven, as I had roasted cauliflower that way before mixed with some other veggies. The ingredient list is short and the prep is easy. The hardest part was trying to get a good picture of it without any natural sunlight available and some of our overhead lights have burned out so had to use the flash. It took me so many shots to get anything halfway decent that the poor family had to eat it slightly cooled. I would recommend serving this as soon as it comes out of the oven, though. The broccoflower tasted slightly sweet, and the savory crunchy roasted garlic bits made this a winner side dish to go with our chicken!

Roasted Broccoflower

1 head broccoflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Black pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Roasted Broccoflower

Roasted Broccoflower

Preheat oven to 400. Meanwhile, wash and trim the broccoflower and cut the flowerettes into even-sized pieces about 1/2-inch to an inch. In a glass bowl mix the olive oil, garlic and pepper. Add the broccoflower and stir to coat well. Pour the contents of the bowl onto a foil-lined baking sheet, and spread around evenly. Heat in oven for 15 minutes, then flip the pieces over with a spatula. Cook for another 15 minutes or so until everything starts looking brown and crispy. Sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese over top, then cook for about five more minutes. I only had about a tablespoon left of the cheese in the container so you really can’t see it in the photo, but feel free to add as much as you want! And, serve immediately for best results.

Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole

30 May
Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole

How does one write a foodie blog when one stops cooking anything new? Between camping, birthdays, and work, I’ve not had a chance to whip up any new creations lately. So for today’s blog, I give you my snoozer of a picture for this casserole recipe. I seriously need some food photography tips. I mean, how boring is this photo? And you can’t even see what’s under the crust. No spoon, fork, pretty towel, or ANYTHING to look at besides a round crusty topping.

OK, enough of my whining and on with the recipe. I beg you not to make this with canned cream soup. Pretty Please? I know this casserole dirties up quite a few pots and pans, but you can minimize the mess by using a deli-roasted chicken instead of cooking the chicken to make the chicken broth to make the cream soup base, because you’ll already have some stock in the freezer, right?

Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole

1 cup rice, uncooked
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom or chicken soup. Recipe here: http://bit.ly/AnHON3
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
Chicken broth, if needed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Olive oil spray
1 cup cornflakes, crushed, more if needed

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Meanwhile, make a batch of cream soup, or defrost it if you have some stocked in the freezer. Steam the broccoli in the microwave with a little water and the lemon juice, or you may steam it by conventional methods. Once everything is all cooked up and ready, mix the cooked rice, cream soup, broccoli, chicken, and half the cheese in a large bowl. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little chicken broth until the desired consistency. Lightly spray a casserole dish with olive oil spray, then pour the mixture into it. In a baggie or on a plate, combine the crushed cornflakes and the rest of the cheese. Evenly coat the casserole with the topping. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about a half hour. Good comfort food!

P.S. I thought I would add that you can add 1/2 cup of sour cream (low-fat, regular, etc.) to make it creamier. I left it out this time for my hubby’s health.

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