Tag Archives: broccoli

Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix


During the holidays families often have to split time when their adult children are married. Our family is no different than any other family. Every year we share the kids with the in-laws. Last year my daughter-in-law came up with a great idea so that my hubby and I did not feel left out on Thanksgiving day since it was not our turn to host the family. Instead of having a big Thanksgiving celebration with all the kids and grand-kids, we had a big after Thanksgiving family leftovers celebration.


All the ladies were charged with coming up with a dish using leftovers from Thanksgiving. Besides being able to spend time with my kids and mom I got a few new ideas to share on my blog. Nat created a tasty pasta dish from leftover steamed broccoli. This was a very simple dish but was packed with flavor from the garlic, white wine and parmesan cheese. I knew Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix would be a good recipe for my blog when my youngest grandson jumped right in and gobbled up the pasta. Who could argue with a pasta connoisseur like little Ant?


Thanks Nat for creating a new family tradition and a way to still share the holidays with our kids and grand-kids.


Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix


1 box gemelli pasta

4 garlic cloves chopped

2 shallots diced

1 small onion diced

1 lemon

3 cups leftover steamed broccoli or 2 lg broccoli heads cut into florets

1 cup white wine

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

4 tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp thyme

Prepare pasta according to package then set aside in a large bowl. Reserve ½ cup pasta water.

Place 6 cups of water along with 1 tbsp of salt and bring to a boil. Blanch broccoli then drain. Place into a cold water bath to stop the broccoli from cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the broccoli water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook 3 – 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute then add garlic. Cook until vegetables begin to brown stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn. Pour in white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli to the pan season with salt and black pepper. Stir to mix then remove from heat.

Pour broccoli mixture to the pasta along with broccoli and pasta water. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and gently toss together.

Optional: Red pepper flakes to add a little kick!

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Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad


Lately, I have been eating a lot of cauliflower which means I have to come up with different ways to fix it so that we don’t get bored with cauliflower. I really like broccoli salad so I thought I would add cauliflower and a few other ingredients to my standard recipe to create a new fresh salad.


The spring and summer seasons call for light flavorful dishes. Cauliflower is big, pretty and plentiful during this time of year. As the seasons progress, cauliflower becomes less expensive so it usually ends up in my shopping cart.


My biggest surprise after making my Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad was that my youngest son really liked it. He can be picky when it comes to eating raw vegetables so I was taken aback when he dipped his fork into the bowl and scooped out some of the salad. His reaction surprised me even more and I suddenly realized I may not have any Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad left to take to work for lunch. No worries. I would rather see T enjoy eating raw veggies than worry about lunch the next day. Besides, I quickly put aside a little salad in a container then put it way back in the frig before hubby and T could polish it off.


This is one recipe I am sure I will be making all summer long. Bring on the BBQ!!! I have a dish I think everyone will love.


Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad


1 large broccoli crown cut into small florets

1 large head of cauliflower cut into small florets

6 slices bacon fried and crumbled

1 cup carrots shredded

1 cup red cabbage shredded

½ cup sour cream

½ cup mayo

½ cup golden raisins

¼ cup Colby jack cheese shredded

½ tbsp seasoned salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

½ tsp sugar

¼ tsp chopped parsley

Combine broccoli, cauliflower and raisins in a large bowl. In a medium bowl blend together sour cream, mayo and seasonings. Pour over veggies and gently mix to coat. Sprinkle with bacon (reserve a little bacon for garnish) and cheese then gently toss.

Chill 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Top with bacon crumbs before serving.


Combine broccoli, cauliflower and raisins in a large bowl. In a medium bowl blend together sour cream, mayo and seasonings. Pour over veggies and gently mix to coat. Sprinkle with bacon (reserve a little bacon for garnish) and cheese then gently toss.

Chill 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Top with bacon crumbs before serving.

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Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Prosciutto


I was talking to a friend recently about cooking and he asked if I had a side dish recipe for broccoli. I just happen to have a broccoli side dish but it was still in my head and not on paper. I figured now was a good time to try it out on my taste testers then share it with my friend and others on dmariedining.com.


Broccoli salad is one of my personal favorites and I always looked forward to eating it when a close friend would make it for parties. However, I never took the time to make this wonderful dish because I did not think my family would eat it. I didn’t want to have a boat load of broccoli salad left over for days if I made it and no one else would try it.


Imagine my surprise when my hubby said he would be willing to taste the salad when he saw me preparing the recipe. My hubby is not a big fan of mayonnaise which is another reason I thought he might not like broccoli salad. Although broccoli is the star of the dish it all comes together with the mayo. Fortunately, the broccoli salad recipe I came up with is not too creamy and is complimented by the mayonnaise.


I must say I held my breath while my hubby tasted the broccoli salad. Again, I was pleasantly surprised when he said he really liked it. He especially liked the taste of the prosciutto with the broccoli and the slight sweetness of the golden raisins.


For me, the best thing about broccoli salad is that it is good no matter the season. Winter, spring, summer or fall this is a recipe that works all the time.


Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Prosciutto

1 ½ fresh broccoli florets
1 tbsp red onion diced
4 bacon slices
3 oz prosciutto
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup miracle whip
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade (Italian dressing optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Juice from 1 lemon

Prepare 4 cups of cold water with ice cubes in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a small frying pan. Add prosciutto and lightly fry until crisp. Drain, chop and set aside.

