Choppin Broccoli: Easy Broccoli Cheese Pie

Easy Broccoli Cheese Pie

Anytime I make anything with broccoli I secretly sing Choppin Broccoli from the SNL skit by Dana Carvey in my head. It’s just one of those things that got embedded in my brain as a teen and may never leave. I may be singing it more often because this recipe was so easy that I will be making it again and again. You could easily substitute any vegetable or cheese in this simple recipe, I believe that there was something like this called impossible pie on the Bisquick box back in the day, again more childhood memories.

Easy Broccoli Cheese Pie

2 cups fresh Broccoli and/or Broccoli Slaw (this is a great recipe to use up whatever veggies are left in the fridge)

1/2 c chopped onion

1 T minced garlic

1 T oil

1 1/2 c shredded cheese, I used Smoked Gruyere and cheddar

1/2 c Bisquick

1 cup milk

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400. Add oil to a med/large sauté pan and heat over med high. Add broccoli and onion sauté for 4 minutes or until onion and broccoli are soft but not falling apart, add garlic, stir and heat 1 more minute.

Easy Broccoli Cheese Pie

Add Broccoli mix to a pie pan, and mix with 1 c of the shredded cheese. In a separate bowl mix, Bisquick, Milk and eggs. Pour over Broccoli cheese mix.Easy Broccoli Cheese Pie

Bake for about 35 minute or until golden brown and set. add remaining cheese to the top and return to oven, cook for about 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Easy Broccoli Cheese Pie

And just in case you don’t have the ear worm yet, here is Dana Carvey performing Choppin Broccoli with an orchestra on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Your Welcome.

The Veggie Mother-load: Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

As I noted in an earlier post, we are trying to eat less meat in our house. Which is fine with me, I love veggies, all kinds. However, I am finding that a lot of the vegetarian dishes just aren’t as filling as the good old meat and potato dinners. I also don’t want to just add a ton of other fats or bread just to compensate. So I was looking for some new ideas and a friend let me borrow her Forks Over Knives Cookbook. I loved it so much, I bought my own. The recipes in the book are no fat, vegan strict, uber healthy which is great and all but I feel like our baby steps are at least in the right direction and I know me (and my family) and there is no way I could stay on that strict of a diet. However, I love the ideas in the Forks Over Knives cookbook so I have been using their recipes and then tweaking them a little to fit my families needs and tastes. I am a sucker for cream sauces so when I saw their recipe for the much healthier Cauliflower Béchamel I was sold. I made a filling and delicious Vegetable Lasagna with it. Ok I may have cheated a little with some cheese on top but like I said baby steps.

Cauliflower Bechamel ( adapted from Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe)

3c Cauliflower florets

Unsweetened plain almond milk

1 med yellow onion chopped

2 cloves chopped garlic

2 t minced thyme

1/4c chopped fresh basil

1/4 t nutmeg

salt and pepper

Add Cauliflower to a large sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until super tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile sauté the chopped onion in a small pan until soft with a little olive oil, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. 

Add cauliflower, onion mixture, thyme, basil, nutmeg and salt and pepper to a food processor or blender. Pulse until Cauliflower is broken up, add Almond milk about 1-2 T at a time, pureeing in between until it has a smooth and creamy texture, about that same as a ricotta mixture. Taste and season again with salt and pepper if needed.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Use this sauce for stuffed shells, lasagna, or even as a base for macaroni and cheese. 

To make the Lasagna, start with a layer of the Cauliflower Bechamel sauce, then layer cooked Lasagna Noodles, Sauce, Vegetables ( I used thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, shredded carrots, spinach and halved grape tomatoes), and continue finishing with the sauce on top, and here is where I also added some shredded cheese. Cook at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes and then serve.

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

Vegetable Lasagna with Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

 

Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

IMG_9150

 

Here’s a little trick, use smoked paprika to get the smokey taste of bacon without the mess, fat or calories. Also great to use in vegetarian dishes. I used it here with this roasted Cauliflower to enhance the roasted taste and add some depth of flavor.

Smokey Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower broken into florets

1-2 T olive oil ( or substitute your favorite oil)

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t salt

1/2 t-1t smoked paprika

Preheat your oven to 400. Toss Cauliflower with oil and lemon juice until well coated. then sprinkle on salt and paprika and toss again. lay on a baking sheet and put in the oven. cook for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and starts to brown.

 

Leftover Avocados ?… Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Sometimes I am terrible at judging how much produce to buy, I usually err on the side of too much. This has happened to me several times with avocados. Avocados have such a short window of perfect ripeness so I am sometimes forced to make something on the fly with my extras. This is how this recipe happened today at lunch. Now I may purposely buy too many avocados so that I can treat myself to this decadent creamy dish more often. Also depending on what type of pasta you use this dish is vegan friendly, and if your not vegan and/or don’t have almond milk in the house you can easily substitute cow’s milk.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

1 avocado peeled, and chopped, pit removed

3 T almond or cow’s milk

2 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/3 c grape tomatoes halved

2 c cooked pasta of your choice

more salt and pepper to taste

Place the avocado, milk, garlic, and salt in pepper in a bowl and blend into a puree with a hand held blender, or toss those ingredients into a regular blender until smooth. Toss with warm drained pasta and tomatoes, season with desired amount of salt and pepper and serve.

