Category: broccoli

Maverick-y pasta with potatoes, leeks & broccoli.

Why are they so maverick-y, you may ask? Well, long before Ms. Palin decided to christen herself & Mr. McCain “mavericks”, I was doing the rebellious thing; fashion-wise, personality-wise, life-wise, etc. No- I wasn’t shooting wolves out of helicopters, nor was I a hockey mom. But I was a rebel. And with this blog, I’ve been known to throw caution to the wind and completely omit things from a recipe or change them (like my “penne with broccoli” recipe with which I used… ZITI *gasp* shocking!). And my rebel-like nature in this instance caused me to say, with this particular meal, “screw the bow-tie pasta, I’m using radiatore!” See? Total maverick.

Yep.

I get the Food Network magazine, as many of you may know. I’ve gotten so many of my favorite recipes from that magazine, including my Earl Grey with lemon tea cupcakes, tortilla soup, and a few others. Each time I get a new issue I get really excited, because while I love and adore Bon Appétit, and I miss Gourmet whole-heartedly, the Food Network magazine is much more accessible. It’s not as high-brow, the ingredients don’t usually cost $100.00 to buy, and they aren’t too stuffy or random for the average night’s dinner. Plus, they always have quick & easy dessert recipes too, which make me smile. This recipe was in the most recent issue, September 2010. It’s called “bow-tie pasta with broccoli & potatoes.” But obviously I used radiatore, so I can’t very well stick with that name. I also didn’t use any Boston lettuce- it just didn’t appeal to me in this recipe, despite the instructions. I don’t like wilty lettuce. So because of all my changes, I’m dubbing it “Maverick-y pasta with potatoes, leeks & broccoli.” So there, Sarah Palin. Put that in yer rifle & shoot it!

MAVERICK-Y PASTA WITH POTATOES, LEEKS & BROCCOLI

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound radiatore pasta (or whatever kind of pasta you want, BE A MAVERICK!)
  • 1 large bunch broccoli, florets and some chopped stems
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts only, sliced into half-moons
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese (or fontina)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Directions on being all maverick-y:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook 10 minutes, then add the broccoli and pasta and cook as the pasta’s label directs.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta & broccoli cooking water, then drain the mix. Return to the pot.
  4. Add the leeks to the pot and stir in enough of the cooking water to moisten, if needed. Stir in the cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Top with more parmesan. Ta-da!

Fantabulonious. That’s really the only word I could use. This dish is an amazing combination of deliciousness… I mean, look at that cheese! And the best part is that it’s basically a 30 minute meal. Even better than that? When slicing the leeks, you can say “Now I’ll take a leek… ” and it sounds pretty funny. Get it? “Take a leek”/”Take a leak”? *clears throat* Yeah. Funny. And I apologize, because I keep saying I wish Sarah Palin would go away and I’d stop hearing her name, and yet here I am, invoking her name to get a cheap laugh on a post about a pasta dish. *sigh* I’m sorry everyone.

And speaking of douchebags, the one who stole from me can go suck an egg (in case you missed it, here’s the shortened version: crazy bitch stole my photos, claimed they were hers, posted them on Craigslist and started a baking business). I contacted her, told her the way it is, and specifically stated that I am not going to play games, so if she pulls this shit again, I’ll contact Facebook and a lawyer. I’d like to see her try that. I could use some extra pocket money made off of an idiot who doesn’t respect copyright law. It’s dumb enough to steal someone’s shit, but to steal mine? Even dumber. Not only are you fucking with a New Yorker, but sweetheart, you’re fucking with someone who’s significant other is an NYPD police officer & who has friends who are lawyers. I know more about copyright, law and my rights than you know about mixing your Duncan Hines cake mix. Good job. So, Lou Ann (or “Sharon”) Stallings of Virginia, aka “Cupcakes by Lou Ann”, since you never responded to my message, I’d like you to know these are for you. Thank you, have a nice day.

Broccoli pies a la Brianne.

