Bangin’ Broccoli: Two Recipes to Try

Broccoli’s Bad Rep

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In my humble opinion, broccoli gets a bad rep.

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Maybe we can blame that on President George H.W. Bush. Maybe it’s because it looks kind of weird.  Whatever.  It’s delicious — and versatile! 

And…. my kids have grown (pun intended) to love it.

My 3yo daughter, whose most recent favorite words are ‘I don’t wanna eat it,’ will devour a plate of broccoli and pretty much any veggie.  But she won’t touch a strawberry. Or a banana. (I know. Freakish.)

If I leave a plate of broccoli and other veggies on our counter with some dip, my kids will snack on it between meals. They’re growing.  They’re hungry.  If it’s there in front of them, and promoted as a ‘snack’, they eat it. (This is why you won’t find a candy dish or cookie jar on my counter.)

But I know that not everyone is as big a fan of the green stuff.  So I thought I’d share two recipes you might like to try to load your kids on the broccoli bandwagon.

Two Recipes to Try

A few nights ago, I thought I’d try something new.  So I grilled broccoli.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  But the real favorite in our house is Broccoli Salad. My kids gobble it up, it’s perfect for potlucks, and I’ve given this recipe out more times than I can count. So let’s start there.  

Broccoli Salad

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This recipe may seem similar to other broccoli salad recipes you’ve seen because I tend to take a bunch of recipes and mix them together to come up with a dish for my family.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbps honey
  • Chopped red onion (to taste)
  • Handful of slivered almonds
  • 6-7 slices of bacon, crumbled (or about a 1/3 cup bacon bits)
  • Handful of raisins
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

How to:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the mayo, vinegar and honey.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Toss to coat with the dressing.

Pretty easy, right?   I served it with grilled boneless pork chops (sprinkled with a little onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning then seared on the grill over high heat and cooked the rest of the way through over low heat) and some grilled mini bell peppers (tossed with olive oil and garlic powder.) 

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Everyone at our table cleaned their plate tonight.  We have a winner!

Grilled Parmesan Broccoli 

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One night, I was planning to grill out and found a couple of bunches of broccoli that needed to be used.  So I stumbled across this recipe for Grilled Broccoli| Taste of Home Recipes.

I followed this recipe pretty closely (except I used my grill pan) so I’m not going to rehash it here.  As in previous posts, I like to send you to the site in order to help out my fellow home chefs and bloggers. 😉

I served it with some grilled chicken, and we all liked it.  It was very good.  photo 4-6But, truth be told, we thought it was a bit too salty because of all of the parmesan cheese.  I think, the next time, I’d still marinade and grill the broccoli, but just toss some shaved parmesan on it AFTER it’s been grilled and is still warm.

So if broccoli isn’t your cup of tea (or your child’s favorite veggie)… try it a new way.  You might find that you (or they!) like it afterall!

Happy eating!

Sharon

Yes — My Kids Actually Ate This!!

Mrs. Mom Goes To Washington (with the kids!)

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I love living near Washington, D.C.  When it’s summer and you’re running Camp Mommy and rain is in the forecast, you need to look no further than the National Mall for hours of kid-friendly entertainment.

So when the meteorologist said storms were in the forecast today, we bagged our plans to head to Six Flags and went to the National Museum of the American Indian instead.  I had heard a lot of wonderful things about this museum, not the least of which is the great hands-on, interactive children’s exhibit room.  I’d also heard that this museum serves up some of the best, most-interesting museum food on the National Mall.  Immediately, I was intrigued and thought this cafe has blog-potential!

We had a great time at the family story time, touring the exhibits and learning about various Native American lifestyles. They we hit the cafe and here’s what we ate:

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If you can’t tell from the picture, that’s a Buffalo Burger, Baby Octopus Ceviche, Chicken Mole Tacos, Fried Plantains, and Roasted Squash.

I didn’t make any of this, so I can’t offer up any recipes here, but my kids loved it.

