One thing I cannot get over is how much my cooking has changed in the last year. Meals used to revolve around the ubiquitous boneless skinless chicken breast. Mushrooms, eggplants and squash were only side dishes. Cheese was melted over everything.
Up until a year ago I was cooking for a crowd, or at least more than two people. I used the crock pot and the pressure cooker; my freezer was packed full of whatever was on sale. Huge amounts of food were consumed.
When my children were little, I loved nothing better than to make ‘kid food,’ but this never meant boxed man ‘n cheese! It meant homemade meatballs served with fun shaped pasta. Or Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes. Or individual pizzas, each made to everyone’s personal preferences. Toothpick night, dip night, eat dessert first night.
I recently remembered this fun recipe and made it when my sons were home for dinner. I served it with Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken (which, if you are still eating chicken is absolutely the best chicken dish on earth. Check it out here.)
Silly, I know….make a rice pilaf and stand some broccoli up like a little forest….then label it ‘enchanted’…… but I like it….and my kids used to love it….and that warms my heart….and besides, it tastes great. Kid food for grown-ups.
Here’s what you need:
1 small bunch broccoli
1 T oil or butter
1 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T lemon juice
6 C cooked rice – white or brown
Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
2 t dried dill
1/4 – 1/2 t dried mint
1/4 C minced fresh parsley
1/2 C toasted sunflower seeds (or salted sunflower seeds)
1 C grated cheddar
More butter, melted for drizzling over the top
Here’s what you do:
Trim the broccoli making sure you have about 15 ‘trees’ that are long enough to stand up. Trim the tough spears. Plan to serve the remaining broccoli on the side. Steam the broccoli until just fork tender. Run under cold water to stop the cooking and to retain the bright green color.
Sauté the onions over medium heat until softened and not brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the lemon juice, seasonings, herbs, seeds, cheese and rice. Mix well and pour into a prepared 9 X 13 pan. Arrange the broccoli in a pleasing way throughout the rice. Drizzle with melted butter. Create a tent out of aluminum foil to partially cover the veggies. Bake 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Serve right away.