Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Happy Spring, friends.  I do believe that Spring is finally starting to show signs of it’s arrival, and for me that means getting organized.  So this week has been a closet organizing, cob-web dusting, house cleaning kind of week.  This time of year always has me rearranging things for a fresh perspective, but this year I have an additional reason for doing so.

In just a few days I will be having surgery to replace the worn-out joint in my right knee.  Since I don’t know exactly what I’ll be capable of doing while healing and therapy take place, I’m doing some extra cooking (freezing meals),  clothes preparation (getting out the warm weather clothes), and trying to plan ahead for any events that may arise.    It will  be some time before I get back to my cooking adventures and writing to tell you about them.  In the mean time I have some posts ready to self-publish in my absence, but they will not be as frequent as you have been accustomed to.

The recipe that I’m sharing with you today is one that goes back quite a few years and was introduced to members of our church by our pastor, the first woman to be ordained in our church.  She always made this chicken and broccoli dish for our church suppers, and it became known as “Rosemary’s Chicken Casserole”.   Over the years I’ve taken a few liberties with the recipe and adapted it to use leftovers whenever I have some cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken on hand.

Chicken and Broccoli casserole with mashed sweet potatoes and salad.

Chicken and Broccoli casserole with mashed sweet potatoes and salad.

I include here the original recipe if you would like to make it the way it was intended, plus some notes on how I modify it to use leftovers.

Rosemary’s Church Supper Chicken Casserole

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts ( or 3-4 cups cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken)IMG_9482
  • 2 packages frozen broccoli (or 1 large head fresh broccoli)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup stuffing mix ( Pepperidge Farm or other)

Note:  the recipe can be easily halved for a smaller quantity.  If you do this, use only one can of soup, (Here, I’ve used cream of celery).   1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise.

Directions:

1.  Simmer chicken breasts in a small amount of water until cooked.  Cool and debone.

2.  Cook frozen broccoli, or fresh broccoli, if using.

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Place broccoli in a large casserole that has been prepared with cooking spray.  For half the recipe use an 8″ or 9″ square baking dish.  Cover with pieces of cooked chicken.

Cover broccoli with pieces of cooked chicken.

Cover broccoli with pieces of cooked chicken.

Preheat oven to 350*F.

3.  Make the sauce by whisking together the soups, milk and mayonnaise.

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Pour over the chicken and broccoli.

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4.  Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce,

Add grated cheese over sauce.

Add grated cheese over sauce.

then place the stuffing mix on top.

Top with stuffing mix.

Top with stuffing mix.

5.  Bake at 350*F. for 25 – 30 minutes until top is browned and bubbly.

Hot and bubbly.  Yum, so good!

Hot and bubbly. Yum, so good!

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SOURCE:  Recipes From the Heart

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Believe me, I went through some major mental arguments with myself before making this dip.   Really silly isn’t it?  Why would I need to convince myself to make something so unbelievably good?

With broccoli as its primary ingredient you’d expect it to be really healthy right?   A reason to make it.

Cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar cheese….all healthy in their own way, but collectively, that’s a lot of  fat and calories    A reason not to make it.

Serve with toasted French bread slices;   oh, oh more calories.   Do I really want to make this?

While all this was going through my mind, a little voice kept saying, ” just go for it, you know you want to.”

Well, as you might guess, the little voice won out,  and boy am I glad.   Once tasted, never forgotten!

I did make some concessions by using low-fat cream cheese, sour cream and milk.

 

BAKED BROCCOLI PARMESAN DIP

Yield:   about 4 cups Dip

Ingredients:IMG_8382

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 8 oz. cream cheese ( I used low-fat)
  • 2  1/2 cups broccoli florets (thaw if frozen)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (used low-fat)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. creole seasoning ( I used cajun spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • loaf of French bread, sliced 1/4-inch thick and toasted

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Lightly spray a shallow baking dish or casserole.

2.  Heat the olive oil, add Panko and cook, stirring till browned and toasted, about 3 minutes.  Set aside.

Melt butter and add Panko crumbs to toast them.