Let’s get the elephant out of the room here — Baby Octopus Ceviche?!?!  Even I don’t eat that!!!  And I had no intention of buying it.  Seriously.  I didn’t even want to look at it!  photo 2-9But to say my 5yo was BEGGING me for it is a gross understatement.  I was shocked — this is the kid who didn’t want to eat salmon the other night!  And I was almost embarrassed by the way he was telling me over-and-over-and-over again how much he wanted to eat OCTOPUS in front of all of these tourists who were looking at me with the obvious expression of, “Lady, your kid is WEIRD!!”   Frankly, I secretly agreed with them.  But I do not want to discourage my kids in any way from trying something new, so we bought it.  And, of course, I had to try it along with them because our rule is that you don’t have to like it, but you have to try it.  I was NOT looking forward to eating it.  But we all tried it and the kids all loved it!  I was a bit lukewarm — after all, it’s baby OCTOPUS!  With TENTACLES!  The visuals are just too much for me.

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Then there were the Buffalo Burgers.  I didn’t even get to try these, because all three of my kids devoured them!  photo 3-7I guess they’re just like having a cheeseburger — but I was shocked by the mere thought of them eating something called ‘buffalo.’  It’s not part of our daily vernacular.  Chicken. Beef.  Pork.  Those are ‘normal’ things to eat in our house.  Buffalo… not so much.

photo 4-4The Chicken Mole Tacos were a hit with my boys, but had a bit too much kick for my daughter.  I really enjoyed these. They came with a side of roasted squash (also a hit!) and some fried plantains.

I purchased the fried plantains for my 7yo who eats, literally, a bunch of bananas in a day.  I mean a real, bonafide BUNCH of bananas.  I regularly find banana peels all over the house because he leaves them in his wake as he grows daily by the inch.  But when it came to the plantains, he was like ‘meh.’  Take `em or leave `em.  The other kids and I were the complete opposite.  We loved them!  I mean — c’mon!  They’re like candy!

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I can’t say how proud I am of the kids for trying these new and unique flavors today. I actually prepped them for the experience as we rode downtown on the Metro, trying to get them excited about the idea of taking a fun adventure with new experiences and new food.  For being such good sports… I rewarded my good mommy-food-blog-soldiers with a trip to the Hubs’ office and a stop at FroYo.

It never hurts to sweeten the deal, does it?

Happy eating!

Sharon

I hate it! Wait. No! I love it!

The Case of the Clashing Taste Buds

My kids are quite vocal.  If they like or dislike something, they’ll let you know it.  Loudly.

Luckily, they’re all pretty good eaters. And like most kids, if they don’t like something, they REALLY don’t like it.  So mealtime can get pretty rowdy.

The big problem I face is when the likes-and-dislikes of one of my children clashes with the likes-and-dislikes of another. Take tonight’s meal, for example.

Grilled Salmon, Orzo with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Steamed Green Beans

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There was a point in time when all three of my kids loved salmon.  I swear!  To this day, the favored breakfast in our house is bagels and lox.  But at some point, two of the kids have had a change of heart and refuse to eat salmon for dinner.

I’ve always prepared it the same way — brushed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with Italian seasoning then baked or grilled.

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My 7yo still loves it.  But my two little ones are adamantly anti-grilled salmon. That hasn’t stopped me from making it.  The Hubs and I love it, and so does our oldest.  I feel like the others will get back to their senses — eventually.  They will.  Right???  (tonight, promises of dessert coerced the 5yo to finish his meal… but the 3yo was unwavering in her refusal.)

I also retested some old waters with tonight’s side dish — the orzo.  Most nights, my 5yo is my most adventurous eater.  But when it comes to orzo he “HATES, HATES, HATES, HATES IT!” (his words, not mine – even though ‘hate’ is officially a bad word around here.)

So tonight, I told him that I know he doesn’t like orzo but that I prepared it a little differently than in the past and asked him to try it.  Spoiler Alert:  He LOVED IT!

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Orzo With Sun Dried Tomatoes (Serves 4)

  • Box of Orzo
  • 3 Tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta (store-bought packed in olive oil)
  • Chopped green onions (to taste)
  • handful of shredded parmesan cheese (I used low-fat)
  • salt and pepper

Boil orzo until it’s al dente.  Drain and rise with cold water until it’s cool to the touch.  Toss with the tomatoes, onions, cheese, salt and pepper.  Serve.

The Results:  Everyone liked this dish. Everyone, that is, *except* my 7yo who usually LOVES orzo and has asked me to put orzo salads into his lunch box!!  He didn’t like the sun dried tomatoes!  ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!  How frustrating!  I was so close!  So! Close!

But, for me, the lesson here is to never stop trying to get the kids to try a new dish. Even if they don’t like a specific ingredient, they may like it if it’s prepared differently.  Maybe I’ll do that with the salmon next time.

Until then… happy eatings!

Sharon