Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oven Roasted Broccoli

This recipe is from Alton Brown (host of "Good Eats", one of my favorite cooking shows). I really like it- it's so much different than steamed broccoli, which is how I normally cook it. Even my sister, who HATES broccoli, has admitted that this isn't too bad. :) It's basically a roasted broccoli, with garlic & parmesan. Delish! (Original source found here)

Before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients, you toast the bread crumbs by themselves

Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, and slice the stalk into 1/8" thick slices

Mix the broccoli, bread crumbs, olive oil, salt & pepper, then bake

Oven Roasted Broccoli
Printable version here

*Note- this amount makes about 6 servings. To cut it in half, use one head of broccoli, half the amount of the rest of the ingredients, and use an 8x8 or 9x9 inch dish.

2 heads broccoli, florets chopped into bite-sized pieces & stalks cut into 1/8" slices, rinsed
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs*
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp. table salt)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (or cheddar) cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425º. Begin cutting broccoli while oven is heating. Pour breadcrumbs into a 9x13 metal baking dish. Toast for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch carefully, because they go from pale to dark brown very quickly.

2. Combine broccoli, olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper in a bowl; add toasted bread crumbs & stir. Pour back into baking dish and return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, then bake 3-4 more minutes. Remove from oven and mix in the grated cheese. Best when served immediately.

* Panko bread crumbs are a lighter, crispier version of regular bread crumbs. You could substitute the regular version if that's what you have.

Why I love it? It's tasty, since it has garlic & Parmesan cheese in it. Roasting it gives it a good texture- it's cooked, but never mushy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chicken & Pineapple Teriyaki

Chicken teriyaki is a dinner that seems easy enough to make (it's just rice, chicken, and sauce), but for the longest time I couldn't get it right. The sauce makes such a difference with this meal, and it's hard finding a good bottled teriyaki sauce. Well, I'm thrilled to now have a recipe to make this exactly how I like it!

I found a teriyaki sauce recipe in an old Cook's Illustrated magazine I had laying around. I kept not making it because I didn't have one of the ingredients (mirin, a sweet cooking wine)... but once I found that (at Safeway), I have made & enjoyed this recipe several times!

You could serve this several ways. How I made it tonight was with baked brown rice, and sauteed pineapple and chicken. You could definitely grill the pineapple and chicken instead, omit the pineapple if you don't like it, or add other ingredients (like diced red bell pepper). This makes enough sauce for my family (2 adults & 3 kids), but you could certainly double the sauce if you wanted more. Enjoy!

Chicken & Pineapple Teriyaki
Printable version here

1 tbsp. canola oil
Pineapple chunks (half a fresh pineapple, diced, or one large can, drained)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Cooked rice

Sauce ingredients
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp.)
1 tbsp. mirin
1/4 tsp. cornstarch

1. Prepare baked brown rice (if using). Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan. In a separate small bowl, combine mirin and cornstarch, then pour that into the saucepan. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer and cook until it begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

2. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot, pour in the pineapple chunks. Saute for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. You're trying to heat the pineapple and bring out some of its natural juices. Remove to a bowl, and cover with foil.

3. Pour a little more oil in the pan if it seems dry, then add the cubed chicken breasts. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through. Add the cooked pineapple and a spoonful of the teriyaki sauce and stir to combine.

4. Put rice on the plates, top with chicken/pineapple mixture, then drizzle teriyaki sauce over the top. Serve extra sauce on the side, if desired.

Why I love it? It's my favorite teriyaki sauce ever! It's not too sweet or too salty. Plus you know it's fresh, and you can make exactly the amount you need! I just love the pineapple in it, too. It adds a sweet, juicy flavor.

Plus, this is a very healthy dish! It has protein, fiber, good carbs, vitamin C (pineapple), and is very low in fat! You can't buy chicken teriyaki that's this yummy & good for you!

*One last thing- if you aren't up for making the sauce yourself, my recommendation for bottled sauce is this kind. It also scored decently in Cook's Illustrated taste tests. I got mine at WinCo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chicken Nuggets

Lately I've been having fun taking a food I've never made from scratch before (or even though it was possible), searching for a recipe, and making it. Today that recipe was chicken nuggets! I've made baked chicken strips before, but never like this, with ground up meat. The chicken consistency was similar to McDonald's nuggets, but these ones tasted fresher and I'm sure have a ton less ingredients. (I just checked- these have 8 ingredients, the McDonald's ones have 28. Yikes!)

They passed the taste test of my 5 year old chicken-nugget-fiend! I liked them too, as did my other 2 kids. I made a half batch of this recipe and it was the perfect amount for us. I'm not sure that they would reheat well. If I ever get around to trying that, I'll update here.

Basically- these are very good chicken nuggets, healthier than ones you can buy, but they take a little time to make and it dirties quite a few dishes. But if you're like me and want to experiment, then by all means, try these! :) I don't have time to type it up right now, but the recipe is from here. I followed it exactly except for making a half batch (and I omitted the parsley flakes). Mine took 5 minutes to cook on each side.

Frying them in my new cast iron dutch oven

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ham & Broccoli Casserole

This recipe is one of the oldest ones I have- as in, I specifically remember eating it when I was a kid. Growing up, broccoli was my "most tolerated" vegetable, so I was much happier to be served this than other dinners (that included things like corn, which everyone else liked and I hated). It's a pretty flexible meal, and I don't really measure things when I make it.

The kids like this one, because it's similar to mac & cheese, and I like that it has protein & a vegetable in it! It's ready in about an hour, start to finish.

Ham & Broccoli Casserole
Printable version here

1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 oz. cooked diced ham
7 oz. macaroni (approx.),
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can cream of celery (or a half batch of this)
1 tbsp. mustard
1/4 cup bread crumbs

1. Cook noodles and steam broccoli, until both are al dente- tender, but not too soft.*

2. Mix all ingredients (except bread crumbs) in a large bowl, and pour into an ungreased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish (such as a 9x9 inch pan). Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs.

3. Bake uncovered at 350º for 20 minutes or until hot & bubbly.

*I haven't tried this, but next time I think I'll add the broccoli to the boiling noodles, when the noodles have about 5 minutes left. Normally I prefer to steam broccoli, but I think it would be fine to save a pot and cook it this way. I'll update this when I try it (or let me know how it works if you try it!).

Why I love it? It's pretty easy, and the kids eat it! I made it because I had some leftover ham to use up. I like that the mustard helps the sauce to be a little tangy. Someday I'll figure out how to make this without using the canned cheddar soup, but at least it's not too processed of a dinner. Some days you just need something quick! :)