Melt butter and add Panko crumbs to toast them.

 

Remove when the crumbs are golden and crunchy.

Remove when the crumbs are golden and crunchy.

3.  In a bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, milk, seasonings and salt and pepper.  Mix well to blend.

 

Whip together cream cheese, sour cream, milk and seasonings.

Whip together cream cheese, sour cream, milk and seasonings.

Stir in broccoli, cheddar, and Parmesan cheeses.

Stir in cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Stir in cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

4.  Spread into prepared pan, sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar.

Spread in baking dish,

Spread in baking dish,

 

Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake till bubbly, about 20 – 25 minutes.

5.  Sprinkle with Panko,  serve warm with sliced, toasted bread.

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

 

SOURCE:   Emeril Lagasse

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Tortellini and Broccoli Salad with Bacon

There’s a certain kind of math that goes on in my head every time I stare into my refrigerator and try to decide what to make for dinner.

It goes something like this:  6 eggs,  1/2 bag of cheese tortellini, part of a head of broccoli, 1 stick of butter, some leftover chicken soup, a block of cream cheese, 4 slices of bacon, and  half a loaf of Italian bread.

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There’s also a strange correlation at work–the less time I have and the hungrier I am, the harder it is to process all this math.  Let’s see, if  I scramble the eggs and mix them with warm garlicy broccoli, and sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over the top, would that work?

Oh, wait–how about if I cook the tortellini, mix it with broccoli, and treat the mixture like macaroni salad with a mayonnaise dressing.   Top if off with a sprinkle of bacon?    Yes, now is there enough mayonnaise?   Do I have a lemon?   And what’s this?—one romaine heart hiding at the back of the crisper drawer!   Perfect, I’ll serve the salad on a bed of romaine.  Whew!  That was a tough one.

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I’m wishing you the same kind of success when this happens to you. 🙂

TORTELLINI AND BROCCOLI SALADIMG_7632

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 0z. refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Romaine lettuce or spring greens mix
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (vegetarians can omit bacon)

Directions:

1.  Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Add broccoli florets in the last 5 minutes of cooking time.   Drain, and rinse with cold water to stop cooking action.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

2.  In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients, i.e.. mayonnaise through salt.  Pour this over the tortellini and broccoli, and mix well to coat evenly.

3.  On a large platter or serving dish, arrange the salad greens,  Spoon the tortellini salad on top.   Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and serve.

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This salad is good slightly warm or at room temperature, or thoroughly chilled.  Try it on a warm day when you want a quick, cold meal.

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SOURCE:   Another of my own creations!

Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Comfort Foods!  Just those two words bring to mind certain foods that we grew up with, or crave at one time or another.  Maybe you’ve had a bad day, and just want a familiar meal that you know you love.  Perhaps it’s mid-winter, freezing cold, and you want something to eat that feels like being wrapped up in a warm quilt.  Or you just broke up with your boyfriend, best friend, or had to have a pet “put to sleep”.  You want food that will make you feel better, if that’s possible.  Food that gives you comfort is naturally called “comfort food”.

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Well, here’s a question that I’ve been pondering;  do you crave comfort foods in hot weather?  Aren’t comfort foods warm foods that give you a “warm fuzzy”?  I can’t think of any cold foods that do that, and in hot weather don’t we usually want cold foods to cool us off, so where do comfort foods fit in?

That is the dilemma I faced last week.  The weekend had served up warm, sunny days in the mid to high 80’s.  It was hot, we ate salads!   Come Monday, the temperature is in the 60’s, and its raining, cold and damp outside.  Then I go for my dance lesson, where every move I make gets corrected, and I can’t seem to do anything right.  (That’s an exaggeration, but it felt that way).  And to top it all off, I forgot to take something out of the freezer for dinner.  Does this day qualify for a comfort meal?  I thought it did.