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Easy Creamy Avocado Pasta Sauce

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Shh I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. I am slowly replacing some of my families meat laden meals with healthier vegetarian options. Some of us have higher blood pressure and cholesterol than we should  (not naming names). One of my families favorites is taco night, and while we usually use chicken or turkey, I thought why not go all the way and just use beans. Canned refried beans are not the healthiest and my motto is that homemade beats processed any day. My younger son who is starting to take more interest in cooking was up for this challenge so he and I made this tasty recipe that would be great as a side or a filling for tacos, burritos and tostadas.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

2 cans of beans, I used one Pinto and one black. (check the labels here many canned varieties add sugar, salt etc… I used an organic variety that was free of sugar)

1 t olive oil

1/4-1/2 c chopped onions

1 clove garlic chopped

1 t cumin

1 t salt

1 cup vegetable stock ( you can use any stock or water if watching your sodium)

add oil to large skillet over med high heat, add onion and sauté until soft, add garlic and beans and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add stock, cumin and salt. reduce heat to low and cover.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Cover and cook 10-15 minutes over low. Use potato masher to mash beans to desired texture, add more stock if needed.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

Add to your favorite dish or serve as a side.

Healthy Refried Pinto and Black Beans

 

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

No, Im not pregnant but I do love pickles, they are a perfect little snack that packs in a lot of flavor with little calories. They are also great on burgers or any sandwich and so easy to make that you’ll forget about buying them at the store.

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

1 1/2 c water

1 1/2 c apple cider vinegar

2 t chopped garlic

1 jalapeño sliced

1 small yellow onion sliced

5 small thin skinned cucumbers sliced into 1/4 “-1/2” rounds

2 T honey

2T pickling spice

1/2 t dried thyme

1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t salt

1 1/2 t dried dill weed

Pour water and vinegar into a med sauce pan. Add pickling spice, thyme, red pepper, dill, garlic, salt and pepper, bring to a low boil and stir in honey. Turn heat off and let cool.

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Meanwhile layer cucumbers, onions and jalapenos in a glass jar. 

https://hollieshobbies.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/spicy-honey-dills-homemade-refrigerator-pickles/

Add cooled liquid into jar until it covers the cucumbers, put on lid and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. 

Spicy Honey Dills: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Make your plate a little more colorful with this Purple Potato and Bean Salad. Great as a side or a light meatless Summer meal.

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

4 cups small purple potatoes, quartered ( I left the skins on)

1 can white beans, rinsed

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 c red onion, chopped

2 T olive oil

2T red wine vinegar

1 T chopped  fresh cilantro ( or basil)

1/2-1t salt

1/8 t black pepper

Boil potatoes until fork tender, drain and add to a large bowl. Add bean, tomatoes, onions,  toss with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add cilantro and stir.

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Chill and serve.

Purple Potato and Bean Salad

Monster Party Dip

Monster Party Dip

Party time again! This time for my adorable nephew’s 1st birthday, he had a monster theme and I was in charge of an appetizer. I went with a family favorite and old stand by, Spinach Dip but you could add any dip to this cute hollowed out bread bowl.

For the eyes I used toothpicks covered with asparagus stalks then topped them with mushroom caps and inserted black olives into the cap.

Monster Party Dip

For the mouth I cut a red pepper into a tounge and used carrot sticks for the teeth.

Monster Party Dip

and for the arms and feet I used chunks of a separate round loaf of bread and uses the asparagus tips for fingers and toes gut from a radish on his legs. I attached them with toothpicks as well.

Monster Party Dip

 

I think it was a great addition to the Monster Party!

Monster Party Dip

 

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

 

This dish is delicious and decadent. The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any special dinner. They bake in a rich butter sauce so they absorb all of the flavor with none of the fluff of the traditional Sweet Potato and marshmallow casserole. Try this as an elegant alternative this year.

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes peeled and sliced in 1/4 ” rounds

4 T butter

8 0z mascarpone cheese

1 t chopped rosemary

2 T maple syrup

1/2 c milk.

Preheat the oven to 350. Arrange sweet potato slices in layers in an oven proof dish ( I used a 8×8)

Baked Maple Marscapone Sweet Potatoes

 

In a sauce pan melt butter and mascarpone cheese together over medium heat. Add maple syrup, milk and rosemary and stir to combine.

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

 

Pour mixture over potatoes and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve on the plate with a spoonful of the butter sauce from pan over the top.

 

Thanksgiving Turkey Relish Tray

Thanksgiving Turkey Relish Tray

THANKSGIVING TURKEY RELISH TRAY

 

Here is a fun idea for your Thanksgiving vegetable platter or relish tray,arrange the items in the shape of a turkey. This is the one my son made for our dinner last year. It is a great project for kids, tweens, and teens and let’s them contribute to the big dinner. We used pickles, olives, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, celery and carrots. His head is actually a mini orange bell pepper. Be creative and use what you have hand.