Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole

With Father’s Day around the corner (and hopefully warmer weather too) I want to plan a fun menu that everyone will love but won’t be stressful or complicated for me. And really isn’t keeping mommy happy on Father’s Day the most important thing on everyone’s mind? No? That’s just me? Darn. Anywho, since I’m considering something along the lines of Chili Dogs and Cheese Fries for the main and side, I’m thinking I need some kind of vegetable deal to redeem us a bit. But not too much!

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 1

I tried this out this weekend and it was a hit so I’m keeping it for the big day. I added breadcrumbs to the top during the last three minutes of baking. The added crunch made all the difference. I left out the cayenne pepper for the kids sake, though I would have loved to add it and I’m sure that it adds a nice punch.

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 3

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 4Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 2Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 5Also, I didn’t have any cooked rice on hand, so I used 1 cup of instant rice. It only needs five minutes so I could be sure it would have enough time to cook in the short time the casserole spent in the oven. I also used fresh broccoli instead of frozen and it didn’t seem to cause a problem.

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole
Adapted from Sunny Anderson – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for casserole dish
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound shiitake or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey blend
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Special equipment: 1 1/8-quart oval casserole dish
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Butter casserole dish. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter and flour over medium heat until golden in color to make a quick roux. The roux should resemble the color of peanut butter. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, heavy cream and chicken stock. Add broccoli, 1 cup of the cheese and rice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into buttered dish and top with remaining shredded Cheddar. Bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.

During last three minutes, mix a cup of breadcrumbs with 1 to two tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over casserole. Bake a few minutes until golden.

Broccoli Bite

Udon Noodle Soup with Bok Choy and Mushrooms

So, I’m completely addicted to this soup. With summer around the corner, I’m getting a little worried. I’m not a huge fan of soup in the summer, but there’s something about this one. I think I can actually see myself eating it year-round.

The plan was to post my version of Bok Choy and Mushroom Soup, which I typically make with rice noodles. One visit to the Cured by Bacon blog and I’m realising how much better my soup can be. First the chili oil…then a Kaffir lime leaf…by the time I hit poached egg I was done for. I had already planned to substitute the rice noodles for udon so reading his post was perfect timing.

Udon 1

Note: I couldn’t find the lime leaf so I used the zest of one lime instead. It still infused the lime flavour nicely.

Udon Noodle Soup with Bok Choy and Mushrooms
Adapted from Cured by Bacon

Ingredients

  • 3 oz udon noodles
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup of bok choy, sliced thick
  • 1 lime, zest and sliced into wedges
  • ½ cup sliced button mushrooms
  • ½ cup sliced shitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 cube of fresh ginger (peeled 1″ square piece)
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions

In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the sesame oil up to a shimmer on medium high heat. Toss in cube of ginger, and the two cloves of crushed (but still whole) garlic.
After cooking for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce and throw in the lime zest. Stir for another minute.

Udon and Mushroom Soup

Next, toss in the mushrooms and bok choy and coat them thoroughly in the garlic oil. Sauté until softened about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Once brought to a simmer, place in the package of udon noodles and cook thoroughly at a low boil for approximately 10 minutes, or until noodles are fully cooked and slippery. Turn of the heat and portion out into your bowl(s), being careful not to include the garlic or ginger.

Top each bowl of udon noodle soup with a pinch of chopped cilantro, a teaspoon or more of chili oil (to taste) and one poached egg.

Poached Egg
From Cured by Bacon

This was my first ever poached egg! She wasn’t too pretty but I’m still proud that I managed to keep the fragile egg intact until I placed it over my soup noodles.

Poached Egg3

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Directions

In a 2 quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

Crack an egg into a bowl, once assured that the yolk has not broken and that no shells have dropped in, gently slide the raw egg into the slightly simmering water.

There will be excess whites that float to the top and essentially separate from the poached egg party, and that’s okay, you didn’t want them to come anyways.

Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the egg out of the water after the whites have set, but the yolk is still giggly and runny inside. Once ready, using the same slotted spoon, remove the poached egg and set on a dry paper towel for the white to continue to set and the egg to dry a bit after its bath.

When the rest of the udon noodle soup is ready, place the egg on top and dig in. The yolk will add a rich creamy element to the fresh bright broth.

Poached Egg2Poached Egg4

Taco Salad

I have to admit I had my doubts about this one. There are a lot of steps and in the end it’s still just a salad right? Well, I’m happy to report that it was worth the work. Most of all I was surprised how awesome the sour cream drizzle was when it blended with the meat mixture. Everything worked so well together and I didn’t even miss the crisp taco shell. I did however toast some Greek pita bread in the oven, cut it into wedges to serve along side.Taco Salad

Believe it or not, with all the steps noted below, I didn’t include a few items because I figured I didn’t need them. So if anyone is interested, just click on the original link to the recipe from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry and there are additional recipes for Chunky Avocado Salsa and Tortilla Bowls.

Taco Salad
Adapted from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry via Food Network Canada

This is a multi-step recipe. Spiced sour cream may be made a day in advance, but the taco beef is best if made fresh.

Ingredients

Taco Beef

  • 1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Spiced Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning (see recipe below)
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated lime zest

Salad

  • 12 cups chopped romaine or mixed lettuces
  • 1 cup canned corn, drained
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 cup packed shredded light sharp (old) cheddar cheese (4 oz/113 g)
  • 3-4 Green Onions, sliced

Taco SeasoningTaco Seasoning

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Taco Beef
Cook beef, onions, green pepper, garlic, and jalapeno in a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir often and break up large pieces of meat as it cooks. Do not drain. Sprinkle taco seasoning over beef, then add broth and ketchup. Mix well. Reduce heat to medium and let mixture cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Spiced Sour Cream
Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salad
To assemble salad (either individual servings or on a large platter), layer ingredients in the following order: lettuce, hot beef mixture, corn, black beans, cheese, sour cream drizzle, avocado, cheese, sour cream drizzle, green onion.

