I was volun-told to make a Broccoli Casserole for a Christmas luncheon at work last week. In the South, a typical Broccoli Casserole contains a boat-load of mayonnaise. I think it is gross. I wasn’t too happy about having to make the dish, but set out to create a Broccoli Casserole recipe I would be proud to serve to people. I wanted to make one that had way less mayo and fat, but still maintained the essential elements of the dish. I think my revamped Broccoli Casserole turned out great. It was creamy, but didn’t have an overpowering mayonnaise taste. I really liked it. I will definitely add this side dish to my repertoire.
2 12 oz. packages frozen broccoli florets
1 10.5 oz. can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I recommend Duke’s)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use mild)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a casserole dish (a 9 X 13-inch will work) with cooking spray.
Cook the broccoli according to the package directions (I just zap it in a bowl in the microwave) and drain well in a colander.
In a large bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, egg, cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the drained broccoli and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread evenly.
Mix the crushed Ritz crackers with the melted butter. Spread evenly over the top of the broccoli mixture. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until nicely browned.
I have been making this Minestrone Soup recipe for over 20 years. It’s one of our favorite soups. This soup is very versatile and can easily be tweaked to use what you have on hand. Garbanzo or cannellini beans are excellent substitutes for the kidney beans. Other veggies, like green beans, can be added to this soup. If you like a brothier soup, add 1 or 2 cups more of vegetable broth when you add the pasta. This recipe freezes very well.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15.5 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 – 3 teaspoons dried basil
½ cup dry pasta (small shells, ditalini, or elbow macaroni)
2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 cup fresh spinach or kale (optional)
salt and black pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sliced carrots, and dried basil. Bring the soup to a boil, lower heat to medium low, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the dry pasta; return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 5 – 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and spinach or kale, if using, and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese is a perfect topping for this soup.
This is a great way to use up Kimchi. The rice used in this recipe should be at least one day old, otherwise it is too wet.
Kimchi Fried Rice
4 1/2 cups day-old cooked white rice (if you can find it, get a medium grain rice like Kokuho Rose brand)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced tablespoon minced ginger
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, halved, and sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup kimchi, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup fresh spinach (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Make the rice the day before.
Heat the canola oil in a wok over high heat. Add the diced onions, and cook, stirring, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped kimchi and cook another 1 or 2 minutes to heat through.
Add the rice and cook until warmed through and well combined with the other ingredients, another 3 minutes. Season with the soy sauce, gochujang, and sesame oil, stirring to evenly coat all of the rice and veggies. Mix in the the spinach, if using. Turn the heat down to low while you fry the eggs.
In a small fry pan, melt the butter and fry the eggs to desired doneness (I like mine over-easy).
To serve, place the Kimchi Fried Rice in a dish and top with a fried egg. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
Make cornbread special with the addition of sweet onions. The onions caramelize and add just the right flavor to this slightly sweet cornbread. This recipe is easy enough to make anytime and is sure to impress.
Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium Vidalia onions (or other sweet onions like 1015s or Walla Wallas), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet (I use a 10 1/4-inch cast iron skillet) on the stove top over medium heat. Arrange the onion slices, taking care to keep the slices intact, in the melted butter in the skillet. You can half and quarter the onion slices to fill in empty spaces. You may not use all of the onion slices. You can save leftover onions for another use or finely chop them and add them to the cornbread batter. Let the onions cook over medium heat while you prepare the batter. Do not turn the onions while they are cooking.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the milk, canola oil, and eggs with a fork. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
Take the skillet off the heat. Pour the cornbread batter evenly over the onions. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes.
Carefully invert the cornbread onto a cutting board or plate.
This is another favorite from my childhood. It’s a Southern classic. My Dad used to add in shredded sharp cheddar cheese, minced onion, and minced jalapenos to his hot water cornbread mixture before frying. Experiment with the add-ins. The possibilities are endless. I like my hot water cornbread simple, plain. I’ve been known to dip mine in ketchup, but others like them drizzled with honey are maple syrup. They go great with a nice pot of pinto beans.
Hot Water Cornbread
2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
oil for frying
Add about an inch of oil to a cast iron skillet. Heat oil over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal and salt in a bowl. Add the boiling water and mix well. Let the mixture cool slightly. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, shape into patties by forming a ball with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the mixture and then flattening it into a 1/2-inch patty with your fingers. Fry the patties in the hot oil in small batches, turning often until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.