This recipe for a variation on Mac and Cheese is my solution to wanting, no needing, something comforting to eat, but little time to prepare it, so let’s call this “Quick Comfort Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon”.  Even though the calendar tells us it’s late spring or early summer, this dish was perfect for my needs.  And Mr. D.  loved it too, saying it was fabulous, and “hit the spot”.

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Note:  included here is a trick I learned at one time:  a little bit of turmeric enhances the color, making you perceive the sauce as cheesier than it actually is.  It adds no additional flavor of its own, it’s only there for color, so if it’s not in your cupboard, just omit it and use a yellow cheddar cheese.

BROCCOLI MAC AND CHEESE WITH BACON

Yield:  Serves 4IMG_7492

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces uncooked large or regular elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups prechopped broccoli florets
  • 3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  • 1 cup 1 % low-fat milk
  • 1 jar Alfredo Sauce with cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions, adding a little salt to the water.  Add broccoli to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain.

Add broccoli to end of pasta cooking time.

Add broccoli to end of pasta cooking time.

2.  While pasta cooks, place bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat;  cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon.  Reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in the pan.  Add chopped garlic and the turmeric, if using.  Cook 1 minute, stirring throughout.

3.  Combine the milk with the Alfredo sauce, stirring with a whisk to blend well. Add to skillet with garlic, and mix together.  Bring to a simmer, and add 3/4 cup shredded cheese.  Stir to melt and blend in the cheese, stir in half the bacon.  Taste sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.

Making the cheese sauce with Alfredo sauce.

Making the cheese sauce with Alfredo sauce.

4.  Add the drained pasta and broccoli,  toss to coat.  Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and remaining bacon over the top.

Add macaroni and broccoli to cheese.

Add macaroni and broccoli to cheese sauce.

Preheat the broiler to high.   Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.  If time allows,  this dish could be baked for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top a little browned.

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Broccoli Mac and Cheese served with a salad.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese served with a salad.

 

SOURCE:   a Carolyn’s Originals

 

 

Orange Beef and Broccoli

Orange Beef and Broccoli

Orange Beef and Broccoli

On rare occasions we like to order Chinese take-out, and one of our favorite dishes is beef and broccoli.  The rice comes separate and I can limit or not take any rice if I choose not to, so I feel this is probably one of the healthier entrees that is available.

With this recipe I’m woking (pun intended) a little on the wild side, because I haven’t attempted to make this dish before now.  I don’t own a wok as the recipe suggests using, but any large heavy skillet will do fine.  The most time consuming aspect of the recipe is preparing the ingredients.  Have everything chopped, sliced, measured and ready to go before you start cooking, because once you turn on the heat, the cooking goes quickly.

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Orange rind and five-spice powder flavor the dish with sweet notes that are countered by a hit of red pepper’s heat.  Decrease the pepper for anyone who would prefer to walk on the mild side.  Serve rice on the side.

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I’m really enjoying using the asian seasonings I’ve acquired and now making use of.  They provide salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.   Some essential basic ingredients that you might consider for your pantry are:  Siracha, a spicy chile sauce that saves you the time of working with fresh chiles;  brown sugar, an easy way to add instant caramel notes and some sweetness; lower-sodium soy sauce that provides deep umami notes;  dark sesame oil, intensely tasty oil that coats food with savory richness;  and rice vinegar, more mellow than most vinegars, only a splash brings flavors into balance.

Some basic seasonings for asian cooking.

Some basic seasonings for asian cooking.

ORANGE BEEF AND BROCCOLIIMG_7299

Yield:    serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed  ( I used a strip steak)
  • 3/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1  1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 8 (1-inch) strips orange rindIMG_7301
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium so sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (garnish)
  • 1 package precooked white rice such as Uncle Ben’s

Directions:

1.  Sprinkle steak evenly with five-spice powder, black pepper and salt.   Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the pan; swirl to coat.  Add steak;  cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove steak from pan; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut steak across grain into thin slices.

