It’s broccoli time, friends! And we think we may have found the best way to prepare it! This cheesy, savory roasted broccoli is crispy on the edges but tender on the inside, making it easier to chew and digest. It’s so good we were eating it right off …
It’s broccoli time, friends! And we think we may have found the best way to prepare it! This cheesy, savory roasted broccoli is crispy on the edges but tender on the inside, making it easier to chew and digest. It’s so good we were eating it right off the pan!
It’s quick & easy to prepare and the perfect saltyside to enjoy with all your favorite savory and creamy mains (salmon, stew, and beyond!).
These broccoli shells and cheese are better than any boxed version! Super creamy, cheesy pasta shells tossed with broccoli florets. It’s the most wonderful meal! Hello new favorite mac and cheese! These are the creamiest shells and cheese that rival the boxed version – the one that is SO creamy you don’t think you can […]
These broccoli shells and cheese are better than any boxed version! Super creamy, cheesy pasta shells tossed with broccoli florets. It’s the most wonderful meal!
Hello new favorite mac and cheese!
These are the creamiest shells and cheese that rival the boxed version – the one that is SO creamy you don’t think you can beat it!
Here we are. We’re going to beat it!
So here’s the funny thing about making mac and cheese from scratch. Specially, mac and cheese like this, which really resembled the creamy boxed kind, in a good way.
The kids still don’t always love it!
One of you told me on instagram years ago that kids tend enjoy boxed mac and cheese and things like pancakes from a box or store-bought cookies because they are always consistently the same. There is no change and they are exactly the same every.single.time.
I feel this and it made so much sense to me!
So I’ve always been on a mission to create a mac and cheese the resembles the boxed version we love.
Yes, this may sound crazy! Mother Lovett made amazing baked mac and cheese – I also have tons of recipes for baked and stovetop mac and cheese varieties. They are all really good.
But this one takes the cake. Seriously. It’s so cheesy and creamy and perfect.
Ever since I fell in love with broccoli, it’s been my go-to add in for stovetop mac and cheese. It’s just so simple and the flavor is incredible. When I did baby led weaning with the kids, broccoli was one of their first foods. I added it to their mac and cheese before they knew mac and cheese without broccoli. It’s always been a staple!
How the broccoli shells and cheese goes down:
I boil the water for the pasta, then toss the broccoli in first. Just for a minute or so to blanch it! I then remove it and throw it in ice water to keep that gorgeous green color.
Throw the pasta into that same water! Boom, easy as that. The broccoli gives the pasta water a little flavor. Again, in a good way. I promise. It’s a little broccoli-ish. Ha!
While this is happening, I make a little cheese sauce in another pan. I know, it’s nothing new. And I probably have 50 recipes for cheese sauces like this on the blog. I do some cream and milk, a little cream cheese, and tons of freshly grated cheddar. It MUST be freshly grated!! This is what makes it extra creamy.
The cheese sauce may seem slightly thinner than normal, but this is what you want. It keeps the mixture so super creamy. Just like the good boxed version. It will also thicken as it sits and gets cooler.
Then I toss the entire thing together and SERVE. Serve it right away for maximum creaminess. The good news is that leftovers are good too – just not as super creamy.
Now of course, you know we adore roasted broccoli. You could always just roast some on the side and toss it in here. Kind of like how I do with this skillet ricotta pasta!
You could also add anything else you love here. Crispy onions? Chopped up chicken? Anything! Make it a clean-out-the-fridge meal. You know I love those. I talk about them constantly.
This dish is absolute PERFECTION. Take your time with the cheese sauce so it’s extra smooth and creamy.
It tastes so nostalgically wonderful – I can promise it will be a huge hit! (more…)
One of my all-time favorite no-brainer quick-fix meals is pasta + broccoli + butter + Parmesan (aka Bowties and Broccoli). But what I discovered this week is that sprinkling a little ranch seasoning mix over top really takes it to the next level! This Ranch Broccoli Pasta just takes minutes to make and is full of deliciously creamy, tangy, herby ranch flavor!
What Kind of Ranch Seasoning to Use
I used a half batch of my homemade ranch seasoning, but you can use a store-bought packet of ranch seasoning mix if you prefer. This recipe calls for 1.5 Tbsp of ranch seasoning, which is about ½ of a store-bought packet. Of course, you could always add more seasoning if you prefer!
Use Any Pasta
Another reason that I love this quick-fix meal is that you can do this with whatever shape pasta you have. So it’s a great way to use up odds and ends of boxes of pasta that you may have hanging out in your pantry (if you’re like me and rarely cook an entire pound of pasta at once).
What Else Can I Add?
As usual, this recipe is a great jumping-off point for a number of fun variations. Here are some other ingredients you can add to take this easy meal up a notch:
Diced grilled chicken
Grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
Ranch Broccoli Pasta
This Ranch Broccoli Pasta just takes minutes to make and is full of deliciously creamy, tangy, herby ranch flavor!
