Chunky Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe – No blender needed

Nothing seems to taste better on a chilly day than soup. Living in Minnesota, I crave soup quite a bit. For dinner last night, I decided to make a household favorite: Cream of Broccoli Soup.

Normally I don’t use a recipe for this, I just use what I have in the fridge. Sometimes I add more broccoli and less celery, but no matter what it always tastes great. But here is how I made it last night. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine!

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups of organic broccoli
  • 1 organic onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks of organic celery, chopped
  • 4 cups of organic chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons of butter total (2 tbsps and 3tbsps)
  • 2 cups of organic milk
  • 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Celery salt, optional

Directions:

Clean and chop the broccoli. Many recipes state to only use the florets for the soup but I use the entire broccoli, stem and all. To use the stem, peel the tough skin off with a knife or potato peeler and then dice the stem into half-inch thick coins.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the chopped onion and chopped celery and sauté until tender.  Add broccoli to the sautéed celery and onion, mix in the chicken stock and cover until tender.  It will take between 10 and 15 minutes for the broccoli to get tender.

Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Once the broccoli is tender, most recipes tell you to blend the veggies, however I like to use a potato masher. My family really likes the chunkiness of the soup and a standard potato masher does the trick wonderfully, plus it doesn’t dirty as many dishes! When you have the desired consistency, leave the soup on a low heat and grab a small sauce pan.

Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

In the sauce pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir in 3 tablespoons of flour and create a roux.  Then add the milk. Crank the heat up to medium high and stir constantly (I prefer to use a whisk for this entire task). Leaving the milk unattended will result in burning the milk and/or the milk boiling over. Once the milk is a creamy consistency, add it to the broccoli soup and mix together.

Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

I don’t add salt or pepper to the soup while cooking, but I do put it on the table when it is served so each person can add as much as they like. Occasionally I’ll use celery salt instead of sea salt just because I love the taste.

**If you prefer your soup without chunks, a stick hand blender works wonders and you can blend it up right in the pot.

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Baked Grapefruit

Baked Grapefruit - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

My friend recently told me how much she loves baked grapefruit. Baked grapefruit? Why not.

I gave it a try last night and followed her directions:

I halved one grapefruit and scored around the membranes. Then I drizzled honey over the top and added some cinnamon. I was told you can use syrup or sugar in place of the honey as well. I popped it in the oven at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  I was told that the grapefruit would come out caramelized however mine did not. Maybe if I would have left it baking for another 5 minutes or so it would have but the juices were running on the bottom of the oven and I didn’t want to wait any longer.

Typically I only eat grapefruit because I feel it is a healthy option, not so much because I enjoy the taste. My preferred way to eat a grapefruit is in a juice form. However, baking the grapefruit gave it a new dimension. It was very enjoyable eating it warm and a some of the harsh bitterness had subsided, which was a pleasant surprise.  My husband and daughter really enjoyed eating it this way and if nothing else, it makes the house smell fantastic.

Enjoy!

Homemade Crunchy Panko and Parm Chicken Fingers – Recipe

Panko and Parm Chicken Tenders - minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

My nearly 3 year old daughter has never tasted a fast food chicken nugget and I’d like to keep it that way. But we all know that kids love finger foods! Back when “S” first started being able to chew foods such as chicken, I started experimenting with some fun meal ideas. About a year and a half ago, I fell in love with panko. Panko is a Japanese bread crumb but it stays more crunchy than standard bread crumbs. When I initially sought out to buy some I had a hard time finding it, but now I see Panko at most grocery stores.  “S” and I made these panko and parm chicken fingers for dinner last night and as an afterthought I realized I should post it here.  I used this recipe, but I changed a few things.

