Quick And Easy Steamed Broccoli

Steamed broccoli. It ain’t sexy, or edgy, but it is one of my favorites!

At my house we eat this side dish just about once a week. Think of it as the food version of squats. A solid move, good to keep in the regular rotation, with lots of ways to make it more interesting.

My sweetie loves steamed broccoli. It’s quick and easy. And, any leftovers I can put with eggs the next day for a veggie heavy breakfast.

One of my girlfriends was complaining recently about how when she tries to steam broccoli, she ends up with an overcooked green mush, so I decided to offer this tutorial.

The trick is to not overcook it, and the secret to that is – do not walk away once you’ve turned on the heat.

Seriously, don’t leave the kitchen. Watch it like a toddler holding a bag of glitter, cuz the second you go check your phone, it’s all over but the crying.

Broccoli bath time

My other tip is to play with your spices. Start with salt and pepper then add whatever you and your family like – red pepper flakes, garlic powder, fresh herbs, grated parmesan, a splash of citrus or vinegar. These toppings will really make this dish go from blah to WOW!

Also, please do not skimp on the fat or salt. If you are eating a whole foods diet, and you prepare most of your meals at home, you are typically not going to be overdoing it on the salt. Highly processed, pre packaged foods, and restaurant meals do tend to have higher salt, fat and sugar content.

Strain it

One last note, as a nutrition coach I offer yummy recipes that I hope you will enjoy. I am not diagnosing your condition, or prescribing a dietary plan for you. Please see your medical professional for that.

this much water in the pot

Here goes…

Quick and Easy Steamed Broccoli

First, get out all your equipment. You will need:

  • large bowl
  • colander
  • steamer basket
  • pot with a lid (the pot should be big enough to fit the steamer basket inside)
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • one bunch of broccoli
  • salt, pepper and your choice of spices (see below)
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Chop it. Cut broccoli into bite sized pieces.
  2. Wash it. Put broccoli in a large bowl, fill the bowl with water, and swirl it around, washing off any dirt or debris.
  3. Strain it. Place colander in the sink. Strain broccoli into colander (leave colander in the sink, you will need it again in a minute).
  4. Fill pot with an inch or so of water. You want enough water that it won’t cook off, but not enough to come up over the bottom of the steamer basket (otherwise you’re boiling it, not steaming it).
  5. Place steamer basket in pot.
  6. Place broccoli in steamer basket. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (I add red pepper flakes here as well).
  7. Put lid on pot, turn the heat on to med/ high. Do not walk away. In fact, set a timer for 5 minutes if you think you may get distracted. The last time I made this, I timed it, and it took about 5 minutes for my water to come up to boiling, and 2 minutes for the broccoli to cook.
  8. Check for doneness. Once you hear or see the water boiling, keep an eye on the pot. After the broccoli has been boiling for a minute or two, take the lid off, poke broccoli with a fork to check for doneness. I like mine bright green and still a little crunchy. It will continue to cook after you take it off the heat.
  9. Strain broccoli. Once broccoli is cooked, carefully take the pot to the sink and dump the broccoli back into the colander.
  10. Zaz it up. Place strained broccoli back in pot, and give it a good douse of Olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. (*You could also add shredded parmesan, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, a splash of lemon juice, or vinegar if you like those flavors.)
next the steamer basket goes in

add spices, lid on, then wait just a few minutes for the magic

strain it again

back in the pot one last time to zaz it up

Zucchini Tots Recipe

Are you looking for creative ways to eat up all your zucchini?

Rather than trying to pawn off your bumper crop on your friends and neighbors, try this yummy and easy recipe for zucchini tots (like tater tots, but made with shredded zucchini rather than potatoes – get it?).

Here’s a giant zucchini from my mom’s garden in Florida

The trick to making your tots stick together in a tot like shape is squeezing as much of the moisture out as you can. This recipe (like all my favorite recipes) is easy, with minimal steps and only a handful of ingredients.

Keep reading for the full recipe below.

The basics: Shred your zucchini and dry it out. Mix it with spices, an egg, and breadcrumbs to bind everything together. Shape them into tots, and bake them in the oven.

Serve them with ranch, blue cheese, ketchup, bbq sauce, or your favorite dipping sauce.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Zucchini “Tots” Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper
  • (optional) 1 tsp cayenne powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Grate zucchini into a large bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt (this will help pull out the moisture) and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Wrap shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel and wring it out, straining as much of the liquid as possible.
  4. Dry your bowl, and put strained zucchini back in the bowl.
  5. Add egg, breadcrumbs, and seasonings and mix together.
  6. Form into a tot like shape (or a little cube, or ball- about a tablespoon each). This will make about 15 – 20 tots.
  7. Place tots on a parchment lined baking sheet with a little space between them.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until they are crispy and browned on top.
  9. Serve with your choice of sauce (I’ve been digging Toby’s ranch dressing lately).

Spring Green Soup

We just got back from an impromptu getaway to northern Idaho. My girlfriends and I cooked and ate lots of delicious food, including this spring green soup. 