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2.  Return pan to high heat.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl.  Add broccoli, onion, rind, and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Combine broth and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper) in a bowl stirring with a whisk.  Add stock mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

3.  To serve, spoon some rice onto a plate, top with 3/4 cup broccoli mixture and 3 ounces beef.  Sprinkle evenly with green onions and sesame seeds.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

Broccoli Calzones

Broccoli Calzones

Broccoli Calzones

Oh. My. Gosh.   These are soooo good,  I did not want to stop eating them.  Do I have any regrets?   Yes, I wish I had made more to freeze.

Some calzones can be rather heavy because they are so loaded with filling that includes meat and cheeses, that after eating one, you’re done.  These, however, are lighter than that. The filling consists of chopped broccoli, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella used in moderation.  A pizza dough makes the outside, holding all that great filling.  Served with warm tomato sauce, i.e., spaghetti or pizza sauce, and a side salad,  this is a delicious and satisfying meatless meal.

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This recipe makes eight calzones that can be frozen before baking, so when you’re in the mood for one–or two–, just remove the quantity you want, and bake them frozen.  I made only half the recipe for a quantity of four calzones, and I’m regretting that I didn’t make the whole recipe.  It doesn’t take much extra time or effort to make more to freeze, and you’ll be so glad you did.  One of these would be great with a bowl of soup, or with a salad for a light meal.

Note:  the following recipe calls for frozen, chopped broccoli, but fresh broccoli may also be used.  Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam until tender before proceeding with the recipe.  The convenience of frozen store-bought pizza dough helps to speed up and simplify making this recipe, as does jarred tomato sauce.

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BROCCOLI CALZONES

Yield:   8 calzonesIMG_7356

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 packages (10 oz.) chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 ( 1 pound) packages frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese ( can use small curd cottage cheese instead)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or pizza blend cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tomato sauce

Directions:

1.   Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook till soft ( 4-5 minutes).  Add broccoli, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Cook 5-7 minutes till any liquid has evaporated and mixture is hot.  Set aside to cool.

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2.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

3.  Divide each ball of dough into four ( 4) pieces.  On a lightly floured surface stretch each piece out.  First to a 3 x 4″ oval, then stretch again to 6 x 8″ oval.  Let dough rest as needed to relax before continuing to stretch it. Don’t worry if the ovals are not perfect, they almost never are.

Stretch dough pieces out into oval shapes.

Stretch dough pieces out into oval shapes.

4.  Stir cheeses into cooled broccoli mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add cheeses to broccoli mixture.

Add cheeses to broccoli mixture.

5.  To assemble:  Spread about 1/2 cup broccoli mixture onto half of each dough piece.  Leave 1/2-inch border all around.  Fold over to form a semi-circle/ half moon.  Press edges to seal.  Cut two slits in the top of each one.

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Fold dough over filing the press edges to seal.

Fold dough over filling then press edges to seal.

 

6.  Using a wide spatula or bench knife, transfer the calzones to the baking sheets.  Reshape as needed.

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7.  Bake at 400*F for about 25 minutes, till golden brown.   Serve with warm sauce.

 

Serve with warm sauce.

Serve with warm sauce.

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To freeze for later use:  Proceed through step #5 above, then tightly wrap each calzone in plastic wrap, freeze until firm.  Transfer to zip-lock bags; label and date.  Freeze up to 2 months.  To cook and serve, unwrap and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake without thawing until golden, 35 – 40 minutes.

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SOURCE:   MarthaStewart.com

 

Cornbread with Broccoli and Cheese

Cornbread with Broccoli and Cheese

Cornbread with Broccoli and Cheese

Here’s a recipe that Mr. D. and I really like.  I make it often when we have chili, as a way to expand the meal, when we are having chili the second time around.  This is a moist cornbread with a slightly sweet corn flavor and can be served as a side dish with any meat entrée.  Adding the broccoli is a good way to get picky eaters to eat some veggies, and the cheddar cheese just seals the deal in my opinion.

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The original recipe for this dish calls for cottage cheese, but I had a small amount of ricotta cheese to use up so I used that instead.   The texture of the cornbread was moist and creamy, but could be cut into squares.  The dish you see here in my pictures contains only half a recipe (9″-square pan), but the full recipe makes a 13 x 9″ pan.

