Potato, Broccoli, & Cheddar Soup with Cheese Toasts

My husband likes soups that have a thicker consistency. As he loves our gold standard Cauliflower Cheese Soup, I knew that he would love this one too; I just used more potatoes to give it a heartier consistency. It was perfect. It would also be difficult to argue about eating a soup that is garnished with garlic-cheese toasts! The roasted broccoli floret topping was another bonus. 🙂

This soup is quick enough to prepare and serve on a weeknight, but is even more wonderful if made in advance. The recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used some chicken stock for water and increased the amount of garlic, potatoes (unpeeled!), and lemon juice. I also used a sourdough baguette to make the cheese toasts instead of Italian bread. Great.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds broccoli, stems peeled and chopped, florets cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups florets, divided)
  • 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 packed cups grated sharp white cheddar (from an 8-ounce block), divided
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon, plus grated zest for serving, or to taste
  • 8 slices (each 1/2 inch thick) sourdough baguette, sliced on a diagonal or 4 slices (each 1/2 inch thick) rustic Italian bread
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, 4 cloves of garlic, broccoli stems, potatoes, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add stock with 3 cups water; season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 3 cups broccoli florets; cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender with 1 cup cheese; puree until smooth. (I used an immersion blender instead.)
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  6. Stir together remaining cheese and garlic. Place bread on one side of a rimmed baking sheet, and remaining broccoli florets on other. Drizzle both with oil; season with salt and pepper. Top bread with cheese mixture.
  7. Roast broccoli and cheese toasts for 15 minutes, tossing florets halfway through.
  8. Serve soup topped with toasts, florets, and zest, as desired.

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Thai-Style Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken & Bok Choy

I receive a LOT of baby bok choy in my CSA share. Every time my husband spots it, he requests his favorite Thai dish, Pad See Ew. I do have a favorite version that I typically prepare, but, by chance I received a new recipe (email 😉 ) for his special dish when I received my recent bounty of bok choy.

The goal of this recipe was to recreate a high-heat wok cooked dish on a stove top by altering the stir fry technique. By cooking the ingredients in batches and combining all of the ingredients just prior to serving, the high-heat char typical of this dish was achieved. This version was indeed the closest I’ve come to reproducing my husband’s favorite take out dish.

This recipe was adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. I used baby bok choy instead of broccolini, chicken thighs instead of breasts, Thai chiles instead of serrano, and fresh rice noodles. I reduced the oil and doubled the recipe as well. Great!

Yield: Serves 8

For the Chile-Vinegar:

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Thai chiles or 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut against grain into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 24 oz fresh wide rice noodles (can substitute 16 oz 1/4-inch wide dried rice noodles)
  • 5-6 T vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
  • 1/2 cup oyster sauce
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 4 T packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 pounds baby bok choy (about 10), sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, separated into leaves and stems (broccolini or broccoli are good substitutes)
  • additional greens, if desired (I added 1/2 head of my CSA Sugarloaf Chicory as well)

For the Chile Vinegar:

  1. Combine vinegar and serrano in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

For the Stir Fry:

  1. Combine chicken with 4 tablespoons water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
  2. If using fresh rice noodles: Place noodles in very hot tap water until they can be separated into large pieces. (If using dried rice noodles: Bring 6 cups water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles. Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 teaspoons oil.)
  3. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in bowl.
  4. Heat 1 T oil and garlic in 12-inch (nonstick) skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is deep golden brown, about minute.
  5. Add chicken and 4 tablespoons sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  6. Using tongs, flip chicken and cook, without stirring, until second side begins to brown, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  7. Push chicken to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 T oil to cleared side of skillet.
  8. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
  9. Heat 1 T oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add bok choy stems and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the remaining bok choy leaves and 4 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat.
  10. Cover skillet and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  11. Remove lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
  12. Sauce any additional greens in the remaining cooking liquid, if desired.
  13. Heat 1 T oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half of noodles and 4 tablespoons sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture.
  14. Repeat with remaining 1 T oil, noodles, and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooked, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. Cook, without stirring, until everything is warmed through, 1 to 1½ minutes.
  15. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately, passing chile vinegar separately.

