Yam Salad with Lemon Dressing

Yam Salad with Lemon Dressing

So, I had a hankering for potato salad last month, but had no potatoes. No problem, I decided to use yams instead. But then, I had no celery and no pickles either. I did have broccoli, so I thought why not? Well, it turned out so delicious I made it again, even buying broccoli for the purpose of making the salad. So here it is.

Peel and cube 4 medium yams. Makes about 6 cups of yams. Add to salted boiling water and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, so they are fork tender. Rinse in cool water so they stop cooking. Drain and refrigerate until completely cooled.

Peel and dice one large red onion.

Peel the stem of a broccoli top. Chop the stem and florets into small pieces.

Mix together and dress with your preferred dressing.

My dressing is a light lemony one with a hint of mustard.

I zested one lemon into the salad.

In a bowl, I mixed the juice of one lemon (2 TBSP) with 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar and 2 TBSP of olive oil. I then added 1 tsp of mustard, salt, and pepper and mixed together. Then I tossed it with the salad. This makes about 8 cups of salad.

It’s very light and fresh in flavor, allowing the yams to be the star.


Broccoli Frittata


Turn oven on broil

Bring water to a boil in a small pan. As soon as it’s boiling, drop broccoli in for 90 seconds. Drain.

Chop up 4 slices of bacon. Toss in 2 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook in medium cast iron skillet.

Dice one small onion (I used a red onion.) Add to skillet and sauté until transparent. Add parboiled broccoli.

Beat 4 eggs, add 1/2 cup milk and pour into the skillet. Stir slowly, pulling from the outside to the center. When the eggs are early cooked through remove from the heat.

Add a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese across the top. Broil until toasty.


This is delicious and makes four servings.

Broccoli, Asparagus, and Mushroom Pilaf with Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

Broccoli Asparagus Mushroom Pilaf with Roasted Chickpeas and Feta

This recipe took a few extra steps to prepare some of the ingredients in advance. To be fair, the pilaf I made in advance was for a different meal. I just made extra so I could use it for another meal. However, I did roast chickpeas in the morning to use for this meal in the evening.


1//2 TBSP of olive oil, salt and pepper. I heated the olive oil to a low medium heat and added 1/2 yellow onion, chopped. I let that cook until it turned translucent. I also diced up 1 clove of garlic and added that about the same time as I added 1 cup of basmati rice that I rinsed thoroughly to remove all the starch. I stirred the rice and garlic into the olive oil and let it all cook about 3 to 4 minutes. The heat was low enough the would not burn, but just toast a bit. I then added 2 cups of cold water and turned the heat up to high, bringing it to a boil. Then I put a lid on it, removed it from the heat and let it steam cook. It was done perfectly in 15 minutes.

Roasted Chickpeas.

I pre-heated the oven to 325° Fahrenheit. While it heated, I opened a can of chickpeas and rinsed them thoroughly. i spread them on paper towels and dried them before putting them in cast iron pan. I sprinkled them with some olive oil and roasted for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to let them cook evenly. When they were crispy and brown, I removed them from the oven, sprinkled them with some salt and a dash of Jamaica  Jerk seasoning. I patted them with paper towel again to remove any oil and let them cool.


I put 1 TBSP of olive oil in a sauté pan with about 1/3 tsp of anise seen, 1/2 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper and let it heat on a low medium burner. Meanwhile I chopped up a small yellow onion and added it to the oil and let them cook until tender. I diced 2 cloves of garlic and added to the onions when they were nearly done. (Burned garlic ruins everything it touches.)

While the onions sautéed, I cut down a small head of broccoli, separating the florets and peeling the stems. I added them to the onions and then chopped up 4 stalks of asparagus, cutting off the tops and adding them and cutting the long stems in half before cutting them into 2 inch long pieces. I added the asparagus next since they cook a little faster than broccoli. Then I cleaned and sliced 4 mushrooms and added them and let them all cook for a bit, adding about 1/4 cup of water after about 3 minutes of sautéeing. I let them cook until the broccoli was nearly tender, squeezed the juice of one large fresh lemon into the mix and let it simmer a bit so the veggies absorbed the juice. Then, I added the pilaf and stirred it in, cooking just until heated.

To serve, I put the pilaf and veggie mixture in a bowl, sprinkled some feta cheese on it and topped with a few roasted chickpeas.

The flavor blend is amazing. Anise seed really brings out the best in veggies and, of course, works beautifully with feta. The flavors of lemon, feta, anise and veggies were extraordinary and the addition of the crispy, crunchy and spice roasted chickpeas made it blissful.

