Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two Winning Sides

Last night's dinner was a huge hit with my family. When my youngest son said, "Mom, you have to make this broccoli more often," I almost choked on my own food! My high-schooler ate seconds of both sides, and there was actually no broccoli leftover -- unheard of in my house! Of course, both dishes had a bit of heat in them (and no one needed extra Tabasco), so I shouldn't be so surprised. The fact that it was a simple-to-prepare meal made it even better.

My meat dish was barbecued pork tenderloin -- a dish so simple you don't even need a recipe. When I brought my pork home from the store (a vacuum sealed pouch with two pork tenderloins inside), I removed them from the store packaging, placed them in a ziploc freezer bag, added about a cup of our favorite bottled BBQ sauce and about a teaspoon of garlic powder, sealed it up and froze it. It marinated while it was freezing and while it was thawing, so when it was grilled, it was tender and tasty.

This recipe is one that I created -- a spicy, roasted broccoli. The Italians use the word arrabiata, meaning angry, for very spicy foods, usually sauce. With the addition of crushed red pepper to my broccoli florets, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice when it's done, I created an angry broccoli that my kids inhaled!

Broccoli Arrabiata
serves 4-6

1 head fresh broccoli, rinsed, trimmed and cut into florets
cooking spray
1 T. light olive oil or canola oil
1 t. crushed red pepper
2 T. fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place broccoli in a bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss with crushed red pepper.
Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Arrange broccoli on sheet and place in center of oven.
Cook for 15 minutes, stir and rearrange. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until broccoli is fork tender.
Place broccoli in serving bowl.
Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and salt to taste.

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This recipe was a creative use of barley that I found in the American Heart Association's Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook (creative title, eh?). Personally, I love barley, and I thought the use of cumin in the recipe would entice my family. Peach said it was the best thing she ever ate (maybe a little bit of an exaggeration), but the boys and Doug really liked it, too. It could hardly have been easier. I used long-cooking barley, which needs to cook for about 45 minutes, but the recipe calls for quick-cooking, so adjust if you use long-cooking. I also adjusted the recipe for 6 servings, and since most of my readers have large families, I am posting the adjustment below. You can find the original recipe (along with all the others in the book) here. I omitted the pecans because of nut allergies, but I think they would be very tasty -- as would chopped pistachios or sliced almonds.

Carrot and Barley Pilaf
6 servings

2 c. low-fat chicken broth (I actually used half chicken, half vegetable)
1 c. uncooked quick-cooking barley
1 t. olive oil
3 carrots, cleaned and shredded
3 green onions, sliced
3 T. toasted pecans, chopped
3/4 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Heat the broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in barley. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender. Remove from heat, let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add carrots, onions and cumin, cooking for a few minutes until carrots are tender-crisp. Add vegetables to barley and stir with a fork. Salt and pepper and top with pecans or other nuts.

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Kathy said...

I enjoy your blog so much. I usually stop by once a day sometimes more to check out your recipes. Thank You for posting some heart healthy recipes. I'm trying to figure out a way to make healthy meals and still satisfy our kids.Thank You !

Amy Caroline said...

You know, I think my family will love that barley recipe! I will have to try that. Thank you Barb!