Let’s get one thing straight: me and broccoli, we’re like this *holds two fingers together* We’re BFF‘s. When I was a baby, I ate so much broccoli with cheese my parents were afraid I’d turn into the Jolly Green Giant. Then I went through a rebellious phase of “I won’t eat anything green unless it’s a sour apple Airhead or anything that grows in the ground unless it’s french fries.” That lasted for a looooong time. Even when I stopped eating most of the junk I used to and started eating healthier, I didn’t really get into it too much. But thanks to Jay and his broccoli obsession, I now am back with my beloved broccoli.

Mmmmm…

So when Brianne said she was making ‘broccoli pies’ a while back, my head spun around like one of those cartoon characters, and I had to get the dirt on these. By the way, Brianne is a member of Cooking the Books, but she also has a brand new blog of her own, Iron Chef Mommy, so go add it to your blogroll! She sent me the recipe (which I am giving you here, word for word), and I’ve been waiting to make it for some time now. And here they are!

Because a pie made with broccoli must be healthy… right?

BROCCOLI PIES

First you get:

  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1 package (like the old ghetto square boxes) frozen chopped broccoli (or spinach) thawed (drained too if you’re using spinach)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Then you should:

  1. Beat eggs, oil, onion and cheeses together.
  2. Stir in broccoli and Bisquick. Bake in square pan at 400° F for 15-20 minutes, or put them in jumbo muffin pans (get about 10) and bake at 375° F for 15 minutes, or in the mini muffin pans at 350° F for about 10 minutes, all until the top has just a hint of brown. They’re freaking awesome!

Okay, now for my edits: I used a mozzarella/provolone mix and it was fantastic. I’d also recommend cheddar, I bet white cheddar would be perfect. I made mine in regular muffin tins, as you can see, and they had to bake for about 20-25 minutes to get golden. But that also could just be my oven. Next time, I’d also sprinkle a little salt in the mix, they were “amazeballs” (to quote Brianne) as they are, but I’m a salt fanatic.

Oh, I also got about 18 of them. And I ate about 8. Don’t judge me.

The perfect pizza.

I decided the other day for Meatless Monday that I’d try out a new pizza dough recipe. I don’t eat that much meat, really, during an average week, and when I do, it’s chicken. I’ve pretty much cut out red meat for the most part, yes, I still cave in for a good, thick, juicy bacon cheeseburger (can you hear the arteries clogging?) but on average I just don’t eat it anymore. Most of my protein is chicken or fish. But I consciously cut out all meat on Monday’s now. Those of you who read this loyally know that I’m particularly partial to my old standby pizza dough recipe (I get like that, have you noticed how many times I’ve made my favorite cupcake recipe- the Magnolia Bakery vanilla? Lots). So this was big for me.

Mothereffin’ delicious…

First thing I noticed was how easy the dough was to work with. Much more elasticity and much easier to stretch. It was softer (and also stickier, so I added more flour) and came together much quicker; less “resting time.” The next thing I noticed was that it cooked much quicker too, I usually have an issue with my other recipe cooking evenly in the time given. Sometimes it’s perfect, other times not so much, but it tastes so good I forgive it.  But this recipe is so much better! It’s thicker, yet less dense than my other recipe, and it’s absolutely fantastic. I am not exaggerating, it really is the perfect pizza. I topped it with sauce, mozzarella and broccoli along with some Italian seasoning, but again, it goes without saying you can use any topping you want. Even if you’re one of those freaks who likes pineapple on it *cringes*

I adapted it a bit to fit my needs and likes, so that’ll be the recipe I’ll give you, along with a picture of the pizza before it was baked. Mangia!