For a vegan option, just don’t add the feta at the end. It is still delicious.

This made four servings. I imagine that my lunch tomorrow will be even more delicious!

Egg Noodles with Garlicky Lemon Mushrooms & Broccoli

Egg Noodles with Garlicky Lemon Mushrooms & Broccoli

This is a 10 minute dish that is fresh, flavorful and delicious.

Put some water in a kettle to boil and add a dash of salt. In a skillet, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil at medium low (3 on a 10 point electric range). Mince two cloves of garlic and toss in to cook. Clean and slice 4 mushrooms and let cook. By now the water should be boiling, add 1/2 cup of dry egg noodles.

Take one stalk of broccoli and cut off the florets. You can peel the stalk and chop it in smaller pieces or save it for pickled stems. I reserved the stem to pickle later and only used the florets. Put them in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes.

The mushrooms and onions should be nice and tender. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze all the juice into the skillet mixing it with the olive oil and mushrooms. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the florets. The noodles should be done, drain and stir them in, tossing lightly to spread the lemony, garlicky olive oil through the dish.

This makes one complete meal or two servings as a side dish. The lemony garlic flavor is fresh and bright and gives this a lively zest.

Broccoli Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

I was getting ready to stuff my portobellos with another ground beef and onions mixture when I caught this spear of broccoli out of the corner of my eye and wondered whether I could stuff the mushrooms with broccoli without making a big mess. I figured the trick would be to cut all the pieces very small so they didn’t overwhelm or break the mushroom caps.

I turned the oven to 400° and let it heat.

First I cleaned two portobello mushrooms, breaking off the stem and scraping the gills. I chopped the unused stems and gills and reserved them in a bowl for another dish. I rubbed a bit of olive oil over the mushrooms and set them in a baking dish cap side down and set them aside while I prepared the stuffing.

I cut two florets of broccoli off my stem and cut them into small pieces, using just the very top pieces. I put the chopped broccoli in a small bowl and heated in the microwave for 30 seconds on medium to precook them just a bit. I drained off the very tiny bit of liquid. This gave me 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli. I then added 1 TBSP of chopped yellow onion and 2 TBSP of chopped red peppers and 2 oz of pepper jack cheese – all cut into 1/4 inch size pieces. I finely chopped 1 TSP of fresh thyme. I mixed everything together and added some salt and pepper. I then spooned the stuffing into the mushroom tops, pressing lightly to pack it all on top.

I put the mushrooms in the oven and let them bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese was melty and delicious.

The flavors are lovely. There’s a bit of heat from the pepper jack cheese and people who prefer a milder flavor could use Monterey Jack. I think this would be a fun Christmas side dish, with its bright red and green.

Pickled Broccoli Stems

Pickled Broccoli Stems

With today’s food prices, there’s no reason to waste anything. When I cut off the florets for broccoli salads and was left with the stems, I decided to make pickled broccoli stems. I make a variation on this recipe by Martha Rose Shulman for The New York Times.

I trimmed and peeled the broccoli when I removed the florets. I cut the stems into 1/4 wide rectangular sticks and put them in a bowl, sprinkled about 1 TSP of kosher salt on them and put the cover on it and shook it to distribute the salt evenly. I stuck it in the fridge and left it there until the next day.

I drained the water off and added 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of olive oil. I almost always use a much higher vinegar to oil ratio than dressing recipes call for. I also up the garlic because I really like that bite. I covered it up again and left it in the fridge overnight. Now it is rich with garlicky flavor accented by the lovely rich flavor of balsamic. It’s incredibly flavorful and aromatic, making it a delightful, satisfying snack.

Grapefruit & Broccoli Salad

Grapefruit & Broccoli Salad

The salad in a mixing bowl before serving.

My best friend dropped over this morning and stayed for lunch, so I wanted to make something that did not take a lot of effort. I had trimmed broccoli florets off the heads last night when I made the Charred Tomato Broccoli Salad and had a little less than 2 cups left. I brought water to a boil and cooked the florets for 3 minutes until just tender and then cooled them in cold, running water for a couple minutes.

Meanwhile I cut up a grapefruit. I happened to have a white grapefruit so the flesh is lighter than you usually see, but I think any grapefruit will do. I trimmed away all the pith and skin and cut the segments in half and tossed it all in a bowl with the grapefruit. I diced up two fresh shallots and added them as well. Then I chopped up one sweet & sour pickled pimento and mixed it in.

After stirring everything together, I added a dash of cayenne, a splash of balsamic vinegar, about 1 tsbp of walnut oil and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. It was delicious. This made 3 servings.

