Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Broccoli Rice Casserole

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My Broccoli Rice Casserole is a great side dish, wonderful for the holidays, and perfect for family get-togethers.

I’m using a quick-cooking long-grain white (Basmati) rice because it’s my favorite. You could definitely substitute short-grain rice like Arborio which also would be delicious, it’s a personal preference. I’m also using frozen broccoli florets for this dish.

Most Broccoli Rice Casserole recipes call for sour cream, here I’m substituting Mascarpone cheese because whenever I can add Mascarpone to either a savory or sweet dish I will.

One other option I’ve added to this recipe is to add a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs over the top of this dish, totally up to you. Let’s get started.

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Basmati Rice

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (2-quart) casserole dish, 3-quart saucepot, colander, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, aluminum foil, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, chef’s knife

Note: One bag of rice makes about 2 cups of cooked rice. I made both bags of rice to ensure I’d have 2 cups of cooked rice.

Ingredients:
1 pound (16 ounces) of frozen broccoli florets, thawed, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups of long-grain white rice, parboiled (Basmati, Success Boil-in-a-bag)
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (substitute short-grain rice, Arborio rice)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted, extra butter for greasing baking dish
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of chicken broth/stock, reduced-sodium or unsalted (substitute vegetarian broth)
2 cups of whole milk (substitute 2%)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
2/3 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature (substitute sour cream)
1 cup (8 ounces) of mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese mix (substitute sharp cheddar)

Topping: optional
Combine
1/4 cup each of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs and Panko
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for topping (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by buttering the baking dish and placing it onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Fill a large pot with water. Submerge the 2 bags of quick-cooking rice. Bring up to a boil, add a pinch of salt, cook the rice, according to box directions, only half the time, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, remove the 2 bags, allow the water to drain, open, and dump the parboiled rice into a medium-size mixing bowl. To the same pot of hot boiling water add the broccoli, stir, for 1 minute, drain into a colander, transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In the same pot, add the butter, onions, and garlic and sweat them for a few minutes or until translucent (you don’t need to develop any color)n add the flour, stir it all in for a minute then add the milk and stock. Whisk well to get rid of any flour lumps and simmer while stirring the whole time until the mixture thickens.

Add the seasonings, whisk them in to combine really well, then add the 2/3 of the cheese and Mascarpone cheese followed by the partially cooked and drained rice and broccoli.

Give everything a big stir (at this point the mixture is runny and that’s exactly what you want because the rice will soak up the sauce as it cooks) pour into the buttered baking dish, cover with foil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese (this would be the time to add the seasoned breadcrumb mixture over the top if desired) place back into the oven and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot. There you have it my Broccoli Rice Casserole.

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Updated-Zuppa Toscana Soup With Homemade Parmesan Croutons

Tuscan Soup With Parrmesan Croutons

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This soup is one you’ll have to try, it’s my Updated-Tuscan Soup With Homemade Parmesan Croutons.

Filled with chicken sausage, potatoes, and kale, and topped with homemade croutons. I decided to make a lighter version, instead of pork sausage, I’m using chicken sausage here but, turkey sausage would be just as delicious. The heavy cream added just at the end gives a touch of silkiness to the soup.

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Below is a picture of Tuscan Soup With Homemade Croutons by my daughter, Melissa. She made it her own by using an Italian-style vegan sausage and substituted spinach for the kale.

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Let’s start with the potatoes.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, large mixing bowl, 6-quart stockpot, Serrated knife

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds chicken sausage (substitute pork or turkey), casings removed
6 large red potatoes, sliced thin, then cut into half-moons (as seen above)
2 bunches of organic kale, chopped (8 to 10 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package of frozen yellow corn, drained and thawed
1 yellow onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-quarts chicken broth, unsalted
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Prepare the Potatoes:
In a large pot of boiling salted water, add the sliced potatoes. Par-boil sliced potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well, transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking prep all the veggies.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, over medium heat, add olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and fresh rosemary, cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add diced onions and diced red bell peppers, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook and continue stirring for another 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

To the pot, add the chicken sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage. Next, add the dried thyme. Cook sausage until brown, about 15 minutes. Chicken sausage is lean so there is no fat to drain.

Still, on medium heat, add the pre-washed chopped Kale in batches. Once the first batch goes into the pot, stir and combine until wilted. Add the second batch and repeat the process. Add the sliced potatoes, chicken broth, and corn. Stir to combine. Cook for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low, add the heavy cream, stir and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Cover to keep hot. There you have it my Updated-Zuppa Toscana Soup With Homemade Parmesan Croutons.

Click the link below for my recipe for Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

Zuppa Toscana

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Braised Cabbage With Potatoes And Smoked Sausage

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My Braised Cabbage With Potatoes And Smoked Sausage, in a somewhat simpler style, is a dish I grew up eating. My mom made cabbage and potatoes as a side dish never as the main meal. She always added salt pork to flavor the dish. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was delicious I thought I’d update the dish and make it a complete one-pot meal. I’m leaving out the salt pork and adding smoked sausage along with a few other ingredients.

Full of flavor, my Braised Cabbage With Potatoes And Smoked Sausage is a delicious one-pot meal.

Whenever I make a one-pot meal, I like to have all my ingredients ready. Let’s start with getting the prep done for this dish.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch *rondeau (deep-sided frying pan) with a lid, serving bowls, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups smoked sausage (substitute smoked turkey sausage or kielbasa), 1-inch pieces (slice into half-moons then quartered)
1 large head of cabbage, core removed, sliced very thin
1 1/2 cups of green onions, sliced thin (reserve green tops for garnish, slice the tops on the bias)
3 cups carrots, (cut into half-moons then quartered)
4 cups 1 inch cubed Yukon gold/red potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
2/3 cup chicken broth, unsalted
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (substitute 1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes)

Directions:
First, have all the vegetables prepped. Have the pan preheating on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Drop in the diced onions, diced carrots, minced garlic, minced Fresno chili, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green onions, fennel seeds, and toss those through. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Next, add the diced smoked sausage to the vegetables, continue stirring. Next, top with the cubed potatoes and toss through.

Next, add half of the sliced cabbage. Toss the cabbage through with the hot vegetables allowing the cabbage to wilt down, another 2 to 3 minutes. Once that’s happened, add the remaining cabbage and repeat. Season with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Pour the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar over the cabbage. Place the lid on, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, cook uncovered for another 10 minutes or until the pan juices evaporate and the cabbage just starts to brown.  Add the green onion tops and finely chopped parsley.

Ladle into porcelain bowls and serve hot.

*Rondeau: Sometimes called a brazier or brasier, this wide, somewhat shallow pan is similar to a stockpot or Dutch oven but nearly as deep.

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