Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Broccoli

Simple (but Delicious!) Roasted Broccoli

Looking for a way to spice up your veggie repertoire without going totally overboard? Is steaming your broccoli just not doing it for you anymore? Well, I’ve got an idea for you — and it’s one that our family has been loving for the last couple of weeks. Yes, including Nora — broccoli is one of the relatively few foods she will eat (raw or cooked) with gusto these days.*

* Although, preschoolers being what they are, I’m sure that will change soon enough.

Roasting broccoli takes a little longer than steaming it, but not by much, and it’s worth it. It imparts a great, almost caramelized flavor, and you can just toss it in the oven with whatever else you’ve got on, so it’s not exactly time-consuming. Plus, adding a little fat to your veggies (here in the form of olive oil) helps your body absorb all those nutrients, and makes them tastier to boot. It’s a win-win!

We had roasted broccoli the other night with ultimate baked potatoes, and it made for the perfect, simple weeknight meal.

Simple Roasted Broccoli

This preparation is so simple it almost seems silly to make it into a recipe… but it’s too good not to share!

Roasted Broccoli
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Spread the broccoli in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing at least once to ensure even browning. Remove when bright green and starting to brown in spots, but still crisp.


Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

I am starting to love twice-baked potatoes. Not the smallest reason is that they are easy to make ahead and then finish off right before dinner time. When I saw Kitchen Treaty’s recipe for Greek yogurt and chive twice-baked potatoes, I wanted to try them ASAP, and then I stumbled on a baked potato casserole recipe on Pinterest, and the rest is history. I made my very own Frankenstein version combining these dishes, and it was perfect.

Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes

The Greek yogurt, aside from adding creaminess to the filling, also packs a protein punch, and it’s tasty to boot. Add some sharp cheddar (I used Dubliner cheese leftover from my last twice-baked potato adventure, but any good sharp cheese will do), sautéed mushrooms and onions, and broccoli, and we’re in business. I would love to say that I served this as a put-together meal with a side salad or some roasted kale, but, alas, it was a busy night, and the fact that the potatoes already had veggies in the filling won out, and I just called it a complete meal in itself.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus additional for oiling pan
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1½ cups sharp cheddar, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil a large casserole dish, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, and arrange then cut-side down in the dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Flip the potatoes, pierce them with a fork and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, caramelize the onion. In a large sauté pan, melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil and cook the onion over medium heat for until soft and translucent. Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  4. Return the heat to medium and add the garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and saute for a minute or two more.
  5. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop most of the flesh out, leaving about ¼ inch so that the potato skin holds its shape, and place the insides in a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and the Greek yogurt and mash well.
  6. Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar and the onion-mushroom-broccoli mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Scoop the potato mixture back into the potato skins, mounding over. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and arrange the potatoes in the same casserole dish.*
  8. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve warm.
* If you want to make these ahead and finish baking them right before dinner, stop here and refrigerate the potatoes. Simply add about 5 minutes to the cooking time.


I have a messy house

I have something to admit: My house is messy. I just thought you should know.

My darling neighbors were over playing with Nora yesterday, and, in that frantic space in the five minutes before dinner where everything is coming together and everyone wants your attention, I dropped something out of one of my cabinets. The four-year-old, being a four-year-old, pointed out that I had dropped it, and I, being a little short of patience right at that moment, might have responded a bit curtly.

“It’s okay,” she said. “It’s a messy house.”


The thing is, I spend a lot of time cooking, and running after a two-year-old (who doubles as a wrecking ball). But really, those are just excuses. I’d like to have a clean house — really, I would — but I like more to sit down for a few precious minutes at night before I crash in bed.

This has been making the rounds, and it is truth:

Pick Two

(I wish I knew where it originally came from, so I could give proper credit, but I pulled this from Momcom Life’s Facebook page.)

But, the thing is, it bothers me. Because I try to keep a clean house, but life gets in the way. I even have a cleaning schedule, for goodness’ sake! So, for a neighbor kid to catch me at the very messiest moment of the week and make a cutting observation… well, I won’t lie. It hurt. Even if she didn’t mean anything by it, it did.

