A Cheesy Twist on Broccoli

What is it about wrapping food in Crescent Rolls that makes it so darn special? I don’t know about you, but I have a can or two in my refrigerator at all times, and almost never make Crescent Dinner Rolls.

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Simple Garlic Broccoli Bursting with Green Goodness

Did you know that California produces 90% of the Broccoli grown in the United States, followed by Arizona? I’m not surprised about California. While the rest of the world might think LA and Hollywood when picturing the Golden State, those of us who call California home know there’s a lot of rich land. Farming and ranching are a big deal in California. We are so much more than Napa Valley Wines.

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Seasoned Broccoli Bursting with Color

Not too long ago, I was cooking up an Italian favorite in our house, Chicken Marsala. On the menu with the chicken was the usual side, Italian Roasted Potatoes. Had I served this with a side of Sautéed Summer Squash, it would have been down right predictable. Can’t have that. Not in my kitchen. If the main dish isn’t new, at least one of the sides needs to be different.

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Broccoli With An Onion-Cheese Sauce

My guys are constantly bugging me to make a cheese sauce when I cook broccoli. Making the sauce isn’t complicated, as you will see. However; I like to reserve a cheesy broccoli dish for rare occasions. While I love cheese, having your veggies swimming in sauce does lower the health benefits of eating steamed vegetables in the first place. Lord knows, cheese is a weakness for many of us.

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Sautéed Italian Broccoli with Onions

Lately I’ve been serving up a lot of Broccoli without all the rich sauces and tons of butter. I really like broccoli kissed with seasonings and a little spark of Red Pepper Flakes. Yeah, it’s really darn good eating! It’s not often that something we enjoy eating is also good for us. I wish say Chocolate Cake for example had the same health benefits as a plate of broccoli.

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Simple Herb Broccoli

Do you ever have one of those “Gee, I coulda had a V-8” realizations. As I sat here, sipping my morning coffee and planning out the following week’s family dinner menu, I realized that I had not shared what has to be the easiest broccoli dish on the planet. We’re talking five minutes and three ingredients. What could be more simple?

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Braised Broccoli with Orange Cream Sauce

One of the veggies I try to eat on a regular bases for general good health is Broccoli. Broccoli poses a few issues in our house. I seem to be the only one who truly appreciates Broccoli. I like it raw as part of a vegetable dipping platter, especially during the holidays. It’s so easy to make Christmas-themed vegetable platters when working with broccoli. My guys don’t mind broccoli as part of a stir-fry supper. However, when I’m serving a big plate of broccoli as the vegetable side of the evening, it usually receives a lukewarm reception. The one exception is when the broccoli is burred beneath an ocean of cheese sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good cheese sauce same as the next guy. But I also like broccoli all naked and green.

One thing we can all agree upon is the flavor of oranges. When I came across this recipe for braised broccoli in an orange cream sauce, I knew instantly we needed to add this to our collection. Hopefully your family will love it as much as we do.

Braised Broccoli with Orange Cream Sauce
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups broccoli florets cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In 4-quart Dutch pan bring water and 3/4 teaspoon salt to boiling.

Add broccoli. Return to a boil and cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain broccoli and transfer to a serving bowl.

To the now empty pan, add the cream, juice, and 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. Heat through over medium heat.

Spoon orange cream over broccoli; sprinkle almonds. Serve and enjoy.

A Southern Menu to Honor a Great Man

At first, I felt very intimidated when I sat down to plan a special menu for MLK Day. After all, I am viewed as a white woman by the world around me. My father is a mix of native American and Irish-English decent. My mother came from Filipino-Spanish ancestry with a dash of Chinese for good measure. While I consider myself to be a Heinz-57,  I am perceived as a white woman. An old white woman who can still remember a time when “Whites Only” was the norm. An old white woman whose education began in a school without “color” and all the faces looked like mine. What could I possible understand about honoring a man of such greatness?

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Pan-Roasted Broccoli with Garlic

This pan-roasted broccoli has a hidden “kick” in the red pepper flakes. A kiss of lemon juice adds a wonderful flavor while enhancing the bright green of the broccoli. And the butter at the end just brings it all together.

