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Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

Warm, nostalgic comfort in a bowl, that is what I think when I taste a spoonful of this broccoli buttermilk soup.  It is creamy without being too heavy, and the buttermilk gives it an extra tangy flavor that blends well with the broccoli and herbs.  Two percent milk keeps this soup fairly light while still allowing it to deliver that smooth comforting taste we associate with broccoli soup.  Top it with some shredded cheddar cheese, and it is even tastier!

broccoli buttermilk soupCold, gray skies make me long for soup.  Uncertain times and difficult situations make me long for soup.  Soup soothes a heart that is in need of comfort.  Whether there is turmoil out in the larger world or turmoil in our daily interactions, the act of making soup is an act of positive creation, and a steaming bowl of soup represents the intent of that positive creation.

broccoli buttermilk soupThe richness, the creaminess, offset by the earthy flavor of the broccoli, has such a grounding, calming, and nourishing effect.  This recipe is based on one I found in my Hollyhocks & Radishes cookbook by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.  It is quick and easy to make, and tastes great for lunch or as a side dish with a sandwich for a cozy dinner.  Broccoli soup is a classic soup that has so many positive associations and memories for me.  Sometimes a classic, nostalgic soup is just what a person needs.

With the weather so gray and with no snow on the ground, we have been doing some indoor things this month.  One very simple and fun trip was to the conservatory at the botanical gardens near us.  What a great place to visit in the winter!  The air in the conservatory is warm and humid, and there are beautiful plants and flowers blooming everywhere.  It’s like being magically transported to a tropical paradise for awhile!

broccoli buttermilk soupAnother fun winter trip was to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  My son is a car enthusiast, and so my husband’s brother and his wife, who know their way around Detroit, took us to the auto show and on a tour of part of the city as well.  We thoroughly enjoyed this day, and Detroit is a city rich in history and positive aspects.  One unexpected bonus of that day was listening to a concert by a jazz band from the Detroit School of Arts.  Very inspirational for my kids, who both love music.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are looking for a broccoli soup recipe, this one is really delicious!  Stay warm and take care!  I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s virtual potluck, Fiesta Friday.  And I am sharing this quote that caught my eye today:  “Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh  broccoli buttermilk soup

Broccoli Buttermilk Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of broccoli (or about 2 large heads of broccoli), chopped to the size you want it
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of milk (I used 2% milk)
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • shredded cheddar cheese for the top (optional)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the broth and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, and then add the chopped broccoli.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the broccoli is tender.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and continue to stir with the whisk until it is bubbly and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and buttermilk and stir until the mixture just thickens.

Add the milk mixture to the chicken broth/broccoli mixture.  Continue to stir until everything is combined and very hot, but do not allow the soup to boil.  Adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from Hollyhock & Radishes by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.

 

 

Broccoli and Feta Galette

Galette is such a festive, pretty word.  It is a French word, so for me it immediately elevates a dish to a certain level of sophistication.  Yet a galette is a rustic dish, not fancy or intricate.  I like to think that serving a galette evokes an atmosphere of rustic elegance.  Sometimes it feels good to make something that feels special, but that’s very practical and healthy at the same time.  Galettes can be sweet or savory, and there are endless variations one can create with the filling.

broccoli galette, cut 2The recipe I am sharing here is based on one I found in the current issue of Real Simple magazine, though I made some changes to it to suit my family’s tastes.  The roasted broccoli mixed with the creamy melted Feta gives the filling such a delicious flavor, and the hearty wrap-around crust turns it into a meal.  I like to make my own crust for a galette, and it is basically the same as a pie crust.  If you are looking for a good pie crust recipe, I posted one last spring and you can click on the above pie crust recipe link to find it.  (That recipe is for a double crust, and a galette needs only a single crust, so I like to refrigerate or freeze the dough for the second crust to use in the future–making the next galette just got even easier!)  If you are short on time, or if you just don’t enjoy making pie crusts, you can also use a store-bought pie crust.  Basically, all you have to do for this recipe is prepare the crust, chop and saute the vegetables, add the cheeses, and assemble the galette.  While it is baking, you have time to make a salad or another side dish if you wish.

broccoli galette on plate 1We have had some pretty rushed dinners these last couple of weeks, due to our busy spring schedule.  When I made this galette yesterday, it felt good to put a little extra effort into choosing the meal and making it.  It felt good to put some joy back into the meal-making process, and that joy transferred to those eating the meal.  Though we were still somewhat rushed to get to soccer practice after dinner, there was a sacred bubble of time when my husband, kids, and I were all together in the kitchen and dining room, enjoying our food in an atmosphere of comfort and rustic elegance.

Happy May Day, I hope you all have a great weekend! broccoli galette fillingraw broccoli galettebroccoli galette 1broccoli galette on plate 2

Broccoli and Feta Galette

  • Servings: 2 very hungry people, or 4 moderately hungry people
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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium-to-small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 3/4  cup of crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1 standard-sized pie crust
  • 1 to 2 cups (depending on your taste) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions:

If you are making your own crust, mix up the dough.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or pot.  Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Cook the onions, stirring now and then, until they are soft and golden, about 7 or so minutes.  Add the broccoli and half of the Feta and stir to combine.

While the onions are cooking, roll out the pie crust into a circle about 14 inches in diameter.  (I roll my pie crusts out on floured wax paper–they stick less and are easier to transfer that way).  Roll the crust back onto the rolling pin and gently transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Spread the minced garlic and Parmesan cheese evenly onto the pie crust, leaving a 2 inch border around the edges.  Then spoon the broccoli mixture onto the pie crust, keeping the same border.  Gently fold the edges of the pie crust over toward the center, pleating and folding all the way around, covering the filling by about an inch.  Sprinkle the remaining Feta on top of the filling.  Bake in the oven about 30 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown.  Serve with a green salad or another side dish.  Enjoy!

This recipe is based on one found in the May 2015 issue of Real Simple magazine.

Pasta with Vegetables and Chicken: A Complete Meal in One Bowl

pasta with vegetables and chicken 2The pasta recipe I have posted below is one of the meals I make again and again.  I think of it as one of my workhorse meals.  Not only is it a crowd-pleaser, but it is relatively easy to prepare, full of vitamins and protein, and filling without being heavy.  One of my favorite aspects (besides that is tastes delicious) is that it does not have a lot of components and it does not require a lot of dishes!  And with fall broccoli becoming ready to harvest, it is a great way to use broccoli.  Both broccoli and carrots are full of vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, beta carotene, calcium, iron, and potassium.  The chicken provides protein and the pasta gives it substance and that comfort-food feeling.  There is something about a warm pasta meal that soothes and cheers  many a weary soul.  I have used whole wheat pasta and traditional pasta, and the dish tastes great with either, though it works best with the shorter pasta like penne or rigatoni–spaghetti makes it more difficult to mix with the vegetables.  I try to use chicken that is either organic or at least raised humanely and fed high-quality feed.  It costs more to buy meat like this, but since we do not eat meat every day, it works out.  The Ranch dressing gives the dish a yummy flavor and keeps it moist without making it heavy.  With the nights getting consistently cooler and darker earlier, it is comforting to have a warm, steaming meal at the end of the day.  You can serve this meal with bread and/or a tossed salad if you want, but it can stand alone if you want to really keep things simple.

broccoli and carrots 2pasta with vegetables and chicken 3

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