I am going to take a moment to pat myself on the back, though. I am a good mom. I have a brilliant, sweet, beautiful daughter who gives me hugs and kisses (sometimes), has her alphabet down pat, is fully potty-trained and happy as a clam (usually). I make nutritious and delicious meals for my family nearly every night. I am starting a new career in a tough field and making a go of it (my first honest-to-goodness article in a print magazine is coming out soon!), and I have a wonderful, supportive husband with whom I am madly in love. But yeah, I am stretched a little thin at times.

I’m not perfect. I hope I never put forth the pretension that I am. I’d hate for anyone to think this is one of those glossy “lifestyle” blogs designed to make you feel bad about yourself. I really just like to write, I like to cook and I get a kick out of sharing recipes and stories with you lovely people. That’s it. And I have a messy house. Just thought you ought to know.

As your reward for reading my little sob story (that is, if you haven’t just skipped straight to the goods), please accept this delightful recipe for a fresh-from-the-garden early spring pasta.


I had spinach fettuccine in my pantry, plenty of chard and delicate broccoli crowns in my garden, and even a few baby leeks to add to the mix. I whipped up a quick creamy sauce to tie it all together, and voila! Just ignore the mess in my kitchen, please.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spring Garden Fettuccine
Recipe type: pasta
Serves: 4
  • 8 oz spinach fettuccine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup broccoli crowns
  • 2-3 baby leeks (or 1 regular leek), sliced thinly (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 bunch chard, stems removed and reserved for another use*, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup cream or whole milk
  • ½ cup parmesan, grated, plus additional for serving
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leek and broccoli and stir for a couple of minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the chard to the pan and saute until wilted. Add a splash of the pasta water if the pan seems dry. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan, and then add the flour, stirring until bubbly. Gradually add in the milk, stirring well to remove any lumps.
  4. Allow the mixture to simmer until it thickens slightly, and then turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Add the garlic powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss the pasta with the cream sauce and the chard-broccoli mixture, adding splashes of pasta water if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve topped with additional parmesan, if desired.
* I usually freeze mine and use them in a batch of vegetable stock. Hate to let all those good nutrients go to waste!


Linked up at:

The Peaceful Mom

Quinoa “Fried Rice”

Sometimes Pinterest can be an amazing thing.* The other day I came across a recipe for quinoa “fried rice,” and I knew I had to give it a try. I love quinoa, and it’s such a great sub for rice in this dish, plus it’s another of those “kitchen sink” recipes I love — you can basically throw whatever veggies you have on hand in it.

* Other times it can make you feel like a failure for not doing 57 crafts a week with your kids and making your own pillowcases, but I digress.

Now, the surprising part about this is that I hated fried rice as a kid. Loathed it. My parents would make it for dinner once every couple of weeks (or at least it felt that often), and I could barely bring myself to take a bite. Now, my taste buds have matured a little bit, sure, but I do think this version is helped along by several factors, including the quinoa-for-rice substitution (it’s lighter and fluffier), fresh veggies instead of frozen,** and frying the eggs omelet-style and then dicing them instead of just throwing them in with the rice to scramble. And Sriracha, because that stuff is just awesome on everything vaguely Asian-ish.

** Oh, those frozen stir-fry veggies, how I loathed them! I think a big part of the issue is that there was always bell pepper in there, and I am just not a fan. Sorry Mom and Dad, you know I love you! I must have been absolutely insufferable on the fried rice issue. I’m sure I’ll get my comeuppance eventually.

I took the recipe for a spin the other night, liberally adapting it to what I had on hand and adding some crispy fried tofu on top for extra protein.

quinoa bowl

Goooood stuff.