Total Cost $1.71 recipe / $0.43 serving
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 15minutes
Total Time 25minutes
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
8oz.pasta (any shape)$0.50
1/2lb.frozen broccoli florets$0.72
1/8tspsalt (or to taste)$0.01
1/8tspfreshly cracked pepper$0.01
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7-10 minutes).
When the pasta is just tender, add the frozen broccoli florets to the boiling water with the pasta, and let it sit for about one minute. Reserve a ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.
Return the drained pasta and broccoli to the pot with the burner turned off. Add the butter and ranch seasoning and stir until the butter is melted and everything is coated in the seasoning. If the pasta becomes dry while stirring, add a splash of the reserved pasta water.
Finally, season the pasta with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
How to Make Ranch Broccoli Pasta – Step by Step Photos
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes). Add the frozen broccoli florets during the last minute of boiling. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.
Add the drained pasta and broccoli back to the pot (heat turned off) and add 2 Tbsp butter and about 1.5 Tbsp ranch seasoning mix. Stir until the butter is melted and everything is coated in butter and seasoning. If the pasta become dry while stirring, add a splash of the reserved pasta water.
Taste the pasta and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm! So simple, so delish. :)
Broccoli rabe (pronounced “rahb”) seems like it should be a type of broccoli. Its flowers look like tiny broccoli florets, and if you stripped its stalk of leaves, you might swear it’s broccolini. You’d be wrong, but not so far off&md…
Broccoli rabe (pronounced “rahb”) seems like it should be a type of broccoli. Its flowers look like tiny broccoli florets, and if you stripped its stalk of leaves, you might swear it’s broccolini. You'd be wrong, but not so far off—broccoli rabe is a member of the brassica family, although it’s more closely related to turnips than broccoli. And don't be fooled at the market: broccoli rabe masquerades under a variety of names, including broccoli raab, rapini, bitter broccoli, turnip broccoli, and broccoli di rape.
What to Look For Choose firm, small-stemmed specimens with compact, tightly closed, dark green florets and leaves that aren’t wilted, and make sure to avoid yellow leaves and flowers. As with broccoli, the florets turn yellow as it ages, so yellow flowers are a sign that your bunch of broccoli rabe is past its prime. For extra insurance, give your stems the sniff test, and pass on any with an unpleasant smell (think off-putting cabbage aroma).
A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we’re gue…
A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Psst, did you hear we’re coming out with a cookbook? We’re coming out with a cookbook!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever thrown away a broccoli stalk. Go on. No one’s looking.
As soon as the warm weather of summer rolls around all I want to eat are crunchy vegetables and cold pasta salad. This Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad is my go-to with a medley of colorful vegetables, a tangy homemade vinaigrette, and plenty of ways to customize it based on what I have on hand, or what I’m craving that day. Plus it holds up great in the fridge, so it’s perfect for meal prep!
Originally posted 6-14-2011, updated 5-22-2021.
Perfect for Potlucks
This classic vegetable pasta salad is absolutely perfect for potlucks because it makes a huge batch and it goes with everything. Not to mention it holds up well to travel and is still super delicious after it’s been sitting on that picnic table for a bit. ;)
I used fresh broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and parsley, plus threw in some roasted red peppers for fun. But you can add so many different vegetables to this mix. Here are a few more options:
Fresh bell pepper
Asparagus (steamed or grilled)
In addition to swapping out some of the vegetables, you can experiment with adding other ingredients to this salad to either add more flavor or make it into a full meal. Here are a few ideas:
Toasted pita bread
Mozzarella cubes or pearls
The recipe below includes a really basic tangy vinaigrette, but if you don’t have a well stocked pantry and want to buy a bottled dressing for this salad, any basic Italian dressing will do well. You could also choose something like a Caesar dressing (not creamy-style) or a Greek vinaigrette.
Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad
This light and fresh Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad is perfect for summer BBQs and potlucks, or your weekly meal prep.
Make the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, oregano, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Cook the bowtie pasta according to the package directions (boil 7-10 minutes or until tender), then drain in a colander. Rinse briefly to cool the pasta, then let it drain well.
While the pasta is cooking and draining, prepare the vegetables. Chop the tomatoes, squash, zucchini, broccoli, and parsley. Slice the roasted red peppers (drained) and the red onion.
Place the pasta and chopped vegetables in the largest bowl you have. Give the vinaigrette a brief whisk, then pour it over the salad. Stir the pasta and vegetables until everything is coated in dressing. Give it a taste and add salt or pepper, if needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.
How to Make Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad – Step By Step Photos
Make the dressing first. Whisk together ½ cup olive oil, ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 clove of minced garlic, ¾ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Cook 12oz. bowtie pasta (or other short shaped pasta) according to the package directions (boil until tender, drain in a colander). Give the pasta a quick rise to cool it off, then let it drain well.
