Does anyone else have a super picky toddler? I swear, all my daughter wants to eat is scrambled eggs, toast with peanut butter and jam, pears, nectarines, yogourt and pasta. And not just any yogourt, but the Paw Patrol yogourt. And not just any pasta – it has to be the tubed ones like rigatoni or penne. I try to sneak in veggies wherever I can – I scramble her eggs with chopped up spinach and I try to sneak in some veggies in her pasta dishes, but she usually just picks around them and just eats the pasta. Her daycare teacher tells me that she eats very well at daycare, but I find that hard to believe. Or maybe she enjoys eating with the other little kids, who knows. All I know is that dinnertime is such a hassle with her. My husband and I certainly don’t want to eat pasta every day, so what I end up doing is making a big pasta dish for her every other day, so that on the day that she’s eating leftovers, my husband and I can actually eat something else for dinner!
This broccoli and cheddar pasta is her absolute favourite and she would eat it every day if I let her. When she sees me plating it up, she is grabbing at my leg, pointing, yelling “pasta, pasta!” , and can’t wait to sit down at the table to devour it. I don’t mind making this for her often because it is easy to make and takes only about 20-30 minutes. I sneak the broccoli in there but she just picks around it. I don’t mind though, because I like to eat all the broccoli out of it while she eats all the pasta. Win-win! I also like that you don’t have to cook your broccoli separately. I just cut it up into small florets, rinse them and leave them in the strainer. Then, when my pasta is done cooking, I drain my pasta through that same strainer. The boiling water from the cooked pasta will cook the broccoli just enough to turn them bright green but still retain some crunch.
I like to use Bothwell medium cheddar cheese for this recipe, but feel free to use marbled, mild or strong cheddar. I find that the medium adds just enough bite and flavour without being too bland or too overwhelming. I grate the cheese using the biggest holes on my grater – it just helps the cheese melt faster and more evenly. I use up the entire 170g block of cheese and you can often find these on sale at Safeway for about $4.99 for a small block.
I highly recommend this recipe for picky eaters. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be making this again in the next few days so follow me on Instagram if you want to see the play by play on my Instagram stories!
Approx 500 grams of pasta (I buy the 454 gram boxes or packages of penne or rigatoni)
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of half and half cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
170 grams of medium cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Chop your broccoli into small florets, rinse and leave in the strainer.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook your pasta according to the package instructions; drain with the same strainer that the broccoli is in
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
Add in the flour and whisk for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in milk, cream and Dijon mustard until it thickens, about 5 minutes. If you feel it is too thick, add in a little bit more milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in pasta, broccoli and grated cheese until well combined, about 5 more minutes.
Well, cold and flu season is upon us and we are feeling it hard in our household. My toddler has been sick off and on for weeks. She has a runny nose and a cough that will come and go every other week. I kind of expected her to be sick more often after starting daycare in the fall, but not this much! I’ve had a cold a couple times over the past couple months, but sometimes I don’t know if it’s a cold or just the typical congestion that comes with being pregnant. But this weekend, my husband really went down for the count. He’s congested and has completely lost his voice. He was working 14 hour days for a few days there and didn’t see our daughter for awhile. The first night when he came home in time to see her before bedtime, he tried talking to her and she lost her mind! She was so scared of his raspy voice!
I wanted to make a really healthy soup to help the whole family feel better. My toddler is still napping 2-3 hours in the middle of the day, so that gave me plenty of time to make this to enjoy for lunch and dinner that same day. There was a lot leftover so I also took some for lunch today, and I’m sure my husband will be eating some for lunch at home today as well since he’s still off sick.