This is definitely a meal that has earned a place in our weeknight rotation! It’s certainly a nice change of pace from stir fry.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quinoa "Fried Rice"
Cuisine: Asian
  • 2 Tbs canola oil, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups spinach, packed, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4-5 scallions, sliced
  • Crispy fried tofu (optional)
  • Sriracha, for serving
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat in a small nonstick pan. Scramble the eggs in a small bowl and pour into the pan. Cook without stirring until the top begins to set, about 3-4 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and cool, then dice and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute more, stirring, and then add the broccoli, carrots and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the other vegetables are just becoming tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce and ginger and stir to coat.
  5. Stir in the quinoa, diced egg and scallions, and stir until warm.
  6. Serve topped with crispy fried tofu, if desired, and Sriracha to taste.


Linked up at:

The Peaceful Mom

Of Tomatoes, Broccoli and First Freezes

Although it seems very odd to be writing about this now, with our windows thrown open to let in the breezy mid-60s weather, we recently had our first freeze here in Central Texas. For two straight nights, the mercury dipped below 32, and, though we did our best to cover them with blankets and shield them from the worst of it, all of our tomato plants bit the dust, their much-anticipated second wind in fall cruelly cut short.

dead tomatoes

That’s really sad.

I salvaged all the near-ripe tomatoes I could (yep, weather really swings that quickly here), but it’s finally time to rip out those plants and turn over the soil.

In every ending, though, there is a new beginning. I peeked into the leafy interior of my broccoli plants, “babies” I planted as seeds back in September, in the next bed over. They have spent the past three months growing tall and strong and leafing out, with no actual broccoli in sight… but look what I spied!

baby broccoli

Baby broccoli!

How had I managed not to notice these babies making their appearance? A couple of them were already ready for harvesting! So, of course, they had to make it onto our dinner table in some form that evening. Since I was short on time (and, let’s face it, creativity), I threw them into a stir fry with some carrots, crispy tofu and some other odds and ends.

As fresh as can be.

Fresh and easy.

I’m sure it was no more delicious than any other random weeknight stir fry I’ve thrown together over the past year or so, but knowing our very own home-grown broccoli was in there sure did make it feel that way!

Pasta with Creamy Broccoli Pesto

Wait… broccoli pesto? Yep. It’s good, I promise!

I object at least a smidge to calling it a “pesto,” since it doesn’t have basil or other herbs or nuts, but pesto is actually a somewhat reasonable description of how the sauce turns out.

Pesto-like, no?

It’s delicious, plus it’s a great way to sneak some extra veggies in, especially if your kiddo — or significant other, as the case may be — objects to the texture of broccoli by itself. Not the case for either of mine, fortunately (as the hubby would want me to point out).


This is definitely the tastiest use of broccoli I have come across, and it was so simple to make. I steamed the broccoli and made the pesto while Nora was napping, and finished it off in a quick 10 minutes at dinner time. Score!

Did Nora like it?

Two-fisting it.

Um, yeah. I’d say so. Eat your veggies, kids!

Pasta with Creamy Broccoli Pesto
Adapted from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 lb broccoli
1/2 lb dried cappellini or spaghetti, preferably whole wheat
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped*
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 Tbs heavy cream or milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus additional for serving

Remove the broccoli florets from the stem and peel the stem with a vegetable peeler. Peel the stem with a vegetable peeler and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Steam the broccoli until just tender (5-6 minutes) and set aside.

Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water** and cook until about one minute less than fully cooked. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.

Wipe out the pasta pot so that you can use it again. In the bottom of the pot, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the onion and reduce the heat to medium-low, sauteing it until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the steamed broccoli, salt, and red pepper and turn the heat back up to medium-high, cooking it with the onion and garlic for a few additional minutes. Pour the cream over the mixture and let it cook for 30 seconds.

Transfer the broccoli mixture to a blender or food processor, scraping up the creamy bits at the bottom of the pan. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and pulse until finely chopped with a creamy pesto-like texture.

Add the broccoli mixture back to the pot with the drained pasta and a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. Cook over medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing the mixture so that the sauce evenly coats the pasta. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Adjust the seasonings to taste, and serve topped with additional Parmesan.

* You could always substitute half an onion, but I didn’t have an onion in the house (shocker!).

** You can re-use the broccoli steaming water if you are not making the pesto ahead of time

Happy blogiversary to me!