The flavors were bright and fresh with a lovely blend of sweet, sour, sharp and hearty with a bit of heat. We had a couple pieces of breaded chicken tenderloin on the side and loved the taste of the dressing on the chicken. Even better, there was some left over and after marinating together for a few hours, the flavor was even richer and more multi-dimensional.

Charred Tomato Salad with Chicken and Broccoli

Charred Tomato, Broccoli and Chicken Salad

I served this salad two ways, with and without the chicken breast.  I had it without the chicken as a side dish for my Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and then ate the other half for dinner with a braised chicken breast cut up and added to it. Both ways were delicious.

First I put my cast iron skillet on the stove and heated it to medium high. While it heated, I cut a large heirloom tomato (it happened to be about half yellow and half red)  in half and gave it a soft squeeze to get some of the wateriest tomato juice out. I rubbed a bit of olive oil on all sides and put the two pieces of tomato cut side down into the skillet and let it cook until it charred before turning it over and charring it on the other side.

Meanwhile, I took a stalk of broccoli and trimmed the stem away, leaving about 2 cups of broccoli florets. I heated water to a boil with a tsp of salt and added the broccoli cooking about 3 to 4 minutes until just tender. I removed from heat and cooled.

After removing the tomatoes from the skillet, I added the juice of one lemon and 1/4 cup of vinegar to the skillet and deglazed the skillet, adding a bit of salt and pepper. Removing from the heat, I added 2 chopped scallions and 1 clove of minced garlic. This is the vinaigrette, using the oil and tomato char from cooking to add a bit of smokey flavor.

I chopped up the cooked tomato, added it to the cooked broccoli and dressed with the tomato vinaigrette and let cool in the fridge while the flavors married. This made a tasty side salad. This made enough for two salads. The first was a delicious vegan salad and the second a salad entree.

For dinner I wanted to add some protein, so I braised a chicken breast  and cut it up and tossed it in with the salad.

Chicken Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Chicken Soup

First off, this is not a Cream of Broccoli Soup. As a diabetic, I am not going to make cream soups when there are such delicious options without cream. I will make chowders using mashed cauliflower or potatoes to give the thickness and creaminess of a chowder without the cream. This soup, however, doesn’t mimic cream soups at all, but is a simple, yet delicious broth-based soup.

The first thing I did was stew a whole chicken last night. I sauteed one chopped onion, three cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of oregano with some olive oil. While they sauteed, I washed the chicken and removed the giblets etc that were stuffed inside. When the onions were transparent, I added the chicken and the giblets and covered with water. I tossed 2 bay leaves on top and let simmer for about two hours until the broth had a rich, chicken flavor and the meat fell off the bones. I removed the meat and set it in a colander on top of the stock pot so the broth drained back into the pot. Refrigerating overnight, the meat was cold and easy to work with as I removed all the skin, cartilage and bones. This left me with about 4 quarts of broth and 12 cups of chicken meat that I stored in airtight refrigerator containers.

I put 1 quart of broth and 2 cups of chicken in a medium sized sauce pan. The broth was not as deep in flavor as I like so I added 1 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. While the broth and chicken heated, I chopped up 2 broccoli spears and 1 tomato. I added them to the broth when it began to simmer and let them simmer for about 15 minutes – until tender and then added 2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard.

The soup has a rich chicken flavor with a great foundation from the onion, garlic, oregano and bay leaf. The broccoli is perfectly tender without being the least bit mushy and the tomato adds some nice color. The Dijon Mustard top note, though, really makes this a fabulously, flavorful soup and unlike a cream soup, this is nice, light summer fare.

This makes about 6 servings – and of course, there is chicken and broth enough for another soup and several salads or sandwiches.

Broccoli and Bacon

This is a quick and easy lunch that’s very tasty. Take two slices of bacon and slice into one inch pieces. Heat skillet to medium, toss in the bacon slice along with about 2 TBSP of diced onion and some salt and pepper. Let that cook until the onions turn soft. Meanwhile, take two stalks of broccoli and peel the stems. Cut off the florets and slice the stem into 1/4 inch coins. If you peel the stem, it is more tender and does not have a bitter taste. Toss them into the pan with the bacon, add some salt and pepper and put a lid on it, lowering the temp to a low-medium. In five minutes, take the lid off, test for doneness, stir and if necessary, cover and cook a few minutes more. When the broccoli is tender, add the juice from one fresh-squeezed lemon which will offset the bacon fat beautifully. Serve. It has a lovely, fresh flavor and the mix of bacon and lemon is always delicious.