Bacon can be oven fried, crisped in the microwave or fried on the stove. Drain, chop and set aside.

Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli florets and cook for 3 minutes. Remove broccoli and immediately place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Let sit for a couple of minutes then drain. Remove any stray pieces of ice.

In a large bowl add broccoli and pour salad dressing over the broccoli. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently until well blended. Chill for 30 minutes or overnight. Stir salad before serving.

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A New Kind of Potato Salad

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Who said creamy was the best way to make potato salad? I did until I started focusing on new ways to prepare some of my old recipes. I love potatoes in general so potato salad is also a favorite. However, I had to find a simple way to cut down on calories but still have a great tasting dish when all was said and done.

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I think (and so does my family) that I hit the mark with my “New Kind of Potato Salad”. It still has layers of flavor and has many of the ingredients you would put into a creamy potato salad. Believe it or not, if it were not for the mayonnaise in potato salad it would be considered quite healthy. Eggs provide protein and essential amino acids. One stalk of celery has about 10 calories so eat up. Potatoes? Well, potatoes are not the villain most folks think they are regarding maintaining good health. Actually, certain potatoes have only 26 calories and are considered a complex carbohydrate which is better than simple carbohydrates like sugar or bread.

Potato Salad 8_1

Eating potatoes the right way will help make you feel full quicker and will satisfy your taste buds. So, put away the mayonnaise and pick up Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade. This is a light delicious dressing that adds tons of flavor to every dish I include it in. Potatoes can act like a sponge and will soak up the dressing so you can limit additional salt. Limiting salt is always a good thing.

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If you are a potato lover like me but want to find a healthier way to eat them, try my New Kind of Potato Salad. I think you will pleasantly surprised.

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A New Kind of Potato Salad

1 lb red potatoes cut into bite size pieces
2 stalks of celery sliced
4 boiled eggs chopped
1 12 oz bag broccoli florets
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp brown mustard
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
1 tsp dill
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp Adobo seasonings
½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
½ cup Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade

Add eggs and a pinch of salt to a pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from stove and run cold water over eggs. Let cool for 5 minutes then chop and set aside.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add Broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Remove broccoli and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Drain broccoli from ice bath and set aside. Bring broccoli water to a boil again and add potatoes. Cook until fork tender. Be sure not to over cook the potatoes or they will get mushy when you mix the ingredients. Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. Whisk together the brown mustard and salad dressing then pour the mixture over the potatoes while they are hot so that the potatoes will absorb some of the dressing. Let the potatoes rest for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir gently. Serve warm or slightly chilled.

Sprinkle additional cheese on top if you really like cheese.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

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Sunday dinners are the one time most families have a chance to sit down together and enjoy each others company. Growing up, my family was no different. Every Sunday my aunt and uncle, Doll and Johnnie, would come over to our house for dinner. My mom and aunt would take turns making the Sunday meal and since both are great at cooking I looked forward to those dinners. During the summer there was one particular meal my mom and aunt Doll liked to make that was easy and refreshing. Chicken and broccoli casserole topped with bread crumbs and paired with a green jello mold with fruit cocktail.

chicken and broccoli 9_1

I never knew how they came up with the combination of a casserole and green jello but for some reason it worked. I think it was the whipped cream and fruit cocktail in the jello that won me over. What kid doesn’t like fruit cocktail and whipped cream? Plus, the jello was cool and refreshing in contrast to the hot bubbly chicken and broccoli.

chicken and broccoli casserole 8_1

My version of their chicken and broccoli casserole has a little less fat but still has lots of flavor. There are simple substitutions you can make to cut down on the calories. Instead of using mayonnaise in the sauce I use cream of mushroom soup along with cream of chicken soup. Don’t let the word “creamed” scare you. You can always find a reduced fat or fat free version of the creamed soups. Also, leave off the bread crumbs (they were browned in lots of melted butter) and use a light shredded cheese as the topping. To add more flavor to the dish I stir in sauteed mixed mushrooms (button, shiitake and portobello).

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This may not be my mamma’s chicken and broccoli but it is a wonderful way to make your next Sunday dinner memorable.

 Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

4 boneless/ skinless chicken thighs
1 pkg chicken tenders
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
4 cups egg noodles
1 12 oz bag fresh cut broccoli
1 stalk of celery chopped
1 small onion sliced
½ cup shredded monterey jack cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¾ cup 2% milk
½ cup ½ and ½ milk
1 pkg mixed mushrooms (button, shiitake, portobello)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add a pinch of salt to 4 quarts of water and bring it to a boil. Add bag of broccoli to boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain broccoli after it cools and set aside.

Bring water to a boil again. Add egg noodles and cook according to package. Drain and set aside.

Rinse chicken and place in 6 cups of water with salt, pepper, celery and onions. Cook until done. Let chicken cool then cut into bite size pieces.

Saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp of melted butter until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl whip together soups, parsley and milk until smooth.  Add additional milk if sauce is too thick.  Soups should be slightly loose for pouring.

Spray a rectangular casserole dish with cooking spray. Place egg noodles in dish and then layer with broccoli chicken, mushrooms and ½ of the monterey jack cheese and ½ of the cheddar cheese. The remaining cheese will be used for the topping. Pour soup over the layers and gently mix. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes until cheese has melted and top is slightly browned.