Taco Seasoning
Makes enough seasoning for this recipe. You may wish to double the recipe and store the leftover seasoning in an air-tight container for future use.

Scallop Po-Boys with Garlic Aioli

I love seafood, but I don’t get to make it too often because my family is picky when it comes to fish (shellfish or otherwise)

I took a chance with this one but my husband ended up loving it! Maybe it had something to do with the frying, or the garlic aioli, but whatever it was…scallops!Scallop Po-Boy

Bay Scallop Po-Boys with Garlic Aioli
Adapted from Everyday Food, July/August 2008

Prepare this New Orleans-style classic with record-breaking speed: Scallops are naturally moist, so you can skip the usual egg in the breading.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound bay scallops, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Directions

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, teaspoon paprika, and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Set spicy mayo aside.

In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, flour, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika; season with salt and pepper. Add scallops, and toss to coat.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Working in two batches, fry scallops, tossing occasionally, until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to a paper-towel-lined plate; season with salt.

Dividing evenly, spread inside of buns with spicy mayo. Top with a lettuce leaf, then scallops. Serve po boys immediately, with lemon wedges.

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

There’s something about the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. I just can’t resist it. I love the way the skin gets all golden and crispy. I place my chicken on a raised roasting rack above a bed of potatoes and carrots. As the chicken roasts they get basted with all the goodness from above until they’re crispy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside.Roasted Chicken

My husband is so careful. He always chooses the breast meat and peels the skin of his piece. Fine by me, since I’m more that happy to eat the thigh, leg and the golden skin he doesn’t want. Mind you, these days my boys have figured out how great chicken legs are so I haven’t had them in a while, but it’s worth the sacrifice.

Now if only I could get them to eat the roasted vegetables…

Note: When I purchase a smaller chicken, I quarter the lemon to get it to fit inside the cavity. Also, in the original recipe, she indicates 1-1/2 hours cooking time but I’ve always had to leave mine in about 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Oven temperatures vary a little, so make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the chicken.

Rosted Chicken and Vegetables
Adapted from Ina Garten – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Beer bottle or Chicken Stock, for basting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions and carrots in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Once the chicken has been in the oven about 30 minutes, baste the chicken and vegetables with a bit of beer (or chicken stock). Move the vegetables around a little, just to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Repeat this process every 20-30 minutes. Once your chicken reaches the desired golden colour tent with foil and continue roasting until cooked through.

Roast the chicken for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Onion and Tomato Casserole with Whole Roasted Garlic

Have you every been in the mood for a thick, luscious tomato sauce? Something that’s been simmering on the stove for hours and hours, filling the house with aromas that call your entire family to the table? Well, this will get you those wonderful flavours in a fraction of the time.Onion and Tomato

Sliced onions and tomatoes baked in the oven until they break down into a gorgeous golden and cherry red mess. But don’t let the appearance fool you. They taste rich and satisfying especially when piled onto a thick slice of crusty Italian bread.

Just to bump it up a notch, I like to roast whole heads of garlic in the oven to spread over the bread.

Onion and Tomato Casserole
Adapted from Martha Stewart – Everyday Food, May 2011
Ingredients
  • 4 large tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (or I sometimes use cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, arrange tomatoes and onions in rows, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tomatoes are lightly browned and onions are tender, about 45 minutes.
Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil and sprinkle the topping over the casserole. Bake for another five minutes or until topping is golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Whole Roasted Garlic

Garlic Source The Food Network, 2006, Ellie Krieger

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the top third of the garlic head off so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place the garlic head, unpeeled, into a small ovenproof dish and drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more, until garlic is soft and golden brown.
Serve with toasted Italian bread.

Naan and Whatever Is Left In My Fridge

Naan and Pulled PorkOkay, I’m having one of those nights. I’m hungry. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for. It’s the end of my (grocery) week and I have no clue what I’m making for dinner. I’m sure most of you have experienced this before. It’s like doing your groceries on an empty stomach. Never a good idea. You always come back with five frozen pizzas, a massive jar of Nutella, some insanely sugary cereal and whatever else you happened to walk by.

Once again, I’m saved by one of the blogs I’m following. This time my thanks goes to Go Bake Yourself. She happened to review an Indian restaurant she recently visited. Looking at all the tempting photos of her food I stalled on the one of the Naan Bread. No joke, my brain seriously said “Mmmmm…Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.” That’s what happens on an empty stomach, people.

I thought, “Oooh! I have some on my counter!” And then, “What the heck do I put on it?” Because although I probably would eat it on the couch while watching television, my family seems to want something more substantial.

Sigh. Fine. *Rustles through freezer* How happy am I to find a freezer bag of pulled pork? Ecstatic, because my workload just dropped by ninety percent. Woo! By the way, I make my pulled pork in the exact same way, seasonings and all, as my blade roast.

The great thing about this kind of meal is that you can replace the meat with almost anything you like. Shredded chicken breast, sliced steak, hell I’d go to far as to say grilled and sliced Portobello mushrooms. Why not? Check your refrigerator, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with when you’re hungry enough 🙂

So here’s the big recipe today, I listed the ingredients the way I layered them from bottom to top. Adjust the quantities based on how many sandwiches you need to make.

Pulled Pork on Naan Bread

Ingredients

  • Naan Bread
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Pulled Pork or Shredded Chicken or Sliced Steak, etc…you get where I’m going with this 😉
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Cheddar (or your preferred cheese), grated
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Wedge of Lime, optional

Directions

Pile everything on one side of the bread, squeeze a bit of lime juice on top, fold over and enjoy.