Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins

I’ve always preferred the savory over the sweet, so the “muffins” I’ve made almost always are cheese muffins or mini pot pies. For the upcoming St Patrick’s day I decided to go for something green, so today I’m sharing how I made Broccoli and Cheese Muffins. They only require a handful of ingredients and I prefer if I have to make something green to use something already naturally colored green like broccoli rather then food dyes. I’ve also shared other recipes that would be perfect for St Patrick’s day and are naturally green previously plus a mini Reuben recipe to get bites of your corned beef perfect for a party.
Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party. Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party.

You can see I made these in both my mini muffin tins and in my regular muffin tins. The mini muffin versions are great for a party, while I preferred the regular muffin size ones because I just want to eat more broccoli and cheddar please. One batch of the recipe should make 40 mini muffins, or a dozen of the regular muffin size ones.
Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of finely chopped raw or cooked broccoli
  • 1 3/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (you can use Irish cheddar if you’d like!), divided (1/4 cup will be used to top each muffin optionally)
    Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins uses your choice of cheese though I recommend a very sharp cheddar, you can even make it Irish Cheddar to stick to the St Patricks Day theme
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion
    Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins; 1/3 cup of chopped onion. I love my onion chopper so I never will cry chopping onions again
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or torn bread (no crusts) or you could use crumbled buttery crackers
  • 2 eggs
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1.  The key step is to make sure the broccoli has as little moisture as possible – I’ve seen some recipes that use the broccoli raw and just grate it and then press the liquid out. Other versions boil or steam it then squeeze the moisture out. I decided to chop mine and then roast it in the oven for at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. If you still have too much moisture, the broccoli will be mushy and the muffins will not hold together as well or crisp up on the sides. The plus of roasting them like I did is that for 20 minutes is that besides cooking them for a bit, now your oven is already preheated for the Broccoli and Cheese muffins baking portion.
    Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins starts with 4 cups of broccoli, which you can grate raw to use or steam or boil or roast Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins starts with 4 cups of broccoli, which you can grate raw to use or steam or boil or roast
  2. Combine your 4 cups of broccoli with 1 1/2 cup of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for topping later), the 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion, and the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs/torn bread/crumbled buttery crackers. Break in the 2 eggs and mix everything. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins. Combine your 4 cups of broccoli with 1 1/2 cup of the shredded sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for topping later), the 1/3 cup of finely chopped onion, and the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs/torn bread/crumbled buttery crackers. Break in the 2 eggs and mix everything.
  3. In each of the muffin tins, grease them a little to help remove the broccoli and cheese muffins later. Using a spoon, pack in each of the mixture, pressing on top with the spoon.
    Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, In each of the muffin tins, grease them a little to help remove the broccoli and cheese muffins later. Using a spoon, pack in each of the mixture, pressing on top with the spoon. Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, In each of the muffin tins, grease them a little to help remove the broccoli and cheese muffins later. Using a spoon, pack in each of the mixture, pressing on top with the spoon.
  4. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. I put a pinch from the last 1/4 cup of cheese on top of all the muffins at the end (they should be lightly browned by now) and let melt for a few minutes before pulling out of the oven. Let them cool a bit before attempting to remove them, and use a plastic instead of a metal knife to help loosen the edges of the Broccoli and Cheese Muffins

This gorgeous slate board that I plated the crispy on the sides and cheesy broccoli insides muffins and mini muffins is from Slateplate, a small business located in North Carolina. You can see it is a gorgeous black color, and on their site you can order them in a variety of sizzes, ranging from square plates for a dramatic dish during dinner or boards for the middle of the table that are rectangular as large as 12 x 24 to put together the ultimate cheese and charcuterie platter.
Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party.

I love the fact that it comes with acrylic feet so it is a bit easier to pick up (and they will stay on unlike others with the cork feet), and optionally you can choose to order one with handles, and for a personalized touch you can even have it engraved! The slate is dishwasher safe, which most slate plates are not.

The slate is 100% sourced and manufactured in the US, and the slate is sealed using a food safe mineral oil (this also means you won’t see staining from softer food like cheeses being on the slate). Another interesting use is that these slate plates can be warmed up to 200 degrees F in the oven or in the freezer or fridge, to help keep your food a little warmer or colder when you are serving it.

It’s always been annoying taking some food photos as I try to work around the light and white plates especially in winter – but this photoshoot literally took only a few minutes because of how good this plate made the food look. Special thanks to Slateplate for sharing this slate board with me, you will definitely be seeing it in more recipes from me in the future.
Recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Muffins, a natural green food for St Patricks Day or any day. You can make muffin sized ones which are nice and portable snacks, or do mini muffin ones for a party.

