Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Broccoli Bounty

Having a baby is definitely changing the way we eat. Now that Rex has expressed his extreme distaste for pureed baby food, we have moved on to finger foods and chopped up table food options for him during dinner time. I have been forced to incorporate ingredients in our meals that we can modify for him to eat as well. With this being the case, things like this and this aren't the best choices anymore.

I wanted to lightly boil a few broccoli florets to give Rex for dinner one night this week since I figured he could easily feed them to himself (something he is insistent on these days) and they are a healthy finger food for sure. And since you can't buy 3 broccoli florets at the supermarket I had to come up with what to do with the rest of the bag. I could have easily just served them with a little lemon and pepper after boiling the whole pound, but this recipe seemed like a much yummier alternative. And it was!

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole
Adapted from Cooking Light August 2006
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 pound)
  • 1/6 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup pita chips or melba toast rounds
Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook broccoli in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender;

drain and place in a bowl of ice water for 3 more minutes.

Drain again.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, salt, and dry mustard in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat; gradually add the milk and chicken broth, stirring with a whisk until blended.

Cook for 3 minutes or until it is thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add shredded cheddar cheese and 6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese,

stirring until melted. Stir in pepper.

Add broccoli,

tossing to coat.

Spoon the broccoli mixture into a 8x8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place pita chips in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Combine chip crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle evenly over broccoli mixture. Spray top of casserole lightly with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kitchen Kaos

I have done A LOT of cooking, I think I am somewhere in the 350 range of recipes just on this blog and that only counts the cooking I have done in the last three years. That isn't even taking into account the time I spent in the kitchen before this blog; nor does it consider all the recipes I have made and haven't blogged or things I have made more than once after blogging them. What I am trying to get at is that I have done a whole ton of cooking in my day and I have been relatively lucky to avoid any serious kitchen mishaps or accidents.

I can only remember two times I had a problem and for one of them I wasn't even cooking, I was just testing out my new knives and I nicked my fingertip. The other time I was making my brother eggs when I was in high school and I sprayed PAM directly into the pan on the open gas flame (that was scary).

I consider myself fortunate to have escaped anything serious up until this point. That is, until these seemingly benign Asian Lettuce Cups. This recipe didn't even include all that much cooking so it was surprising that this is where I slipped up. I still am not sure what exactly happened, but I know I had a close call. After I sauteed the mushrooms, I left the pan on the fire and added more oil. Then I went to the fridge, got the shrink wrapped pork package and poked a whole in it to open the top and drop the pork into the pan. Well I am guessing that a small piece of the plastic fell into the hot oil and we had a tower of fire burning in the pan as high as the kitchen cabinets. Forrest was playing with the Baby in his nursery and I screamed his name as I stepped back and all I could think was, "Do not come to my rescue with our Son in your arms." As I turned around in shock to watch for my help emerge from the hallway, I was petrified to see my husband standing there with our 9 month old in his arms. As I thought through my fire safety skills and what I should do next, I noticed a strange look on my husbands face. He looked surprisingly calm and a little confused. At that point I realized that the fire had burned off and there was no emergency to be had. Thankfully this little kitchen accident had a happy ending and it served the purpose of putting me back on my toes in the kitchen in regards to safety.

Asian Lettuce Cups
Adapted from Cooking Light August 2010
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushroom caps (about 5 ounces)
  • 16 ounces ground pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 4)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 8 Boston lettuce leaves
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms;

sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Place mushrooms in a large bowl. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add pork, garlic, and ginger to pan;

cook 6 minutes or until turkey is browned, stirring to crumble. Add pork mixture, onions, and water chestnuts to mushrooms in bowl;

stir well.

2. Spoon 1/2 cup turkey mixture into each lettuce leaf. Combine hoisin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, and salt in a small bowl,

stirring with a whisk. Serve sauce with lettuce cups.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe