Monday, July 6, 2009

Challenge Ingredient: Broccoli

This week we're cookin' up BROCCOLI! I knew that broccoli was good for you, but WHOA! I had NO IDEA how good it was for you! It fights all kinds of cancers, repairs sun damage, strengthens bones, prevents cataracts & birth defects...the list goes on and on!!
Some tips on choosing that perfect head of broccoli:

Choose broccoli with floret clusters that are compact and not bruised. They should be uniformly colored, either dark green, sage or purple-green, depending upon variety, and with no yellowing. In addition, they should not have any yellow flowers blossoming through, as this is a sign of over maturity. The stalk and stems should be firm with no slimy spots appearing either there or on the florets. If leaves are attached, they should be vibrant in color and not wilted.

Broccoli is very perishable and should be stored in open plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper where it will keep for a week. Since water on the surface will encourage its degradation, do not wash the broccoli before refrigerating. Broccoli that has been blanched and then frozen can stay up to a year. Leftover cooked broccoli should be placed in tightly covered container and stored in the refrigerator where it will keep for a few days. (from

It might sound really weird, and I know some of you will gag when I say this, but the way we eat broccoli at our house is... with mayonnaise! We just steam it and dip it in mayo. My kids eat a ton of it that way. Don't knock it till you've tried it! It sounds strange, but it's really good.

One of my favorite, recently found recipes involving broccoli is Chicken Divan. It tastes SO good, uses up leftovers and the best thing about it is the speedy cooking time. This dish takes 8 minutes to cook in the microwave. Yipee! Here's the recipe: (I know you're dying to see it)

Microwave Chicken Divan

15 min | 5 min prep


  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen broccoli (or leftover cooked broccoli)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken or cooked turkey, diced, sliced, shredded
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese or American cheese
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk or 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4-5 dashes paprika
  1. Place the broccoli in a colander and run under cold water to thaw if needed.
  2. Fill the bottom of a 2 quart glass casserole with the broccoli. Cover this layer with the chicken. (I use leftover chicken or turkey, or canned chicken, or even lunch meat.) Finally, cover the chicken with thinly sliced or grated cheese. (1 cup = about 8 slices of cheese.).
  3. In a bowl, mix milk, soup, lemon juice, and curry powder with a whisk. Pour this over the cheese.
  4. Microwave on High for about 8 minutes, turning the dish halfway through cooking time.
  5. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and the paprika. Microwave on High for another minute or two if desired.
  6. Note-You can also bake this at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, add the toppings, and bake 5 more minutes.
This is great served over rice, so before you start making it get your rice cooker goin'.

Good luck with this week's challenge! Remember to post by Sunday night. Also, if you have friends or family members who you think would enjoy joining our little cooking challenge, e-mail us at whatsinyouroven (at) yahoo (dot) com. Have a happy week!

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