Disclosure: This Slateplate that I used was complimentary, but I was not otherwise compensated in any way and I was not obligated to promote Slateplate, I just really love the plate! I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

Signature

Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Nuts

It’s March, so besides Portland Dining Month as I wrote about earlier, I was also inspired to look forward to St Patrick’s Day. Though I’m not a fan of green beer or over-drinking, or food with green dye (in fact I intentionally wrote a post last year promoting recipes for food that is naturally green).

Green Food for St Patrick's Day with no need for food dye or food coloring, plus suggestions for fun ways to incprorate corned beef and pastrami

Last year I also made Reuben Sliders

Reuben Sliders Recipe from Pechluck.com, great for a party and the next day as leftovers for lunch too!

This year I was inspired by the Vegetarian Times recipe for Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts. It is completely vegetarian, and ok, maybe doesn’t really have anything green in it either that stands out except for the parsley – but hey it uses cabbage for those of us who don’t want the corned beef. With the red and green colors, I would consider making this for Christmas too.
Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts

Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts with Butter Tomato Sauce

Serves 4-6. It’s important to remove as much liquid as you can from every part of the dish before you assemble them in the casserole. My trick to doing this is by baking it in a foil lined 8″ by 8″ pan. Then after baking, I can pour any extra liquid out and since it’s on foil easily lift and transfer the casserole onto a serving platter.
Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts

In many ways, this is essentially a kind of eggless lasagna that uses cabbage instead of pasta for the layering.
Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts

The original recipe makes a tomato sauce using just chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, and parsley. However, I made my own version with a butter tomato sauce that utilizes just tomatoes. To keep this vegan follow the original recipe instead, and then swap the low fat ricotta with a cashew ricotta or tofu ricotta. By using my version with the butter tomato sauce I was trying to add a little extra flavor then their simple tomato sauce, but the original version, I admit, is healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes in its own juice (28 ounces)
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 12 large leaves of savoy cabbage
  • 3 teaspoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup of chopped leeks (about 1 leek)
  • ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 of a lemon, cut into slices
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cup of low-fat ricotta cheese, drained of liquid
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Directions:

  1. In a small pot, simmer the can of crushed tomatoes with the peeled onion halves (cut it lengthwise so it will stay intact) and 5 tablespoons of butter for about 30 minutes, stirring once a while to distribute the flavor.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the 1 cup of chopped leeks and saute until they are bright green. Now pour in the 1/2 cup of low sodium vegetable broth, add lemon slices on top and let everything simmer until there is essentially no broth left, probably about 30 minutes. Remove lemon and set aside the lemon and broth flavored leeks – again, keep in mind there should be no liquid.
  3. While those two pots are reducing, boil some salted water and blanch the 12 large savoy cabbage leaves by letting them soften in the boiling water for about 5 minutes or so and then immediately plunge each leaf in iced cold water. Remove each leaf from the cold water and pat dry on both sides and set aside for layering your casserole shortly.
    Blanched cabbage leaves that will be the foundation of layers for Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts, similar to a lasagna but can be vegan and doesn't use pasta
  4. By this point, your tomatoes should have absorbed most of the flavors from the onion and butter. Discard the onion,  or set aside for another dish. In a medium sized skillet over high heat, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of  oil. Saute the minced garlic for about a minute and then add about 1 cup of the crushed tomato only using a slotted spoon to use up the chunky tomato flesh parts – you can use the leftover of your sauce for spaghetti that is left in the other pot. For now, after adding the 1 cup of tomato to the minced garlic in the skillet, stir for a few minutes and then stir in the 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Now it’s time to assemble the cabbage casserole. Coat an 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray – or do what I did which is I used a foil layer inside the baking dish, and then sprayed that with cooking spray so that I could easily lift the casserole out later and serve it on a platter.
  6. Place 3 of the large blanched cabbage leaves on bottom to start the layers.
    Place 3 of the large blanched cabbage leaves on bottom to start the layers for the Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts
  7. Spread 1/4 cup of your tomato garlic parsley mix over the cabbage leaves layer.
    Spread 1/4 cup of your tomato garlic parsley mix over the cabbage leaves layer in assembling the Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts
  8. Top with 1/3 portion of your lemon vegetable broth flavored leeks (1/3 because you will need to do 3 layers of this in assembling the cabbage casserole).
    Next, top with 1/2 of your lemon vegetable broth flavored leeks in assembling the Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts Next, top with 1/2 of your lemon vegetable broth flavored leeks in assembling the Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts
  9. Now spread 6 generous tablespoons of the low fat ricotta, and sprinkle 1 tablespoons of the toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
    spread 6 generous tablespoons of the ricotta, and sprinkle 1 tablespoons of the toasted pine nuts to finish the layer filling of the Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts
  10. Now repeat these steps, adding 2 more layers. At the end, top with your fourth layer of 3 cabbage leaves and last of the tomatoes mixture.
  11. Bake in the oven 30 minutes.

