Tag Archives: broccoli

Rasta Pasta

1-recipe

In the pursuit of new and better low-carb substitutes, I recently acquired a Veggetti slicer for the tidy sum of $14 plus tax. I am generally suspicious of “As Seen On TV” products, and not without reason. However, the Veggetti has been well worth its price. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables, which can slice them into thick or thin strings depending on which end you use.

Here’s a picture of what the sliced vegetables look like:

4-spiral_squash

For this recipe, I substituted yellow squash for spaghetti. I used the “thin” end of the Veggetti to slice the squash, and then boiled it for 2 minutes. The result was an excellent substitute, and I plan to use this device quite frequently in the future.

I substituted shelled edamame for the black beans in this recipe. I happened to have it on hand, and it fit the color scheme. :) Definitely making this dish again: the flavors are excellent, and it’s remarkably satisfying for a recipe which contains nothing but vegetables and seasoning!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

2-peppers_onions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

3-edamame

Add the edamame and broccoli, and cook for 1 more minute.

5-finished

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked spiral-sliced squash, vegetable mixture, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

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Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole

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Doctor’s orders: it’s time for us to start cutting carbs. This is fine: I want to do what’s necessary to maintain good health. It does pose a challenge with some of these old recipes, however. Nobody cared about carbs when most of these were written. I’m going to have to find ways to adapt the recipes without sacrificing enjoyment or flavor. The basic truth is that if it’s not tasty, we won’t eat it. Health food shouldn’t make you miserable. Life is too short for that.

Ingredients-wise, today’s recipe is pretty similar to the Chicken and Broccoli Casserole I found earlier. This recipe is in my grandmother’s handwriting, so my guess is that she and my mother created a variation of their own and wrote it down. There are no biscuits on top, and this recipe calls for cream of celery rather than cream of chicken soup. The seasonings are the same, but they differ in proportions. For this casserole, I used leftover shredded chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked previously. We never make it through a whole bird in one evening, so I strip the leftover meat from the carcass and freeze it for just such occasions.

In order to make this recipe low-carb, I replaced the rice with “cauliflower rice”. For those unfamiliar with this substance, it is generated by finely chopping raw cauliflower into tiny chunks, which are texturally similar to rice. I highly recommend using a food processor for this, unless you like spending a great deal of time chopping cauliflower. :) The chopped cauliflower is blanched in boiling water for about 5 minutes, to soften it, and is then served in the place of rice. The flavor is not the same, but the texture is good enough for now – especially in a casserole, where everything gets mixed together anyway.

One key factor to be aware of with cauliflower rice is that it does not behave like rice in the presence of liquid. Rice absorbs liquid and increases in volume as a result; cauliflower rice tends to release liquid in small amounts, and may shrink ever so slightly. Note this carefully, and adjust your own recipes accordingly when using this substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-caulirice

Grease an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish, and spread the cauliflower rice in the bottom.

3-chicken

Place the chicken on top of the cauliflower rice.

4-broccoli

Sprinkle the broccoli on top.

5-sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the cream of celery soup, egg, mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, milk, celery seed, salt, and curry powder.

6-in_casserole

Pour this sauce over the casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

7-finished

Serves 4.

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Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

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Once upon a time, my grandmother, my mother, and I took on the task of organizing the recipe collection. This primarily consisted of trimming old clippings and pasting them onto recipe cards. I was somewhere around 9 years old at the time, and my job was to make sure that each recipe had a title written somewhere. Hence the awful handwriting heading this particular card. :)

There are a few things which automatically set off my suspicions, and mayonnaise in a warm dish is one of them. I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe, however: it is quite delicious! I made a few alterations to the original: since both the broccoli and chicken spend at least 40 minutes in the oven, I do not feel that there is a need to pre-cook them. Using raw broccoli produces a much more satisfying texture, and while pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken could be used in this recipe, it is not required. Also, when I had mixed everything together in the first step, I felt that the ratio of sauce to content was rather high, so I doubled the amount of broccoli. More vegetables are never a bad thing.

A note for the home cook: do not follow the original instructions for the final bake time! If you add the biscuits and then bake for another 25-30 minutes, they will burn. Use your own judgement, and remove the casserole when the biscuits are a nice golden brown. Mine took 13-14 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed chicken breast
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated biscuits
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

3-mix_all

In a 2-quart casserole dish, combine the chicken, broccoli, cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and curry powder, and mix well.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

4-top_cheese

Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the grated Cheddar cheese.

5-add_biscuits

Separate the refrigerated dough into individual biscuits, slice each biscuit in half, and arrange the biscuit halves around the edge of the casserole.

6-topping

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, celery seed, and salt.

7-add_topping

Spread the sour cream mixture over the biscuit halves.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.

8-finished

Serves 4.

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Ham, Cheese, and Broccoli Turnovers

My mom used to make something similar to this when I was growing up. She would take crescent roll dough and roll up a slice of ham, a slice of cheese, and a giant stalk of broccoli in it. There was never a written recipe, just an oral and visual tradition. It was a simple, easy, inexpensive comfort food.

I have written out a recipe, and modified the method slightly: instead of simply rolling things up like a crescent roll, I use the dough to make sealed turnover shapes. This way, the cheese doesn’t run out all over the place while baking. I also use store-bought shredded cheese instead of grating my own; store-bought shredded cheese has a small amount of cornstarch added to prevent clumping, and I find that this prevents the cheese from becoming oily as it melts.

These make a great lunch for kids and adults, and they are quite portable once cooled – if you can wait that long to eat them! They are also fairly healthy: crescent rolls are relatively low in fat, and each turnover contains 2 servings of vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube prepared crescent roll dough (I used Grand’s)
  • 4 ounces deli sliced low-fat ham
  • 4 ounces shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces chopped broccoli florets

Directions:

Preheat the oven according to the crescent roll package directions  (in my case, 350 degrees Fahrenheit).

1-dough_triangle

Unroll the crescent roll dough, and place flat.

2-ham

Place 1 ounce each of the ham,

3-cheese

cheese,

4-broccoli

and broccoli onto each of 4 triangles of dough.

5-sealed_dough

Top each with another triangle of dough, and pinch the edges closed. You will probably have to stretch the dough to make it fit: this is perfectly fine. If it tears, simply pinch off an unused portion and use it to patch the hole.

Place the turnovers on a cookie sheet, and bake according to the crescent roll package directions, or until the dough is golden brown and flaky.

6-finished

Serves 4.

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