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We’re all familiar with broccoli, in fact, it’s one of the most popular veggies in America.  However, are you familiar with broccolini?  This delicious veggie is a cross between broccoli and gai lan or Chinese broccoli.  It has a sweeter flavor than broccoli and the stalks are thinner, which means you can cook them without having to peel off any tough outer part.  Like broccoli, broccolini is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C.  It is also fat free, cholesterol free, and very low in sodium.

broccolini
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

You can use broccolini in much the same way you use broccoli, but I’ve chosen a few recipes that really highlight this vegetable.  Broccolini Pasta with Creamy Tahini Sauce is a vegan option that will have you amazed there is no dairy in this dish.  Along with the broccolini, you’ll use onion, garlic, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes, tahini paste, and spices.  Farfalle (bow tie) pasta provides the base for this dish.

BroccoliniPasta3marked-675x1024
Courtesy of Ceara’s Kitchen

 

A simple and easy main entrée is Pan-Seared Chicken and Broccolini in Creamy Mustard Sauce.  This dish uses chicken tenderloins, broccolini, and shallots.  A creamy sauce is made from chicken broth, fresh thyme, heavy whipping cream, and Dijon mustard.

chicken and broccolini
Courtesy of The Food Charlatan

 

Roasted Broccolini with Mushrooms in Balsamic Sauce is a wonderful side dish.  You’ll roast the broccolini in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  In the meantime, you’ll saute sliced shallots in olive oil and then add sliced mushrooms. Once the veggies are softened, you’ll add a dab of butter, balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth.  Serve the mushroom/shallot mixture over the roasted broccolini and for an extra kick, sprinkle a little red pepper flakes on top.

roasted broccolini with mushrooms and aleppo chili flakes recipe
Courtesy of Season with Spice

 

I’ll return next week with recipes that feature tangerines to brighten up the winter months.

 

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What’s in and what’s out for 2017 food-wise?  According to restaurant and hotel consultants Baum & Whiteman, there are some key food trends to look for this year.  A few worth noting are:

 

Greens of All Kinds
Remember when kale was all you heard about?  Well, now look for chefs to begin using chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, carrot tops, and seaweeds.  Greens are terrific sources of Vitamins A, C, K, and fiber.  Mustard Greens with Apple Cider Dressing is a perfect recipe that highlights any kind of green.  In a large bowl you’ll need to whisk together apple cider vinegar with canola oil, stone ground mustard, and lemon juice.  Add shredded mustard greens, sliced Granny Smith apples, chopped dill, and season with salt and pepper.

mustard-greens
Courtesy of Food and Wine

 

Vegetarian Comfort Food
There is an increase in the amount of veggies that are appearing on dinner plates.  What we should see is consumers looking to replace animal proteins with more vegetarian options.  Casseroles, vegetarian chilies and stews are just a few examples.

 

Bowls
Over the past year, there’s been a trend to create bowls that blend complementary flavors together.  Expect to see that trend continue in 2017.  Bowls are easy to transport and consume on-the-go (think eating lunch at your desk).  They often combine many healthy ingredients, and it’s a great way to enjoy multiple flavors and textures together.  Chili Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa Bowl is a great example of a bowl that has many different ingredients that blend well.  In addition, it’s vegetarian, yet very filling.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, quinoa, and lettuce greens are the basis for the bowl.  You’ll create a delicious cilantro avocado dressing that has just a little kick from some chili powder and cayenne pepper.

sweet-potato-black-bean-quinoa-salad-3
Courtesy of Simply Quinoa

 

Tune in next week if you want to learn more about broccolini.  I’ll have some great ways to use this delicious veggie.

 

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We tend to associate apricots with the summer months, but while you can also find fresh apricots during the winter in your grocery store, dried apricots are wonderful additions to many recipes.  Dried apricots are packed with flavor and very nutritious–an excellent source of Vitamin A, as well as a good source of fiber and potassium.  These fruits are sold pre-packaged and can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

dried_apricots
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken is a savory sweet main dish meal that uses your crock pot (an extra bonus!) so that there is minimal effort.  Skinless chicken thighs, chicken broth, olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, Dijon mustard, garlic cloves, dried thyme, sliced onion, dried apricots, and salt/pepper to taste are what you’ll need for this delicious dish.

apricot-chicken-6
Courtesy of Family Food on the Table

 

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Apricot, and Avocado is a hearty side dish that’s perfect for the cooler months.  It’s packed with a variety of flavors and textures that you’ll love.  Wild rice, tangerine sections, avocado, parsley, pecans, dried cranberries, dried apricots, shallot, olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and salt is what you’ll need for this dish.  You’ll serve it at room temperature.

wild-rice-salad-cranberries-apricots-avocado-sq-003
Courtesy of Healthy Seasonal Recipes

 

If you want to incorporate fresh apricots into your menu, you can’t beat Roasted Apricots with Ricotta and Honey at any time of year.  You’ll place halved apricots on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with thinly sliced garlic and sprigs of fresh oregano.  Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, then place them in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Spoon ricotta cheese over the roasted fruit and drizzle with honey.  Serve.

roasted-apricots
Courtesy of Kitchen Repertoire

 

Enjoy and I’ll return next week with the latest food trends for 2017.

 

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