If you watched my Instagram stories yesterday, I did document how I made this. One of the things I talked about was cleaning my chicken breasts. My mom does this with all of her meat, especially if she’s using it in a stew, soup or braised dish. Have you ever noticed that when you boil meat, you get impurities that rise to the top in the form of scum or foam that you have to skim off? If you clean your meat before cooking it, you won’t have as much (or any) of these impurities to skim off. What I did with my chicken breasts was give them a healthy sprinkle of salt on both sides. I have a cheap box of Windsor table salt that I use purely for this purpose. Then using my hands, I scrub the salt well into the chicken. It’s like you’re exfoliating the chicken! Then rinse the chicken well under cold water to get rid of all the salt. After doing this step, I did not have any impurities to skim off my broth at all. The chicken boiled nice and cleanly. My mom does this all the time with pork, chicken, beef, fish, etc. I must admit, that I don’t do it all the time, but I will now that I see how nice and clean and pure my broth was!
There’s also a step in this recipe to make a roux with butter, flour and a little bit of cream to make it into a creamy chicken noodle soup. I love all types of creamy soups, so I added this step. If you’re just a broth-soup type of person, just omit this step!
Give this recipe a try to kick any of your winter colds and flus!
4 small chicken breasts (you can also use boneless chicken thighs)
6 tbsp butter, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots: 2 grated and 1 sliced into half circles
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
2 cups of rotini
2 cups frozen corn
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
Clean your chicken breasts by giving them a healthy sprinkle of household table salt on both sides and scrubbing with your hands. Rinse in cold water and set aside.
In a large soup pot, combine 6 cups chicken broth, 5 cups water, and 1/2 tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil and add your chicken breasts. Boil uncovered for 20 minutes. Skim off any impurities that rise to the top (you shouldn't have anything thing to skim off if you've cleaned your chicken well).
While chicken is cooking, place a large pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp butter. Add chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add grated carrots and chopped celery and saute for another 5 minutes.
Remove chicken from the pot. Add the sauteed vegetables to the pot and continue to let boil gently.
Using two forks, shred the chicken and return to the pot.
Add 2 cups of dried rotini, sliced carrot, and the frozen corn to the soup pot and continue cooking at a low boil for 15 minutes.
(You can skip this step if you just want a broth soup, instead of a creamy soup). In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt 4 tbsp butter. Whisk in 1/3 cup of flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add in 1 cup of the hot broth from the soup pot into the flour mixture and whisk until well blended. Add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and whisk until well blended. Transfer to soup pot and stir until well blended.
Add in 2 tbsp of dill and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook at a low boil for another 5 minutes.
Once a week, usually on a Thursday before I do my weekly grocery haul the next day, I go through my fridge and stirfry everything in sight. I have a habit of buying carrots, broccoli, and peppers every single week, convincing myself that I’ll make a crudite platter to snack on or that I’ll bring fresh veggies for lunch..but inevitably, at the end of every week they are still there in the crisper, begging to be eaten. I almost always have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, since I like to buy them in bulk from Costco or Safeway and then freeze them in bags of 3. All you need to remember is to put some chicken breasts to defrost in the fridge the night before and you can whip up this stirfry in under 30 minutes.
You can basically use any vegetable you want in this stirfry (except for cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms or tomatoes – those have too high of a water content). I consistently use onions, peppers and carrots, and for the green vegetable I’ve used broccoli before and I used asparagus in the pictures you see in this post. You could substitute snow peas as well for the green vegetable.
Served with some hot jasmine rice, it makes for a filling and satisfying meal. My husband and I devour this stirfry and there are never any leftovers so I’m going to say that this recipe makes enough for 2 hungry people, maybe 3 people.
Give this recipe a try the next time you are looking for a quick weeknight meal!
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (on the diagonal if you're feeling fancy)
small broccoli crown, chopped into small florets (or substitute any hearty green vegetable - in my pics, I used asparagus)
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 sweet pepper (any colour), sliced into strips
a handful of fresh spinach leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or mirin)
1 tsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
In a wok or a deep frying pan over high heat, add a small amount of oil and brown the chicken in batches, sprinkling with a little soy sauce as they brown. Remove each batch of brown chicken from the wok and set aside.
Add a bit more oil to the wok and saute the ginger, carrots, broccoli (or asparagus), and onion for 3 minutes. Add the pepper strips, spinach leaves and chicken (along with any chicken juices).
In a measuring cup, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour over the vegetables.
Add the oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.