It has been a year since my first post. How time flies! But, at the same time, it seems like I’ve been writing this blog forever. Funny, that’s just about how I felt on Nora’s first birthday. I simultaneously couldn’t believe she was already a year old, and felt like I had been her mommy forever and couldn’t imagine life without her.

Not that I’m likening my child to my blog… Well, maybe just a little bit. Taking care of both of them has become a labor of love. Nora, and writing about food and life with Nora and other miscellany, have both brought richer meaning to my life.

In honor of my first blogiversary, I am making a list, in no particular order, of my 10 favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy, and please let me know if you’ve tried any of the recipes out — I’m always looking for creative feedback.

1. Black bean burgers — finally!

I have to include this one, solely because it took so long to puzzle out what I think is the perfect recipe. Who needs frozen Gardenburgers when you’ve got these babies… and even quinoa burgers for a change of pace now and then.

2. 10 Easy Salad Ideas. This has been a really popular post, and I’m happy that people seem to have found inspiration for lunches here. Kudos to my friend Melissa for making a special request for this post, and for test-driving several of the recipes.

3. Pasta with Sun Gold tomatoes.

I don’t know what it is about this pasta, but it is just about my favorite tomato dish ever. The Sun Gold tomatoes (which grow like crazy in our back yard) have the sweetest, mildest flavor, and the sauce is so silky and delicious.

4. Grilled pizzas.

I’m psyched that my whole wheat dough came out well, and I love being creative with toppings. Grilled pizzas just may be my favorite meal!

5. Vanilla jasmine martini.Of all the drinks I’ve tried over the past year (and with Cocktail Thursday, there have been a lot!) this is my favorite. It’s such a lovely, elegant flavor.

6. Vegetarian cassoulet.

I just like that this is a classic dish, vegetarianized… and not in a way that leaves you missing the meat. I also love that it’s winter comfort food, and that it takes a long time (but most of it non-active time) to make.

7. On Choosing. I have to include this one for sentimental reasons. I spoke from the heart, and I’m glad that my daughter will someday be able to look back and know how I came to live this particular part of my life the way I have.

8. Pumpkin pancakes.

So good. Such excellent, excellent breakfast-y goodness. I can’t wait until it’s fall again.

9. Grown-up mac and cheese.

I am a noted mac-and-cheese enthusiast, and this is my favorite. It’s all grown up… and delicious. I have to mention, as an aside, that Nora has started asking for “mac” by name, at least a couple of times a day. She truly is my daughter.

10. Broccoli cheddar bites.

I haven’t made a batch of these in a while, but I really should. Nora loves them, and I love to sneak a couple off her plate, too! They’re super-simple, freezeable, and one of my most popular recipes.

It has been quite a year, and going back through these posts has really brought it all back. Thanks for coming on this journey with me, and here’s to more years to come!

Black bean burgers and “crazy slaw”

The other night, it was reasonably nice outside, and I had some random veggies from the CSA box to finish up, so I decided dinner needed to be black bean burgers and a slaw of some sort.

I’ve been working on perfecting my recipe for black bean burgers for a while now, and, while I’m close, it still needs a little extra something. They just always turn out too mushy. Any suggestions? I was thinking of adding some cheese, an egg, or maybe a grain like farro… just spitballin’ here. I would welcome any thoughts… I promise I’ll share the recipe as soon as it’s perfected, but it’s just not quite ready for prime time yet.

I will say, though, that with the addition of a little cumin and some fresh hot and sweet peppers from our garden, the taste of these burgers was amazing. Add some homemade pickles, and we’re just about there!

Oh yum.

As for the slaw… well, it was perfect. I used this recipe as a base, but I had a couple of different veggies on hand that I just went ahead and threw in. The hubby called it “crazy slaw,” and I think that’s appropriate. The combination of broccoli, cabbage, and fennel was a great one, though, and the dressing was delicious.