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This bright, herby, veggie soup is a snap to make. I know I say this about a lot of my recipes, but this one is SO EASY! All you have to do is chop one leek, and the fresh herbs (they are going to get pureed so no need to worry about precision), sauté your veggies for a few minutes, then blend everything together. If you have an immersion blender it will come in handy here. If not you can puree the soup in a blender, or Vitamix, just be very careful when transferring hot soup from the pot.

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Try this recipe and let me know what you think…

Spring Green Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek, while and light green parts chopped
  • 2 tsps. sea salt
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 5 cups fresh spinach (about 6-8 oz.)
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen green peas (12 oz.)
  • 1 cup plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (1/2 of a lemon)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add leeks and salt and saute for 5 minutes, or just enough to soften the leeks. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and spinach and cook 3-4 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Turn off soup and let it sit for a minute.
  2. Carefully transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pot). Add yogurt, parsley, mint and lemon juice and blend until the soup is smooth.
  3. To serve, garnish with a few sprigs of mint, a squeeze of lemon or a splash of olive oil. Can be served warm or chilled. Enjoy!

green soup 5.16

Anne McCranie is a Portland (Sellwood), Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. She offers this recipe to tickle your taste buds. Please see your medical professional for specific dietary advice.

Ahi Poke Recipe

Did y’all see my post about our recent trip to Hawaii?

We ate all kinds of delicious, fresh, local food, and once we got home I wanted to recreate poke.

The trick is to start with a really fresh piece of fish. To be considered grade 1, or sushi grade tuna, where you typically are eating it raw – either plain, or lightly dressed – the fish is handled a specific way from the moment it is caught. It is immediately processed, and put on ice. While it used to be that eating fish in a town where you couldn’t smell the ocean was risky (order salmon at a restaurant in Flagstaff, no thank you), now seafood can be carefully insulated and flown most anywhere. In fact, I bet with a quick search I could find a fishmonger in the other Portland to overnight Maine lobsters for tomorrow’s dinner!

Here’s a poke recipe that is a little bit salty, sweet, crunchy, creamy, and oh so delicious. This could be an appetizer, or snack. Turn this into a bowl by layering rice, salad greens, thin sliced cabbage, red pepper, or whatever floats your boat.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Ahi Poke

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb #1, or Ahi tuna
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 cucumber, diced small
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • Sprinkle of furikake

Directions:

  1. Chop tuna into small cubes.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, sriracha, shallot and garlic.
  3. Mix dressing with fish, and chill for one hour.
  4. Just before serving, mix in avocado, and cucumber. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Top with scallions and furikake, and enjoy!

A note about ingredients. First, I forgot how much I love furikake! I’ve been sprinkling it on eggs, steamed veg, salads! I found all my ingredients (minus the tuna) at my local grocery store. I was thinking of taking a field trip out to Uwajimaya, or cruising 82nd, which I may still do just for fun, but I was also doing my regular grocery shopping the day I bought my ingredients and was on a mission, know what I mean? The tuna came from Portland Fish Market on Woodstock.

Are you looking for new recipes, or ways to work more fruits and veggies into your diet? Join our 21 day challenge starting May 1st!

Anne McCranie is a Portland, Oregon based personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. She offers this recipe to tickle your taste buds. Please see your medical professional for specific dietary advice.

Baked Oatmeal Recipe With Caramelized Bananas And Blueberries

Are you looking for a warm, filling, healthy, high fiber, slightly sweet, crunchy, chewy not boring breakfast, that you can make ahead and even freeze? Check out this recipe for baked oatmeal.

If you are a fan of soaking your grains you can for sure do this step the day before, then continue with the rest of the recipe.

I’ve made several variations on baked oatmeal over the past few months, typically I mix oats, fruit, sweetener, a handful of nuts, a couple eggs, and some type of milk, and bake in the oven like a casserole. What makes this recipe different, is you caramelize your bananas in butter first (ever had bananas foster? same idea), then add the rest of the ingredients.

My favorite fruit combo is frozen blueberries and cherries, but you could also do peaches, or raspberries (or whatever your heart desires). I use cow’s milk, but nut milk would also work well.

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think…

Baked Oatmeal With Caramelized Bananas And Blueberries

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or a mix of cherries, raspberries, or blackberries)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Butter an 8 x 8 square baking dish.
  3. Slice bananas, and place them in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until they start to smell really good.
  4. While the banana layer is baking, prep your other ingredients. In a bowl, mix together the oats, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and half of the walnuts.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together maple syrup, milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  6. Once the bananas have caramelized, pull them out of the oven.
  7. Stir the oat mixture into the egg/ milk mixture to combine. Pour this over the bananas. Gently stir in the berries, and top with remaining walnuts (now everybody should be in the pan).
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  9. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, or a spoonful of yogurt.

Anne McCranie is a Portland, Oregon based Personal Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She offers this recipe to tickle your taste buds. Please see your medial professional for specific dietary advice.