Here is my version:

Ingredients (organic ingredients):

  • 1 package of  chicken tenders (You can use chicken breasts and cut them into strips)
  • Sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder (to taste)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Oil to coat cooking sheet or dish with

Directions:

Clean chicken and dry on paper towels. Then place the flour on a plate and set aside.  Crack eggs in a separate bowl and mix to create the “egg wash”.  Combine the panko, Parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic powder on a third dish.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prep your baking sheet or glass pyrex (which is what I use) with some oil or cooking spray so the chicken won’t stick.  Then create an assembly line with the ingredients and dip the chicken strip into the flour, shake off gently, coat it in the egg wash and then dip it into the panko mixture and be sure to cover the strip completely. Dip, wash, coat. After all your strips are coated, pop them in the oven for about 20 mins or until cooked completely. An internal temp of 165 degrees means they are done.

For the dipping sauce, my daughter prefers ketchup. I prefer to mix some sriracha with mayo and call it a day. Marinara sauce would also be delicious.

minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder Project

Here in Minnesota, the winter’s can get very long and cold. You need to be creative with your time spent inside and even more so now that I have a little one to keep busy. I have been seeing these toilet paper roll bird feeders all over the internet lately so we decided to give it a try ourselves.

Supplies: Toilet paper roll, peanut butter, bird seed, a paper plate and something to spread the PB with.

Spread the peanut butter evenly around the roll of TP

Toilet paper roll bird feeder - MinnesotaFromScratch.Wordpress.com

Then sprinkle seeds of choice onto a paper plate and roll the PB covered TP roll in the seeds.

Then find a spot to place the roll outside. We decided to put our “bird feeder” outside of our kitchen window on a vine. We figured we’d be able to get a really up close and personal view from there.

Toilet paper roll bird feeder - MinnesotaFromScratch.Wordpress.com

We made two feeders. Unfortunately no birds came for over a week. But when they finally started coming, they did not stop.

My daughter always got very excited when she spotted a bird outside.

Unfortunately, the birds aren’t the only ones that were interested…

Toilet paper roll bird feeder - MinnesotaFromScratch.Wordpress.com

The squirrel ended up stealing both of our bird feeders after a couple weeks.

Toilet paper roll bird feeder - MinnesotaFromScratch.Wordpress.com

I must admit, it was pretty cute watching this squirrel. Am I the only one that thinks he is adorable?

All in all, the entire project only took a couple minutes to create and my daughter had fun making them (she is 2 years old).  I think the joy we got out of watching the birds (and squirrels) in the weeks following was definitely worth it.

Pretty Dang Good Granola

granola toased

I like a little crunch in my yogurt, but have yet to find a granola that has all the right ingredients for my taste. To make it appeal to me and be a good snack for my son, the ideal granola would have to have: nuts, a little fruit, and NO candy or chocolate. Of course I also want it organic and delicious.

Having no luck finding any suitable and having a little free time on my hands, I decided to try making some myself. I googled a number of recipes to get an idea of where to start and found a lot of recipes using brown sugar and butter. The recipe below uses what I like to call ‘healthy substitutes’ in place of the traditional ingredients; some flaxseed options, and raw nuts.  Believe me, it tastes great!!

Pretty Dang Good Granola

This makes approximately 11 cups of granola (fits comfortably into a gallon ziploc bag)
15 min. prep
40 min. cook time

granola dry

Dry Ingredients:

5 C. Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (Wheat or White)
3/4 C. Sesame Seeds
1/4 C. Flaxseed Meal
2 to 3 C. Seeds/Nuts – raw and unsalted (I used a combination of pumpkin, sunflower, and sliced almond)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

granola all dry

granola wet

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 C. Unsweetened Applesauce
1/4 C. Honey
1/4 C. Maple Syrup
2 to 3 T. Flaxseed Oil

Fruit Option:
1 Cup of Dried Fruits, chopped as needed (I used raisins and chopped apricots).

granola raw

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325. In a very large bowl combine the dry ingredients and nuts, mix. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine wet ingredients. Keep the fruit out of the mix until the toasting is complete! Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated. Spread onto two large baking sheets and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until it’s reached your preference of toastiness, stirring once or twice during the baking time. Set the trays out to cool then mix in the fruit and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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