Bacon Ranch Broccoli Salad

Not too long ago, my friend, Jimmy, made this salad for his family and me for dinner.  I thought that kids across America would enjoy broccoli more if it tasted like this!  I asked for the recipe and was told that it was just broccoli and ranch dressing.  Hmmm.  “Surely it’s more complicated than that!” I thought.  I finally gave it a whirl yesterday, and no, it’s not complicated in the least.

Incidentally, this would be good with cauliflower, carrots, peas and many other garden veggies.  What an easy lunch to pack for the job!

1 bunch of broccoli, raw or barely blanched, cut in bite-sized pieces
bacon, cooked and crumbled (I think I used 4 or so slices.)
cheese, grated (I think I used about a cup.)
ranch dressing (from the bottle, from the packet or from scratch–your choice, as much as you want)

Combine above ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Zesty Chicken

This creamy recipe is a super easy freezer meal option.  When you find chicken breasts at  a good price, buy enough for three or four of these meals, along with the remaining ingredients and you can have supper ready to cook and spares for yourself and a friend in less than 20 minutes.

If you’re steering clear of canned cream soups, you can easily make your own version for not much more time.  There are lots of recipes available online.

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg. cream cheese, cubed
1 pkt. Italian seasoning/dressing mix

Added later:  1 bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower or California medley, if desired

Add all ingredients to slow cooker, stirring to coat.

Cook on low 5-6 hours.  (Add a bag of frozen veggies last hour, if desired.)

If preferred, you can bake this in the oven, covered, at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Serve over rice or noodles.

Sesame Broccoli

This is a wonderful side dish, but it also makes a nice meal when paired with some brown rice.

1 bunch broccoli, cut into nice-sized pieces
1 T. olive oil
2 2-3 T. soy sauce
1-2 t. maple syrup or honey
2 T. water to prevent over-browning
1 T. sesame seeds

Steam broccoli until crisp-tender, if desired.

Heat oil in skillet until hot but not smoking.  Add broccoli and soy sauce; sauté for a few minutes.

Add maple syrup and water and allow to cook for a minute or so, then add sesame seeds and allow to cook until desired doneness.

Ham & Broccoli Pot Pie

ham&broccolipotpieThis is one of my kids’ absolute favorite ways to eat broccoli.  Like many casseroles, it’s a fabulous way to use up leftovers.

1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen broccoli, thawed  (You can substitute fresh broccoli as long as you cook it a bit before using, then drain. Sometimes I use leftover broccoli for this recipe.)
2 cups corn, cooked (Another good way to use leftovers!)
1 can cream of chicken soup or a basic white sauce
2 c. diced ham, cooked
2 c. shredded cheese
8 oz. sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried mustard (or 1 T. prepared yellow mustard)
1 pie crust (If I don’t have a pie crust on-hand, I will sometimes use biscuit dough that I’ve made from a biscuit mix. I just drop “glops” of it on top of the filling. It does take a few more minutes of baking time.)

 Arrange broccoli in greased 11×7 dish.

Stir together corn and next six ingredients; spoon over broccoli.

Pat or roll pie crust into 11×7 rectangle and place over ham mixture. Crimp edges and cut 4 slits in crust for steam to escape.

Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.