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I’m sharing my special stir fry at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #146, co-hosted by Antonia @Zoale and Petra @Food Eat Love. Enjoy! 🙂

Weeknight Red Curry

My husband has been saying that we really should incorporate more fish into our diet. I know that he’s probably right. :/ So, I was very proud to serve not only one, but TWO fish dinners in one week. The first was a super quick and fresh pan-roasted fish dish. (I’ll share that in a separate post.) The second was this quick red curry. I thought it was just me, but we all decided that the fish overpowered an otherwise delicious dish. (I am open to another opinion though!) I made it again with my go-to protein, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and it was a winner in my house. Maybe fish once a week is enough for us. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used two broccoli crowns, one red bell pepper, two carrots, and one large shallot in the mixed vegetables. We ate it over fresh rice noodles; I think it would also be wonderful with rice. It was absolutely delicious and faster than takeout.

I’m bringing this to share at Fiesta Friday #123 this week co-hosted by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 large shallot
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1½ cups whole peeled tomatoes, plus juices from one 15-ounce can or half of one 28-ounce can (I cheated and used diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • coarse salt
  • approximately 1 pound mixed fresh vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, carrots, and/or shallots), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound firm white fish (such as halibut or cod), skin removed or 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 12 to 24 oz fresh rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • minced and whole cilantro leaves, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
  1. Pulse shallot, garlic, and ginger in a food processor to finely chop.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add curry paste and turmeric; cook, stirring, until paste is darkened in color and mixture starts to stick to pan, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, then juices. Cook, stirring often and scraping up browned bits, until tomatoes start to break down and stick to pot, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in coconut milk and season with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until mixture is slightly thickened and flavors meld, 8–10 minutes.
  6. Add vegetables and pour in enough water to cover (limit to 1/2 to 1 cup to prevent the sauce from becoming too thin). Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 8–10 minutes.
  7. Season fish or chicken all over with salt and nestle into curry (add a little more water if it’s very thick). Return to a simmer and cook just until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon curry over rice noodles and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Do Ahead: Curry base (without vegetables or fish) can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, adding water to thin as needed.

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Stir-Fried Chicken & Bok Choy

I receive SO much baby bok choy in my CSA share… especially because the friend I split my box with gives ALL of it to me! I actually really like bok choy. 🙂 I usually sauté it with other greens, or incorporate it in my husband’s favorite Thai dish. This time I wanted something new…

This simple stir-fry recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I rarely make stir-fry, so it was “something new!” I doubled the recipe, reduced the oil, and used 8 baby bok choy. We ate it served over brown Basmati rice. Quick and great.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, about 5, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 8 baby bok choy, trimmed and thinly sliced (can substitute other green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, or spinach)
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 leeks (1/2 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • pinch chile flakes
  • coarse salt, as needed
  • cooked brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour half the mixture over the chicken, along with half the ginger and half the garlic. Let stand 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a large, 12-inch skillet over high heat until extremely hot, about 5 minutes. (Open the windows and put on the exhaust fan!)
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and the chicken. Cook, stirring constantly, until meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining peanut oil to the skillet. Add the bok choy and cook 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the onions and chili flakes; cook, tossing frequently until bok choy and onions are tender, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the marinade and a pinch of salt. Move vegetable mixture to the border of the pan.
  7. Add remaining ginger and garlic to center of pan and cook, mashing lightly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Return chicken to skillet and combine with ginger, garlic, and vegetables. Serve immediately, over rice.

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Vegetable Strudel Casserole

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I tend to make dishes with a similar theme or flavor-profile. This dish sounded original and different- outside of the box for me. Then Nancy of Feasting with Friends Blog posted a Veggie Strudel on the same day I was making this one! So, I suppose this dish isn’t that original…. but it was tasty. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen. I modified the recipe by baking it as a casserole instead of in individual pieces- seemed much neater that way! I also modified it by increasing the mushrooms, onions, and scallions, using cauliflower instead of broccoli, and by adding green beans. I also sprayed each layer of phyllo dough with canola oil spray instead of brushing with olive oil; I did brush the top layer with olive oil prior to baking. Very nice.