It kept well in the fridge, and Nora devoured it, so I do believe I’ll be trying this again soon! A cold veggie side dish is always good in the summer, and anything that gets the kiddo to eat more vegetables happily is fine by me. The hubby and I both agreed that it would be even greater with some sliced almonds, so I’ve added those to the recipe, but it’s perfectly fine without them, too.

Broccoli and Cabbage Slaw with Fennel
Loosely based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 head of broccoli
1 small head of cabbage
1/2 onion
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs shallot, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
salt and pepper

Trim the broccoli and cut it into large chunks. Core and quarter the cabbage, and peel and quarter the onion. Use a mandoline or food processor to cut the prepared veggies into thin slices, or you can do it by hand. Toss the sliced vegetables with about a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, and Transfer to a colander to drain for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, shallot, and parsley together in a smaller bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Press the vegetables out with a paper towel and transfer them back to the large bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, add the sliced almonds, and toss well. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Clean-out-the-fridge stir fry

Okay, let’s be honest: All stir-frys are clean-out-the-fridge stir frys. Or maybe that’s just the way I cook them. In any case, with a move just a few days away (yikes!) it was time to use up what was left in my produce drawer. Most of it was leftover from my last share from Full Circle Farm (*sniff*), and with bok choy, kohlrabi, and Chinese broccoli, a stir fry was the obvious choice.

Delicious and nutritious.

There really isn’t a recipe for this thing. Basically, I used what I had lying around: Chinese broccoli, kohlrabi, bok choy, and leeks, plus some carrots added at the end for some extra color and variety. I didn’t have any fresh carrots, so I appropriated a couple of lightly steamed baby carrots from Nora’s freezer stash. I don’t think she minded — there’s still enough for another serving for her before we skip town, plus she got some of the leftovers for lunch the next day.

For the sauce, I threw together about 2 Tbs of soy sauce, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp rice vinegar, a couple of cloves of minced garlic, and a pinch of ginger while the veggies were cooking. As always, I made some crispy fried tofu to throw in at the end with the sauce, and topped the whole thing off with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Served on a bed of brown rice cooked with veggie broth,* it was a great weeknight meal.

*This is a great trick to add more flavor.

While I am liking the creativity that cleaning out the pantry and refrigerator requires of me, I am pretty ready to get settled in my new kitchen, get started with my new CSA, and get back to my normal cooking life. Soon enough!

Broccoli-cheddar skillet flan

I was rushing around the other day trying to come up with dinner for the evening (plan ahead, you fool!), and realized I had all the ingredients for broccoli-cheddar skillet flan. Well, all the ingredients but one — frozen hash browns. That was fine, though. The hubby said he could use a walk anyway, so he headed down to the corner market and picked up some potatoes. Fresh is always better, right?

Yes indeed.

Rather than use the frozen hash browns the original recipe called for, I just mandolined (or actually, had my sous chef/spouse mandoline) the potatoes. I used plenty of fresh broccoli and green cauliflower from our CSA share, plus some great sharp cheddar I had left over from my kale and delicata salad, and the result was delicious.

I always love a good excuse to use my cast iron skillet, in any case. Best purchase ever.

Besides being a lovely dinner for the grown-ups, Nora loved the leftovers for her dinner the next night, too. I think it’s pretty much the perfect baby dinner — plenty of healthy protein, veggies and carbs. On second thought, that makes it a pretty good grown-up dinner, too!

Broccoli-Cheddar Skillet Flan
Based on this recipe

6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/3 cup grated parmesan
3 Tbs olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 lb potatoes,* mandolined or thinly sliced
2 heads broccoli, cauliflower, and/or romanesco, cut into small florets

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined, then whisk in cheddar.

Heat the oil in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté shallot, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add the sliced potatoes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Spread the potatoes evenly in the bottom of the skillet and cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and spread the broccoli evenly over the potatoes, then pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the parmesan. Bake until set 2 inches from the edge but still slightly wobbly in center, 12 to 15 minutes.

Turn on the broiler and broil 6 inches from the heat until the top is set, puffed, and golden brown.

* Use small, thin-skinned potatoes, well-scrubbed, or otherwise peel them.

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