PERFECT PIZZA

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 tbsps plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a 12″ x 9″ baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast, then make a well in the center.
  2. Add the olive oil and the 2 cups lukewarm water.
  3. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 5 minutes.
  4. Roll out dough and press into prepared baking sheet, making a “crust” area that slightly overlaps the edge of the pan. Brush lightly with olive oil just on the center (not on the “crust” part).
  5. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, poke with a fork in random areas in the center to allow for the air to circulate and not create bubbles, then bake for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Remove the crust from the oven and spread sauce and cheese and toppings on top, leaving a border. Bake until golden, 20-30 minutes. It may even be longer/shorter, depending on your oven.
  7. Cut using a pizza cutter, and serve!

I think this has replaced my old recipe. I’m sorry, old recipe… we had good times while they lasted.

In other news, the 2nd birthday of Cupcake Rehab, my little bloggette here, is rapidly coming up on the horizon (September 12th to be exact). In celebration of such, I’m planning a HUMONGOUS giveaway- with a grand prize and a first prize, possibly a second prize as well. Which means two or three very, very, very lucky people will walk away with amazing goodies from TOPSTITCH.ORG (here’s her Artfire store where you can buy her beautiful stuffs), Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies, and Very Small Anna. And that’s just as of now.  I’m hoping the list grows so I can make this the biggest giveaway EVER. My last giveaway was a success, so I thought why not go bigger this time?

So on that note, if there are any Etsy sellers, or crafty people who don’t sell on Etsy,  or people who have things to contribute who have no idea what Etsy is  reading this, and they would like to contribute something (or a few somethings) for this giveaway, I would love to talk to you. I’m talking about button makers, hair clip makers, apron makers, cupcake topper makers/sellers, etc. All of you. If you’d like to help out and also get some publicity and advertising at the same time, please e·mail me!

And everyone else: I’ll be posting more information on it as I figure things out… so check back!

Shrimp Stir-fry.

One of my favorite foods is Asian. I love Chinese food, be it greasy take-out Chinese or fancy sit down Chinese, and I love Japanese stir-fry & Teriyaki. Not too big on Thai or Korean, but I digress. Stir-fry is also the easiest thing to make at home. As long as you have soy sauce, ginger (either powdered, candied or gingerroot that you grate yourself could be used), garlic and some rice and veggies- you have a meal.

Fresh veggies!


The original recipe that I used for this particular meal is for beef stir-fry, but I wanted to use shrimp (which is again one of my favorites), so I amended it a bit (if you decide to use chicken or beef, cook it in the skillet with some oil before you make the veggies, then put it in a bowl and cover it to keep it warm… shrimp cooks really fast so the directions are different). But like I’ve said before, you can use anything: chicken, beef, shrimp or even tofu I suppose. Its totally open to interpretation. You can use any rice you like also. Brown rice, jasmine rice, white rice… whatever! Any vegetables you have can be used, I used carrots, onion and broccoli but you can throw in peas, snap peas, water chestnuts, anything you like. You see how versatile it is? It’s the perfect meal for nights when you have tons of stuff in the house but no clue what to make.

SHRIMP STIR-FRY

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined and preferably tail-off
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium heads broccoli, or one frozen 16 oz. bag broccoli cuts or florets
  • 2 tbsp. grated gingerroot, or 2 tsp. ground ginger

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, cornstarch, dark brown sugar, garlic and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir fry for 5 minutes then add carrots and broccoli (cut into florets, or just cuts if using fresh) along with ½ cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp to skillet along with ginger and soy sauce mixture. Bring to a boil,  and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Make sure shrimp is opaque and pink, if so, then its  done. Serve hot over rice or noodles.

And there ya go. A quick, filling and delicious meal you can make with everything and the kitchen sink! Those shrimp look amazing, don’t they? Don’t you want to reach into your monitor and grab one? Yeah. I know. If only Willy Wonka’s attempt at sending food through the TV was feasible. Then you could indeed grab some of this yummy stir-fry. But thats okay, I’m sure the Big Mac you’re eating is really good, too.

Yeah, messy plating job in exhibit A, but dude, seriously- this ain’t Bon Appetit.

..

And uh, don’t forget to become a fan of Cupcake Rehab on Facebook! What are you waiting for? I said go become a fan!

Slumber Party Potatoes.

