Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Best Broccoli

I got in a cooking funk there for a while and stopped making new stuff. Then yesterday I decided that winter was coming, I wasn't feeling so great, and I needed vegetables! So I made not just good broccoli, but the best broccoli ever. I would eat this broccoli every day for forever.  I also made some carrots that were lame because I didn't chop them fine enough. They didn't cook through and were blah. Also, a baked potato, but anyone with an oven, tin foil, and a fork can make a baked potato.

Anyway, on to the broccoli. I halved the recipe so double for more. I will next time. This is a modified version of the Barefoot Contessa's broccoli recipe.

I used:
1 bunch of broccoli
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice

This was my broccoli. I didn't wash it because I read that washing it makes it not get quite as crispy when roasted.
 I chopped my garlic up.
 Then chopped the tops off the broccoli and tossed the garlic and broccoli with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then I spread it out on a baking sheet.
 I cooked for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. I pulled it out once to toss a little about halfway through.
I put it in a bowl and tossed with another tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, and parmesan cheese.
 Look how crispy and yummy. So yummy. Then I served it with baked potatoes and those lame carrots. The broccoli was the star of the show.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I have been a lifelong tomato hater. Unless they are mashed up and made into some sort of sauce or salsa I was not touching them. Then this week we ordered bruschetta at a cafe for dinner and I loved it. I tried to replicate it at home. I had pretty good results but I think I can do better next time.

Sourdough bread
1 tablespoon Oregano
2 tablespoons Basil
2 tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste
mozzarella  cheese

Step 1: Chop up your tomatoes. I chopped them like shown below. Jon thought they were too chunky so he chopped them up some more. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil and then turn down the heat. You want it to reduce quite a bit. I reduced mine to about half a cup but I was hungry and impatient.
While that is reducing chop your garlic. Or make your husband do it like I did.
Then combine the garlic and olive oil together in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
Toss the tomatoes with the basil, oregano, and oil mixture. Crack some pepper over the top.
I was so hungry that I got into a big hurry and didn't even try to make this look great. I just sliced a couple of bread slices in half. I was suppose to toast it but was just like "I'm hungry!  Forget the toaster!"
Then I topped the bread with the tomatoes.
Then I poured the balsamic vinegar over the top and topped off with slices of mozzarella.
It doesn't look that pretty. It tasted really good. We scarfed it all down. Like I said, so hungry!
Jon says next time we should toast the bread, pour the balsamic vinegar over it, top with tomatoes and mozzarella and pop it in the oven for a few minutes and then top with more balsamic vinegar. Since we have everything we need to make it again I will update after we try that method.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Blog: Zucchini Soup

I've been really lazy this week and ate the lemony orzo salad and chocolate orange muffins all week long. I didn't make a single new thing. Fortunately for me, my friend Emilie, the author of Teaching Ain't For Heroes, made some soup which looks delicious. Emilie is a public school teacher in Kentucky and her blog always has an interesting and insightful perspective on the rewards and challenges of teaching.

I got the recipe from here and decided to tweak it. It's hot outside, so I thought a nice chilled soup would be delicious.


Our ingredients are:
6 Zucchini (I really like Zucchini and I wanted it to be thicker)

1 1/2 tablespoons of Minced Garlic (I don't think I like shallots, but I like garlic!)

3 tablespoons of Curry Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Cumin

1/4 teaspoon of Turmeric

1 1/2 teaspoon of Salt

1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper

3 cups Chicken Broth (I had no stock, but I had broth!)

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

2 tablespoons Lite Cream Cheese

Wash your zucchini and get to cutting.


Roughly cut the zucchini into quartered slices. After you have finished cutting, you can start your cooking. This is the only real prep you have to do.

I combined all of my spices into a single bowl as I needed my measuring spoons for the olive oil and didn't want olive oil in any of my spices.


Put your olive oil in the pan along with the minced garlic and turn on your stove to low medium (I have gas, so I just watch the flame).


Pour in your zucchini.


Cover and let them sweat a bit. After they have gotten a bit soft, you can add your spices.


It starts looking really delicious.


Your kitchen should start smelling deliciously spicy. This is when you add your chicken broth.


Let me tell you my secret. I didn't take the soup out and blend it. I use an immersion blender. I can blend while it cooks by using this handy thing.


The secret is the spinning blade at the bottom. It blends and stirs the food without having to worry about a mess.


And blend!


After a few minutes, it looks like this.


The original recipe called for creme fraiche. I did not care for the amount of calories in this. I cheated and instead used lite cream cheese to get that delicious creaminess.


I used the immersion blender to get that mixed in well. When everything was finished, I chilled it for several hours in the fridge. I garnished my first bowl with some extra curry.


It was delicious. It's not very filling, but at 112 calories, I don't expect it to be. You read that right. 112 calories. As I prepared it, this is the nutritional breakdown. Yes, Weight Watchers (Points Plus) people. This soup is just 3 points per serving. You can eat the entire pot for 18 points. Enjoy.

  Total Fat5.6 g
     Saturated Fat1.2 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat0.7 g
     Monounsaturated Fat3.3 g
     Trans Fat0.0 g
  Cholesterol5.0 mg
  Sodium514.1 mg
  Potassium928.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate16.0 g
     Dietary Fiber5.0 g
     Sugars6.5 g
  Protein3.1 g

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lemony Orzo Veggie Salad

This is a recipe I modified from one I found at cookinglight.com. It was so delicious that I went ahead and made a second batch with even better results. This is great for summer.

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 teaspoon Spice Island’s lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup prechopped pepper
1/3 cup chopped red onion- optional
1 tablespoon dillweed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) feta cheese

Cook the orzo according to the package. 
 While it cooks, shred the chicken and set aside. Then mix together lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and honey.  Recipes generally call for fresh squeezed lemon juice. I use Kroger's concentrated lemon juice because I'm too lazy to squeeze lemons.
 Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.
 Chop the vegetables. Really you can chop as much as you want. The second time I made it I left out the onion and added more pepper since Jon hates onion. Cherry tomatoes might be nice in this if you like tomatoes. I certainly don't.
 Toss the pasta in the lemon juice mixture. It won't seem like enough to coat but it is, I swear.
 Add the chicken and veggies and sprinkle with dillweed. Toss lightly.
 I divided mine up in containers to store in the fridge and sprinkled the feta on top.