10-Minute Broccoli and Tomatoes

When people ask me my favorite vegetable, I have a hard time narrowing it down (yes, people have actually asked me this question…I’m that cool).  In general, I have a hard time picking food on a menu.  Curse of a not-picky-eater.  I think I get at least one eye roll when I go out to eat with friends or Andrew.  Despite countless hours (no exaggeration) perusing menus prior to eating out, I rarely know what I want to order at a restaurant.

10-Minute Broccoli and Tomatoes

It usually goes like this: 

Other person: “Do you know what you want?”
Me: “I don’t know, I’ve narrowed it down to about 5 things.”
Other person: [first eye roll]
Waitress: “Are you guys ready to order?”
Me: [panic-stricken face] “Ummmmmmmmmm, well what are your favorite things on the menu”
Waitress: [Lists off a few favorites, none of which I had noticed previously]
Other person: [second or third eye roll]
Me: “Okay, I’ve narrowed it down to [item A] and [item B]…surprise me”
Other person: [third or fourth eye roll]

This is the curse of loving all food, wanting to try the entire menu, reason why I love tapas restaurants.

So after all is said and done, when I cook at home I try to create recipes that are flavorful and simple.  Flavor does not have to come at a price, high-calorie load, or a lot of fuss for that matter.  This recipe is the perfect example.  Minimal ingredients.  Low-calorie.  Bursting with flavor.  Nutritious combination.  Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, Fiber, and cancer-fighting properties, while tomatoes, provide additional Vitamin C and antioxidants.  This is a great side dish to add to any protein main or to just chow down on as a snack.

10-Minute Broccoli and Tomatoes

P.S. still not sure what my favorite veggie is, but broccoli sure is up there on the list.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 0 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

12 oz broccoli florets, rinsed
10.5 oz cherub tomatoes, rinsed (alternatively any cherry or grape tomatoes)
1 T worcestershire sauce
1-2 t garlic powder (alternatively 2 garlic cloves, minced)
1/2 t dried chili flakes
optional sea salt and cracked pepper

The Rules: 

  1. Over medium-high heat, in a medium-sized skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray, sauté broccoli florets and worcestershire sauce for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add the tomatoes, garlic, and chili flakes to the skillet.  Cook an additional 3-5 minutes until tomatoes are heated, but not bursting.
  3. Adjust seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.  Serve warm. (Note: I did not add salt and pepper)

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

In my opinion the best soup for a cold, rainy day is a hearty one.   The idea for my creamy broccoli cheddar soup stems from my Nana’s love for this soup at Panera.  Every time that any of us grand-kids come home from college, my grandmother tells us to pick a day to go to Panera and without fail Nana always orders a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with a whole-wheat baguette.  Some of my favorite memories with Nana include these lunch outings–catching up with her while enjoying a casual meal.  This is one of the few times Nana will relax and not fuss.

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar SoupLook at how pretty those veggies look! 

Moving to Seattle, I knew that there would be plenty of these chilly days for soups and stews and re-creating this favorite of Nana’s was one of the first recipes I wanted to tackle.  I decided I would attempt to make it as healthy as possible and load it up with yummy veggies.  My boyfriend always gives me a hard time about how I am “justifying” how healthy a recipe is.  His rationale–nothing that tastes this good can be that healthy… so I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to view this recipe as a healthy weeknight meal or a guilty pleasure.

Reduced-guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The fact that I spent most of my life growing up in Wisconsin, the cheese capitol of the U.S., only solidifies that the one ingredient I couldn’t skimp on is the CHEDDAR…I mean cheddar is in the title of the recipe.  I added deli-style, extra-sharp cheddar slices, but you could easily add 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of freshly-grated, extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This soup did not last long in our house and Mr. “This can’t be that healthy” enjoyed seconds and took it to work for lunch the following day…guess it must taste good ;)

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Cheddar SoupHow delicious does that bite look?

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players:

1 T coconut oil
2 carrots, shredded
1 parsnip, shredded
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T whole wheat flour
4 C low-sodium vegetable stock
1 C reduced-fat milk
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed (bite-size pieces)
5 C broccoli florets, rinsed
7 slices extra-sharp cheddar cheese (Alternatively 1 1/2 to 2 C freshly-grated)
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. In a large stock pot, over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil.  Add the carrots, parsnip, onion and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Sprinkle the flour over the sautéed veggies, then whisk in milk and vegetable stock.
  3. Add the potatoes and broccoli and bring soup to a boil.  Replace lid and cook for ~10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.  Turn off the heat and remove pot from the burner.
  4. Transfer half the soup-veggie mixture to a bowl, set aside, and puree the remaining soup with an immersion blender.  (Note: you can puree more or less of the soup depending on the consistency you desire.  I like more broccoli pieces in my soup so I intentionally fish more of the broccoli out and do not puree it)
  5. Add the cheese to the pureed soup and whisk to combine.  Combine the soup-veggie mixture that was set aside with the pureed, cheesy soup base.  Stir gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Salad

Reduced-Guilt Broccoli Salad

This is a salad that somehow shows up at every potluck in the Midwest. I grew up looking forward to potlucks and gatherings for this broccoli salad. That must mean something, since most kids do not look forward to parties for the veggies—especially the broccoli.

Like most Midwest potluck dishes, this salad calls for mayo, but I adapted the dressing so that your waistline does not have to worry. That’s right you can wear regular jeans to a potluck that has this salad—leave the jeggings at home! (I know horrible humor)

Reduced-Guild Broccoli Salad

Teek could not wait for the salad to be done, I think it was the smell of bacon…

I decided to make this recipe with a fall twist so I used dried cranberries and raw pumpkin seeds, but feel free to substitute your favorite dried fruits/nuts.  Also, this salad tastes better the longer it marinades in the dressing, so leave it overnight in the fridge for the best results!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

 Adapted from Older Mommy Still Yummy

The Players:

For the salad
10 oz package pre-washed broccoli florets
½ C diced red onion
¼ C dried unsweetened, dried cranberries (or any dried fruit, i.e. cherries)
¼ C raw pumpkin seeds (or any nut/seed, i.e. sunflower seeds, slivered almonds)
½ C grated sharp cheddar cheese (or any softer cheese you prefer)
2 pieces of turkey bacon (or regular bacon)

For the dressing
¼ C greek yogurt
¼ C reduced fat mayo
¼ C sugar
2 T red wine vinegar (or any vinegar you have on hand)
Fresh cracked black pepper

The Rules:

  1. Combine the broccoli florets, red onion, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and cheese in a medium-large bowl.
  2. Microwave 2 pieces of turkey bacon for 90 seconds (or per cooking instructions on package). Cut into pieces similar in size to the diced onion. Add to the salad mix.
  3. In a small bowl combine ingredients for the dressing and mix well.
  4. Pour the dressing over the broccoli salad. Coat well using a rubber spatula to ensure that dressing covers each broccoli floret.
  5. Cover with lid and place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours, preferably over night.