A couple of months ago I was sick, and stuck in bed for a week, and during that time I read about 700 books. One of these books was Diane Mott Davidson’s Prime Cut. Its a culinary mystery book, with recipes intertwined with each chapter. One of the recipes was something called ‘Slumber Party Potatoes’ and even though I was so sick I could only ingest soup, it sounded so incredibly good I almost became delirious.

A few changes: I used a bag of frozen broccoli cuts, because that’s what I had. I prefer to cook my broccoli in a pan with a little butter or oil so that’s  how I prepared it for this. I did not use chicken broth granules either, I had regular chicken broth but I didn’t bother to use it.

SLUMBER PARTY POTATOES

(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 2 T. (¼ stick) butter
  • 3 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. chicken broth granules
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, trimmed of stems and separated into florets, lightly steamed
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub and prick the potatoes in 3 or 4 places with a fork. Bake them for about 1 hour, or until flaky.
  3. While the potatoes are baking, melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Stir in the flour; cook and stir just until the flour bubbles, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth granules, stir, and then gently whisk in the milk. Heat and stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until it melts, 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Split each of the hot potatoes in half and place them on a platter. Place the steamed broccoli florets and chopped bacon into bowls. Pour the cheese sauce into a large gravy boat. Diners serve themselves assembly-line style, ending with the cheese sauce.

OH. MY. GOD. So good. So good you won’t be able to move after having one… or uh *cough* three.

I doubled the cheese sauce recipe so I could serve more, and it worked just fine.

Holy healthy penne!

I’m all about broccoli lately. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which is odd considering I went a good portion of my life hating it.

When I was a baby and a little kid, I adored broccoli. Especially broccoli with cheese… I was like a little Green Giant worshipper. Then all of a sudden, things changed. Broccoli was no longer my friend- it was my foe. For many years (lets say young adolescence until *ahem* early adulthood) I ate Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn and Totino’s Pizza Rolls as snacks and my food choices were either a hamburger or… a hamburger. Nothing green was to touch my plate. Its safe to say my diet wasn’t the best, but find me a teenager’s whose diet is great and I’ll show you a vegetarian teenager. But I’ve since gone through a transformation. When I was younger, I could eat all that crap and it didn’t effect me, I was still super skinny and fit. But the older I got, the more that changed. So recently I did something about it. I lost a lot of weight since mid-2007 (50 pounds), began exercising and, you guessed it, eating better. I realized that there are so many health problems related to being overweight, even just moderately overweight or a few pounds over what the recommended weight is for you, that I needed to make a change. At 5’9″ or 5’10″ I can get away, just barely, with the extra poundage better than most, visually. But healthwise it doesn’t matter. Being heavier isn’t good for anyone. I feel better, look better and I’m sure I’m much healthier now. So my new diet consists of much less red meat (I really don’t have much of a taste for it, anymore, except for a big thick bacon cheeseburger every now and then.. and a Nathan’s hot dog), lots of salad, seafood and chicken, and my old friend- broccoli.

Broccoli is so amazingly good for you:

Broccoli is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties including diindolylmethane and selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C [4]. The 3,3′-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity.[5] [6] Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anticancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled more than ten minutes.[7] A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.[8] Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains far more betacarotene than the florets.

Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors-d’oeuvre trays. Although boiling has been shown to reduce the levels of suspected anticancer compounds in broccoli, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying have been shown not to reduce the presence of these compounds.[7]

Broccoli is also high in vitamin K.

- wikipedia

I prefer my broccoli “stir-fried”; in a skillet with some olive oil or butter. Which is good because thats how you keep the nutritional value. I put it on my Amy’s Organic frozen pizza’s, add it to my macaroni & cheese (I don’t stir-fry that, I just thaw it and add it to the mixture before baking), and eat it right out of the aforementioned skillet while I’m cooking it, sometimes. And the other major component here thats excellent for you is olive oil.