  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli (about a generous quarter of a large head)
  • 1 cup trimmed and chopped green beans, optional
  • 10 oz button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T minced fresh dill
  • 7 scallions, greens and whites, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs, separated
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound phyllo dough leaves, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (convection). Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking pan. (I use an enameled cast iron pan.)
  2. Make the Filling: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot, cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring intermittently, until the vegetables are just tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the caraway, garlic, lemon juice, dill, scallions, pepper, cheese, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Remove half of the phyllo dough leaves from the package and sandwich between two pieces of plastic wrap. Cover with a damp towel.
  5. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the oiled baking pan and lightly spray with canola oil or lightly brush with olive oil. Continue layering the sheets of dough, adding oil between each layer, until 1/2 pound of dough (1/2 package) is used.
  6. Sprinkle the stack of phyllo with the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
  7. Add the filling, spreading it to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
  8. Layer more phyllo dough over the filling, spraying or brushing each layer with oil. Use the entire box. Brush olive oil over the top layer.

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One Year Ago:

Broccoli Spinach Puree

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The first time I ever tried this dish my husband (then boyfriend) made it for me. I had never made a vegetable puree (it was in my pre-kid/pre-baby food era) and I couldn’t believe how absolutely delicious it was! I decided to use my beautiful CSA broccoli, spinach, and kale for this version. We ate it as a side dish with grilled chicken, but it would be elegant with some sort of seared meat or fish placed on top of it on the plate. This recipe was adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I used shallots in lieu of onions, unpeeled yukon gold potatoes instead of a russet potato, and incorporated kale. Lovely!

  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 large shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium yukon gold potatoes (unpeeled) or 1 small russet potato (peeled), diced
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli (2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used 1/2 cup Wild Mushroom Stock and 1 cup chicken stock)
  • 3 cups slivered spinach leaves (I used a combination of spinach and kale), well rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 T finely grated lemon zest
  1. Melt the butter over low heat in a large sauté pan (with a lid). Add celery, onion, and potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 10 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the broccoli: Cut 1/4-inch off the bottom of the stem, and separate the stem from the head. Peel and then cut the stem into thin slices crosswise; quarter the slices.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of florets from the head of the broccoli. Chop the remainder of the head into small pieces.
  4. Add the chopped stems and head to the wilted vegetables, along with the stock. Cover, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli florets with 1 T of water in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Add the spinach, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to the cooked vegetables, and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Pulse in the lemon zest. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  8. Transfer the puree to a warmed serving dish and garnish with the reserved broccoli florets. Serve immediately.

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Broccoli & Mozzarella Potluck Stromboli

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I had a stromboli factory in my kitchen last night! I made 4 individual strombolis for my family for our dinner AND 2 larger ones (which we sliced) for my husband to bring for a potluck lunch at work the next day. When we lived in Alabama, my husband made a stromboli for work potluck lunches a few times. Somehow- that is what came to mind this time! This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food.

The wonderful thing about a stromboli is that it can basically be filled with ANYTHING- plus cheese and marinara. I used my favorite pizza dough recipe, increased the garlic and spices, grated the cheese in a food processor, and used Trader Joe’s Tuscano Marinara Sauce. The kids really enjoyed it too! EASY! A great alternative to pizza or calzones.

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  • 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • 1 package (1 pound) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed or 1 pound fresh broccoli
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, to taste, optional
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, plus more for dipping, optional
  • 8 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Make pizza dough per this bread machine recipe (my favorite!!). (Store bought dough could easily be used as well.)
  2. Thaw frozen broccoli or cook fresh broccoli. To prepare the fresh broccoli, bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. When water comes to a boil, salt generously and add broccoli. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove and transfer to ice water bath until cool. Remove and pat dry. Chop into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (convection). Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, stretch out each piece, first to a 3-by-4 inch oval, then to a 6-by-8-inch oval (let dough rest briefly if too elastic to work with).
  4. Spread 1/4 cup marinara over each piece of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
  5. Place broccoli in a strainer, and press to remove excess liquid. Transfer to a double layer of paper towels, and pat dry. Coarsely chop.
  6. Dividing evenly, scatter broccoli over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with garlic, and season with oregano, red pepper flakes, coarse salt, and pepper.
  7. Starting at a shorter end, roll up each stromboli, tucking in the filling as you go. There’s no need to crimp the ends. IMG_7438
  8. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut three slits in the top of each. Brush with olive oil. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve stromboli with marinara sauce for dipping, if desired. IMG_7441

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