If there is a lot of liquid that comes out of the casserole, drain the liquid.
Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts

Then serve in slices, just like you would any lasagna or casserole!
Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts Cabbage Casserole with Leeks, Ricotta, and Pine Nuts

Are you doing anything for St Patrick’s day, or making any special green or Irish inspired food? Are you too looking forward to the evenings when you come home and there is still some sunlight / natural light to enjoy now that we’ve gone through Daylight Savings time change and leapt forward?

Signature

Green Food for St Patrick’s Day plus Variations on a Reuben

Looking for some green food that doesn’t involve using food dye to help celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Here’s a round-up from previous posts I’ve done… there is so much green out there naturally, and in many delicious forms. I also have some suggestions for fun ways to use corned beef and/or pastrami besides a reuben sandwich towards the bottom of the post.

Green Food for St Patrick's Day with no need for food dye or food coloring, plus suggestions for fun ways to incprorate corned beef and pastrami

But, first, the green food.

For appetizers, of course you could go with guacamole– I did a face off with 3 different guacamoles, one recipe from Alton Brown, one recipe from Bobby Flay, and one from Rick Bayless

Guacamole from Food Network chefs:  The Rick Bayless Recipe- Sundried Tomato Guacamole Guacamole from Food Network chefs:  The Bobby Flay Recipe- a spicy guacamole and in the back The Alton Brown Recipe- a tomato guacamole

Or try edamame hummus for an option besides the obvious guacamole!

Edamame Hummus

Last year I went with an Avocado Mac and Cheese from the Melt cookbook

Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro

But there’s a lot of avocado inspired recipes you could try, as I covered in this Avocado Pesto and more Avocado Awesomeness post that also shows some avocado inspirations from Chef Lisa of Mother’s Bistro

Vegetarian Hummus Avocado Greens Sandwich Buffalo Chicken Salad with Avocado and Microgreens Sandwich California Avocado Commission and the sticker for California Avocados California Avocado Commission and Chef Lisa Schroeder of Mother's Bistro & Bar celebrate June California Avocado Month with Guacamole-filled Cherry Tomatoes Avocado Pesto, vegetarian and easy to make, has a feel sort of like an alfredo or mac and cheese sauce but much healthier!

Another way to get in the green naturally is with broccoli, like this St. Norbert College’s Cheese Broccoli which is an awesome simple casserole that is nostalgically old fashioned. There’s also these homey Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels

 Spinach or Squash Cheese Pinwheels

Or go with Brussels Sprouts, either Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Mashed Brussels Sprouts.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts Mashed Brussels Sprouts

There’s green in these Creamed Kale or Creamed Cabbage Recipes.

Easy vegetarian side dish: recipe for Creamed kale with caramelized onions Easy vegetarian side dish: recipe for Creamed Cabbage

Green Gazpacho that celebrates the bounty of greens with green pepper, celery, scallions, jalapeno, parsley, cilantro, and chives
The Four Seasons Farm Gardener's Cookbook review Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman gardening farming recipes local produce Green Gazpacho recipe, green pepper, celery, scallions, jalapeno, parsley, cilantro, and chives, spring soup recipe

Asparagus Goldenrod evokes green as well as gold

The Four Seasons Farm Gardener's Cookbook review Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman gardening farming recipes local produce Asparagus Goldenrod recipe

Or combine beer with green but without going to the low of green beer by making Saison Beer Ricotta on Cucumber appetizers

Saison Beer Ricotta on Cucumber

If you’re not in the Northwest and enjoying a 60-70 degree weather like we are, you probably wouldn’t be out on the grill, but here in Portland with our 70 degree March 17 we could do a bbq and throw in Irish Whiskey into our burger as well by making Cheddar Whiskey Burgers that has a combination of beef and pork with a bit of whiskey, and then is stuffed and then topped with a cheddar whiskey sauce. Sorry everywhere else that is cold and has snow.
Recipe for Cheddar Whiskey Burgers

For more authentic food that is Irish inspired, you could enjoy a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie courtesy of Moosewood

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Ok, this doesn’t qualify for meatless, but I dined out at Kenny and Zuke’s for this this Bagel and Egg and Cheese with Pastrami bagel and this dish of Pastrami Cheese fries and it seemed very celebratory to me. What I love about these ideas is taking corned beef or pastrami and doing more than just a sandwich. Shake it up by putting it into a breakfast sandwich with a bagel or croissant, make reuben dogs or make them mini and adorable slow cooked beef reuben sliders. Chop it up and add it to fries, nachos, make a reuben mac and cheese or any casserole (I like this one with layers), or even into a baked creamy reuben dip! I will be making one of these links this weekend- I haven’t quite decided which one yet. I’ll also be making a colcannon – but instead of making a potato colcannon, I’m doing a cauliflower colcannon. Stay tuned for the outcome on Monday’s post!