So many people hear “fats and oils aren’t good for you” so they omit them totally, or as much as possible. With olive oil, this couldn’t be further from the truth:

Evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats in the diet is linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.[23] This is significant because olive oil is considerably rich in monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid.

There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects on cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol oxidation, and that it exerts antiinflamatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects both in animals and in humans.[26]

- wikipedia

Not that that means you should drink bottles of  the stuff everyday, but in moderation it really can help more than hurt. Now isn’t that good news!?

All hot & steamy in the pan…

This recipe is loosely taken from a book I recieved recently at a fundraiser at Lord & Taylor. I met the author and she signed the book for me, and I read it that night. The title is I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti and the author is Giulia Melucci. Its a novel about her love life, and how food was so intertwined with it, interspersed with her recipes, most of which are mouthwateringly tempting. I didn’t really need a recipe to tell me how to make this dish, its so easy, but when I saw this recipe in her book it made me crave it so much I’m giving her the credit. Plus, her dish has a bit more going on than mine- I didn’t use the walnuts and raisins myself, but left them in the recipe in case you did.  And as my friend Tania from Love Big, Bake Often suggested, toasted pine nuts would also be good. I also thought I had penne in the house, but instead only had ziti and rotini, so I used ziti. Pasta is pasta, right? Buon Appetito!

HEALTHY PENNE

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound broccoli (if you buy it frozen, buy broccoli florets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • ½ cup raisins*
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts*
  • 1 pound penne
  • Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

Directions:

  1. Wash the broccoli and cut into florets; discard the stalks. If you’re using frozen, just rinse them in cool water in a strainer to “thaw” them a bit before cooking.
  2. In a skillet large enough to hold the pasta and the broccoli, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. When the garlic is golden, add the broccoli, raisins and a big pinch of salt.  Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture gets too dry.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a small skillet for 5 to 6 minutes over medium heat, giving the skillet a shake every so often. Watch them or they will burn! Once they’re toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and add the penne to the skillet with the broccoli, then add a splash of olive oil and the toasted walnuts.
  5. Serve in warm bowls, and sprinkle generously with parmigiano cheese. If you’re lactose intolerant (or have no cheese), a ¼ cup of bread crumbs can be substituted.

*Like I said, I omitted these.

A delicious and healthy way to eat pasta! Even better if you use whole-wheat pasta.  I added slightly more red pepper because I like my food with a kick.

Since its meatless, this is a good dish for all you religious folk to eat this week. I don’t get down like that, I just eat it because its good. Amen!

Broccoli is like, so cheesy.

Jay loves broccoli. So much it frightens me. He orders a side of broccoli EVERYWHERE we go. Broccoli in any form, cooked any way, with garlic, with marinara, with cheese, etc.  Broccoli with a side of air. Literally, any kind. I can take it or leave it, personally. I won’t specifically order it, and I rarely eat it, but at times it winds up on my plate and I eat it and remember that its not bad at all. Lately, however, I’ve been really into broccoli. I mean really into it.

This recipe was that kinda deal. But not really, because I knew I was going to eat it, it wasn’t an accident. I just figured maybe it was time for me to get over my broccoli issues and just admit that I love it. This is another Real Simple recipe, I just changed it up a bit and made it cheesier.

CHEESY BAKED SHELLS WITH BROCCOLI

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups sharp Cheddar (or Gruýere, if you prefer)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed

Then you:

  1. Heat broiler. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 ½ cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Add the pasta and broccoli and toss to combine. Transfer to a broilerproof 8-inch square or another 1 ½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheese. Broil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

Yummy, yummy in my tummy.

There was a period of a few weeks where Jay had this full-size picture as the background on his computer… no joke

This dish takes no time at all, and it may not be gourmet, but unless you have a lot of time or a personal chef you don’t eat gourmet every night. Who even has the time to do that!? Between work and school and other commitments- you need simple, filling meals. And this is definitely both. And if you’re looking for a regular mac-n-cheese recipe, this one is amazing and is my absolute favorite.