CORNBREAD WITH BROCCOLI AND CHEESE

Yield:   serves 12IMG_6322

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese ( or substitute ricotta cheese)
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (for half recipe use 4 Tablespoons)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2  ( 8.5-ounce) packages corn muffin mix
  • 1 ( 10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and squeezed dry.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1  1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided**

**  If you would like to off-set the sweetness of the cornbread, go with an extra sharp cheddar.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

2.  Whisk cottage cheese, butter and eggs in a large bowl.  Stir corn muffin mix into the mixture just until moistened.  Fold in broccoli, onion, and 1 cup cheese.   Pour into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

3.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm.

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SOURCE:   Allrecipes.com

Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi

Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi

Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is one of my all-time favorite seafood dishes, one that I routinely order in a good seafood restaurant.  However, I frequently make it at home as well.  There is already one such recipe already here on the blog, but I made this variation of it recently and felt that you might be interested in it too.  I cooked the shrimp in a different way, and included broccoli for a more fully rounded dish.

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The idea for cooking the shrimp this way came by way of Pinterest, and I must say they are very tasty.  Using melted butter, sliced lemons, and Good Seasons Salad Dressing Mix for seasoning, these shrimp would be just great dipped in cocktail sauce for a party.  When I saw all that nicely seasoned butter available after cooking the shrimp, that’s when I decided to turn them into Scampi.  The whole deal is really very simple. You can have this dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.

SHRIMP AND BROCCOLI SCAMPI

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

    Shrimp, lemons, salad dressing mix.

    Shrimp, lemons, salad dressing mix.

  • 5 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 lemon,  sliced
  • 1 package Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 8 0z. uncooked thin spaghetti
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  On a baking sheet with sides, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in the preheating oven.  Remove baking sheet from oven and lay the lemon slices in the butter.  Place all the shrimp on top of the lemon, then sprinkle with dry salad dressing mix.

Lay shrimp on top of lemons and melted butter.

Lay shrimp on top of lemons and melted butter.

Note:  I used about half an envelop for 1 pound of shrimp, and we thought it was adequately seasoned.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, till shrimp turn pink and are almost fully cooked.  Remove and set aside.

Shrimp after baking.

Shrimp after baking.

2.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta as package directs, omitting salt and oil.  Add the broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain.

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3.   Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the 1 Tbsp butter and olive oil;  swirl to coat.  Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen any browned bits.  Combine 1 Tbsp. water and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Stir cornstarch mixture into stock mixture;  cook 1 minute.  (Note:  Don’t skip the cornstarch here– it helps the garlicky sauce cling to the pasta.)

Chicken broth, cornstarch mixture and garlic, ready for the pan.

Chicken broth, cornstarch mixture and garlic, ready for the pan.

4.  Stir in the shrimp and all its juices.

Shrimp and its juices added to the skillet.

Shrimp and its juices added to the skillet.

Add pasta, broccoli, parsley and salt. Cook 1-2 minutes, to heat through, tossing to coat well.  Transfer to serving dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

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This rendition of shrimp scampi is about the best I have ever made.  Not a drop of buttery juice goes to waste and the broccoli benefits from the lemon and seasonings.  So good, I hope you try this one!!

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The polar vortex has arrived here in the Northeast, reaching its icy fingers right down into my neck-of-the-woods. Many of you across the U.S. know what I’m talking about as you-all are having it too.  What never ceases to amaze me is how abruptly the weather can change.  Someone  ( ?who) once said ” if you don’t like the weather around here, just wait a minute.”   As an example yesterday morning when I got up it was pouring rain and the temperature was 60*F.  All the snow from a few days ago had melted.  This morning when I got up the temperature was 11*F. with a wind chill of -15*, and there was a dusting of snow back on the ground.  BRRRRR!!