Kenny and Zuke Deli's delicious pastrami brunch with an Everything Bagel and Egg and Cheese (cheddar) with addition of Pastrami Kenny and Zuke Deli, Delicious pastrami brunch with pastrami cheese fries

Also, I’m heading to Bowery Bagels on Monday because they are celebrating with Corned Beef Bagel Sandwiches, available at their downtown shop the week of March 16th – 21st for $8. These corned beef bagel sandwiches are packed with house-cured corned beef and topped with cabbage slaw and spicy mustard, which you can get on Bowery March bagel special, the Light Caraway Rye Bagel. Get the fingerling potato salad as a side and have the full Irish corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes experience. I’ll update with a photo when I acquire the goodie bagel.

Are you making anything special in celebration of St Patrick’s Day?

Signature

Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese

Yes, that’s right. Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks. I know you may immediately think of Green Eggs and Ham… which I was tempted to do, but since really it’s just putting pesto on an omelette, it didn’t seem quite as unique as this. This dish is served room temperature/cold, and best right away since the green will turn brownish the more contact it has with air, since the green is thanks to avocado.
Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro

This is another great recipe only slightly adapted from the Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese. I previously wrote about this awesome cookbook when I attended book release party at Cheese Bar, and also when I made the 3 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli and Sweet Pugliese.

Book cover for Melt: the Art of Macaroni & Cheese cookbook

This was one of the recipe that when I asked F to browse through the book and pick out recipes he was interested in, I remember him pointing out. It highlights Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar cheese, which is made just next door (ok practically next door) in Seattle. At the Pike Place Market location, I always peer in watching them make their curds and trying not to get tempted by their World’s Best Mac and Cheese or their grilled cheese sandwiches (they have one with their cheese and crab) or cheese curds that I can rationalize as a snack.

So this avocado mac and cheese seems like a perfect highlight of the Pacific Northwest, as well as cheese, and it’s green for St Patrick’s Day right? The recipe call for a jalapeño pepper and green onions and cilantro and lime zest and juice, more green on top of avocado, so win! Plenty of green ingredients just going in! So therefore, Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks!
Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro

Per F’s preferences, I used skim milk but the more fat (say whole), the better. If you can’t find Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar, you want a really sharp, aged cheddar in order to stand up to let’s face it, the guacamole sauce.

Ingredients:
Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese. Plenty of green ingredients.

  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 lime- we will be using the zest and all the juice. You may want additional limes cut into wedges for garnish and for diners to squeeze another splash of lime juice
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 3 avocados, pits and skin removed
  • 10 ounces medium shell pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water as normal, until al dente, drain in a colander and set aside- you may want to toss with a teaspoon of olive oil so the pasta doesn’t stick.
  2. While the water is boiling before you cook your pasta (or as it is cooking), remove the jalapeño stem and cut in half. You can kept the seeds in if you want the heat (I did) or remove them. Process the jalapeño with the lime zest and lime juice, the chopped green onions, garlic, and 2 of the 3 avocados until it becomes a smooth paste.
    Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, avocado, jalapeno, green onion, lime
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to steam/bubble form around the edges remove from heat and set aside- you just want to use heated milk for the mornay sauce you don’t need to boil it! In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter, and then add the 3 tablespoons flour and cook until the roux is light brown (a few minutes), continually stirring to prevent burning. Then slowly add the heated milk and continue to stir to prevent scorching until the sauce thickens. Drawing a line on the back of the spoon should stay a clean line.
  4. Remove the mornay sauce from heat and add the salt, pepper, and fold in the cheese, letting it melt as you add it in handfuls. When all the cheese is incorporated, add the paste from step 2 and stir until the sauce is smooth. You may choose to add more salt or pepper to taste.
    Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, melting in the Beecher's Flagship (or other sharp, reserve) Cheddar before adding in the avocado sauce
  5. Add the pasta and cilantro and stir into the smooth sauce. Dice the last avocado and toss lightly into your completed Green Mac and Cheese, aka Beecher’s Flagship Cheese with avocado, lime, and shell pasta!
    Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, folding in the avocado cheddar sauce Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro

And there you go, something vegetarian AND green. Also, goes great with beer!
Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro Recipe of Green Mac and Cheese for St Patricks: Avocado Mac and Cheese, using cheddar and many green things like avocado, green jalapeno, lime, green onion, cilantro

You must get this book and add it to your cookbook collection: I gave up bookmaking recipes that I wanted to make because it would be ALL of them. The 75 recipes in the book span from the ones emerging bubbly from the oven to stovetop to cold mac and cheese takes on pasta salads and even dessert versions!

 

 

Signature