The up-side, this bright side dish cooks up quickly. The down-side, you will need to keep an eye on the broccoli and turn frequently to keep it from browning too much. It’s a fine line between pan-seared an burnt.

Broccoli is a cool-weather crop, hitting its stride in the spring and fall. Now is the time for broccoli, as the markets are full and the broccoli is fresh. While I am not a fan of Cabbage, broccoli ranks up there as one of my favorite spring/fall vegetables even if it is a part of the Cabbage family.

Pan-Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
1 bunch broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

Trim and peel the broccoli stems. Cut the florets into 1-inch pieces, and cut the stems on the bias 1/4 inch thick.

In a 10-inch skillet or fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until just golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a small bowl.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the broccoli and red pepper flakes, and season with salt and black pepper. Sear, turning frequently.

Pour in the water and lemon juice. Lower heat to medium. Cover and steam for about 3 minutes. Uncover, lower heat to medium-low, add butter, stir. Continue to cook until the broccoli is lightly browned and crisp-tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minute more. Transfer to a serving dish. Scatter the garlic on top and serve immediately.

Zapped Broccoli with Butter and Lemon Herb

Way back when I was first learning to cook, we didn’t have all the modern conveniences that are at our disposal today. No microwaves or convection ovens No pre-packaged, pre-measured, pre-seasoned foods. No bottles of spice blends or sauces or all the other things we have today. We were on our own. It might also be why some of the foods I ate growing up were either over-cooked or under-cooked and at times bland. A little salt. A little pepper. That was about it. Sometimes we forget how to do things all on our own with all the modern conveniences. Sometimes it’s okay to forget.

Zapped Broccoli with Butter and Lemon Herb
½ lb Broccoli
2 teaspoons McCormick Perfect Pinch Lemon Herb Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Butter

Cut broccoli int individual pieces. Place broccoli, seasoning and butter in a micro-wave safe plastic bag. Sprinkle with a little water, seal shut with a small slit to vent.

Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes.

Carefully open the bag (it will be steaming hot) and empty broccoli int a serving dish. Toss to evenly coat in seasoned butter and serve.

Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli

A while back, Hubby, Kiddo and I stopped in at a neighborhood steak house for dinner before heading to the theater. I don’t remember exactly what I had ordered – some sort of grilled chicken breast with a side of Broccoli. The chicken was good, but the broccoli was absolutely wonderful. I could have made a meal of the Broccoli – all buttery and bright with a wonderful blend of garlic and other seasonings. Since then, I have been trying to recreate that delicious broccoli at home. Some attempts were closer than others. This recipe is perfect – and a home-run with my guys (which is where it really counts). Hubby said it was some of the best broccoli he has ever tasted. That’s a huge compliment from a man who once complained when I didn’t drown his broccoli in a cheese sauce or Hollandaise sauce or some other sauce.

The blend of garlic and herbs enhanced the beautiful flavor of the broccoli, and the butter – I love melted butter over my veggies. Don’t you? While I generally don’t promote one brand of seasoning over another, after sampling different spice blends – everything from my own combination to the pre-packaged variety – this one had all the flavor I was looking for.

819z3xxgjyl-_sy679_Buttery Garlic-Herb Broccoli
1/2 lb Broccoli
1 Tablespoon Garlic-Herb Blend (McCormick’s has a nice blend)
4 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieced
1 gallon size zip-lock freezer bag

Cut broccoli into individual pieces and place into the bag. Season with Garlic-Herb seasoning. Shake bag a little to distribute seasoning. Lay bag flat on a micro-wave safe plate. Distribute pieces of butter throughout the bag.

Seal bag, leaving small gap at the center of closure to vent. Micro-wave on HIGH 90 seconds. Turn bag over, micro-wave on HIGH an additional 90 seconds. Check broccoli for doneness. It should be hot and tender-crisp. If still firm, turn bag again and micro-wave on HIGH for another minute. Repeat until broccoli is heated through, tender but not “soft”.

CAREFULLY open bag (it will be steaming hot) and empty into a serving dish. Toss and serve. This easy recipe goes with just about anything. I am particularly fond of broccoli as a side dish to baked chicken.

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