This was one day I was so happy to stay indoors.  Since I had gone to the library yesterday,  I had some good reading waiting for me, plus I’m so behind on my magazines I haven’t finished reading about Thanksgiving yet!  A good day to spend under a quilt trying to stay warm, reading and getting caught up…..and thinking about what’s for supper.   Actually, it didn’t take much thought; on a day like this one, I want hot soup.

There's nothing like a warming bowl of hot soup.

There’s nothing like a warming bowl of hot soup on a cold winter’s day.

After rummaging around in the refrigerator I found a large bunch of broccoli that immediately made me think of cream of broccoli soup.  This didn’t exactly fit into my plans for eating “lighter” meals because of the cream content, so I searched through my cookbooks for a more suitable recipe for broccoli soup.  This is what I came up with……

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

Yield:   Serves 4 – 6IMG_6075

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  •  2 shallots or 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth, preferably low sodium   (vegetable broth may be substituted for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 cups shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Boil or steam the broccoli until tender.  Drain and set aside.

2.  While broccoli cooks, melt butter in a soup kettle.  Saute shallots and garlic in the butter until tender.

3.  Sprinkle flour into the kettle and stir over low heat until blended.  Add chicken broth and continue stirring until mixture is smooth.

4.  Add the broccoli to the broth mixture.  Using an immersion blender or regular blender puree the soup mixture until uniformly blended.

An immersion blender makes quite work of pureeing the soup.

An immersion blender makes quick work of pureeing the soup.

5.  Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

  Add in the grated cheese and stir to melt.


Add in the grated cheese and stir to melt.

This soup is surprisingly thick, because of the flour added to the broth, and because of pureeing the broccoli.  Be sure you use a large head of broccoli so there is adequate to thicken the soup.  The cheese also adds some thickening, and its flavor is a nice addition.  I also added a pinch of nutmeg to my soup though it is not included with the ingredients. Though this is a lightened up version of cream of broccoli soup, it still has a rich taste and texture.   I didn’t miss the cream at all!

Note:  If broccoli is not available,  cauliflower may be used instead.

Hot soup and a go-with sandwich.

Hot soup and a go-with sandwich.

Stop back again tomorrow for directions for making the filled sandwich you see in the above picture.

SOURCE:   The Flavor of New England,  Soups, Chowders, and Stews

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

A one-dish meal that is easy and quick to prepare using a short cut:  Rotisserie Chicken.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with making my life a little easier at times by picking up a rotisserie chicken at the super market and building a meal around it.  After the first meal, I usually use what’s left for chicken salad sandwiches.

What brought me to making this dish was Mr. D’s request for Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.   What better time than now when I had a bunch of broccoli on hand and the remains of the rotisserie chicken.  I just combined all that and what resulted was  this dish that was very close to what he asked for.  This is how it went together…..

CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI ALFREDO

Yield:   serves 4

  • Fettuccine or other favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 to 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, add to last 3 minutes of pasta cooking time
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups whole milk or half and half
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut up

Directions:

1.  Cook fettuccine according to package directions adding broccoli during last 3 minutes of cooking time.  Drain.  Set aside.

Place cooked fettuccine and  broccoli in a serving dish.

Place cooked fettuccine and broccoli in a serving dish.

2.  Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and sauté briefly.  Add milk or half and half, and pepper.

3.  Simmer, uncovered, for 10 – 12 mintes or until thick, stirring frequently.  When sauce has reached desired consistency, stir in Parmesan cheese.

4.  Add cooked chicken to Alfredo sauce and heat through.  Pour over noodles and broccoli……

Pour on Alfredo sauce and chicken.  Mix together.

Pour on Alfredo sauce and chicken. Mix together.

Transfer to serving dish and serve with additional Parmesan to grate on at the table.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

After having made this recipe I would make these changes next time around:  add 2 Tablespoons flour to the melted butter before adding the milk to help the sauce thicken up more;  add some shredded Asiago to the Parmesan for a stronger cheese flavor. You could also use heavy cream in place of milk for a much richer sauce. This is definitely a fantastic meal, one that reheats well in the microwave the next day.

SOURCE:   The Girl Who Ate Everything