Wednesday, February 25

Cooking Shows I'm Watching

While roasting some cauliflower and brussel sprouts I was watching WGBH Create and for the first time stumbled upon a show called The Victory Garden: Edible Feast. Now I grew up being tortured by my mom making me watch The Victory Garden with her. I really disliked it when I was a preteen and teenager. But as I got older I didn't mind it so much. The cooking segment was always more interesting to me than the flowers or whatever they were showing.

Today, I was excited to see another evolution of the show. This one combines Edible Magazines with The Victory Garden and the focus on is less about flowers and ornamentals and more about growing food and cooking it. I did a little digging and it seems to be two seasons in. Not bad. You can watch all the series on vimeo too. I started with Season 1, Episode and think I'll work my way through them in order while I burn some calories on the elliptical.

Another PBS series I highly recommend is Mind of a Chef, produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain. In its third season, it's almost hypnotic to watch and some of the personalities that come forward from interviews or from the chefs highlighted are just fantastic. Prior seasons are on Netflix.

And of course, the one other show that I'm hooked on is The Great British Bake Off (yes in the US they changed the name to The Great British Baking Show (why??? I have no idea). Anyway, what we are seeing on PBS is the 6th season. I started to take a look and then realized that the final aired in the UK in the autumn, so I stopped to keep me from running into any spoilers. After the final next week, my goal is to see if I can track down any of the prior seasons to watch as well. Any tips or info is appreciated.

Wednesday, February 18

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice

A few weeks ago, broccoli at the supermarket looked great. I had to buy some. But then what to do with it? My hubs only likes it if it's smothered in cheese. And that got me to thinking about broccoli & cheese with rice and chicken for some protein. Topped with a crust that provides a little crunch in contrast to the savory cheesy center.

In my head it sounded more simple but when I made it it did take a bit because all the pieces need to be cooked together. If I figure out a more efficient way to cook everything, I'll definitely update this recipe. But it's good, freezes well and is worth sharing now. Plus, if you do some of the parts in stages, it's totally manageable.

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds of chicken, cut in bite size pieces
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds broccoli (fresh or frozen), cut in bite size pieces (could also mix with roasted cauliflower)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 TBSP flour
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 TBSP djon mustard
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk (add a little at a time until consistency reached)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
1) Boil broccoli in water until cooked and tender.
2) Start water to boil in another pan for rice. Once at a boil follow instructions on package.
3) In another pan (do this while broccoli cooks), add butter, onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant.
4) Add chicken and brown (doesn't have to cook all the way through).
5) Add oregano, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and djon mustard and stir well to coat.
6) Sprinkle flour over everything and stir well until combined.
7) Add cheese. Stir.
8) Add milk a little at a time until a good consistency forms for the cheese sauce.
9) When broccoli is done, drain it and set aside in large bowl.
10) When rice is done, add to same bowl as broccoli.
10) Add chicken and cheese sauce to broccoli and rice, then stir well to combine.
11) Pour/place mixture into 13x9 casserole dish.
12) Top with grated parmesan or pecorino romano and breadcrumbs. (can also add French's onions, etc)
13) Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, February 16

Kale, Garlic & Bacon

How depressing that it's nearly been a year since I last posted. What a shame. Things got busy I guess and I just never got around to getting some things posted.

Anyway, let's work on fixing this.

We've been battling feet of snow this winter here in the Greater Boston area. And I've been trying a few new recipes. Lately I've been using more kale. Yes, it's a superfood and all that. But I've also been trying to find other ways to incorporate it.

One simple way is to use it in salad and mix it with romaine or other greens. Just make sure to remove the thick stems.

Another idea I had was to make it into something akin to a collard greens type of dish. Garlic, caramelized onion and bacon come together for a lip-smacking delicious side that elevates the kale from something nutritious to something delicious.

Kale, Garlic & Bacon

  • 1-2 bunches of kale, leaves only, no thick stems
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and then crumbled (you can be fancy and use pancetta)
  • 5-8 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced in half moon pieces
  • 1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Peperoncino or red pepper flakes - pinch or to taste
  • salt
  • pepper

1) Cook bacon. (When I made this I had cooked about 10 slices, some of which were consumed for breakfast).
2) When bacon is done, take it out of the oil and place on paper towels or paper to drain.
3) While bacon drippings are still hot, add onion and saute until transparent. You might need to add a little oil (olive or vegetable).
4) Then add bacon and garlic and saute until fragrant.
5) Add kale, a handful at a time. Stir once the kale on the bottom starts to wilt.
6) Add salt, pepper, peperoncino and balsamic vinegar.
7) Cook until all kale is sauted and tender to your taste, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Eat it as a side or use it to dress up a sandwich like below. YUM!
A photo posted by Jane G (@caff) on


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