While the pasta is cooking and draining, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Chop two Roma tomatoes, one yellow squash, one zucchini, and drain and slice one jar of roasted red peppers.
Chop one crown of broccoli into small bite-sized florets and slice ½ of a red onion. Roughly chop ½ cup parsley (not pictured).
When the pasta is cool and drained and all the vegetables chopped, it’s time to assemble the salad. Place everything in the largest bowl or container you have, give the vinaigrette a quick whisk, then pour it over the pasta and vegetables.
Stir until everything is really well coated in dressing. Give it a taste and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Make sure to give it a stir after refrigerating and just before serving to redistribute the dressing.
This shrimp stir fry is a go-to fast and healthy dinner! Use any veggies you like and this flavor-packed stir fry sauce. Here’s a go-to in the fast and easy dinner category: shrimp stir fry! It’s quick to put together and the umami-packed stir fry sauce is full of irresistible flavor. It’s our favorite Easy Stir Fry Sauce that works with any type of stir fry: we’ve used it on tofu, cauliflower, or shrimp, but of course you can riff endlessly. Add your favorite vegetables to make a super-satisfying dinner that pleases everyone around the table. (At least, it did here!) Ingredients in this shrimp stir fry This shrimp stir fry recipe is completely customizable based on your tastes. All you need is shrimp and stir fry sauce: then use whatever veggies you love! Here’s what we included as essential ingredients: but you can customize based on your liking (more on that below!). Shrimp, fresh or frozen Broccoli or broccolini: broccolini has a nice sweet flavor and the lovely look of the long stems Bell peppers: peppers are quick to cook and pack in the nutrients Mushrooms (optional): shiitake mushrooms add big savory flavor, but you can use any type […]
This shrimp stir fry is a go-to fast and healthy dinner! Use any veggies you like and this flavor-packed stir fry sauce.
Here’s a go-to in the fast and easy dinner category: shrimp stir fry! It’s quick to put together and the umami-packed stir fry sauce is full of irresistible flavor. It’s our favorite Easy Stir Fry Sauce that works with any type of stir fry: we’ve used it on tofu, cauliflower, or shrimp, but of course you can riff endlessly. Add your favorite vegetables to make a super-satisfying dinner that pleases everyone around the table. (At least, it did here!)
Ingredients in this shrimp stir fry
This shrimp stir fry recipe is completely customizable based on your tastes. All you need is shrimp and stir fry sauce: then use whatever veggies you love! Here’s what we included as essential ingredients: but you can customize based on your liking (more on that below!).
Shrimp, fresh or frozen
Broccolior broccolini: broccolini has a nice sweet flavor and the lovely look of the long stems
Bell peppers: peppers are quick to cook and pack in the nutrients
Green onions: quick to cook and add a fresh flavor
Ginger (optional): fresh ginger root adds big flavor if you have it
More veggie ideas!
There are lots more veggies you can add to customize this shrimp stir fry. All you need to know is the relative cook time. But important: don’t overstuff your pan! More veggies is not necessarily better. Using too many makes them stack on each other and steam instead of stir fry, resulting in soggy veggies. You’ll want to use your largest skillet and approximately 6 to 8 cups of vegetables. Here are a few ideas for more veggies:
There are lots of options at the store when it comes to shrimp! When you’re shopping for this shrimp stir fry, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Wild caught. Always opt for wild caught if you can afford it. It’s the most sustainable!
Find medium shrimp (or large). Medium shrimp is our favorite, because it’s bite-sized and distributes well with the veggies. Large works too! Medium is labeled as 41 to 50 count, and Large as 31 to 40 count (this indicates how many shrimp there are per pound).
Use tail on or peeled. Tail on looks nice, but you do have to remove the tails with your hands as you eat them! Peeled is nice, especially when serving kids.
Fresh or frozen. Both have essentially the same freshness because most shrimp are immediately flash frozen. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance.
The stir fry sauce
This shrimp stir fry sauce is customizable to work for any stir fry! We made it first with our Tofu Stir Fry, then realized it would be delicious with just about any protein. Use this sauce for any stir fry that’s intended for 4 servings and 1 pound of protein, be it chicken, tofu, steak or shrimp. You can also make the sauce in advance: whip it up and store in a covered jar or container until you’re ready to cook. Here’s what’s in this sauce:
How to serve shrimp stir fry
Once you’ve whipped up this shrimp stir fry: how to serve it? Of course, you can add rice and call it a day. But here are a few more options for serving suggestions and side dishes to make it a complete meal.
Jasmine rice: Jasmine rice has a lovely fragrant flavor and light texture that makes it our favorite variety.
Jade rice: Try green jade rice, naturally colored with bamboo.
Quinoa: We like mixing it up and serving a stir fry with quinoa every now and then.
Lastly, a few notes on nutrition! This shrimp stir fry is big on both flavor and nutrients! We like to design meals that add a big nutritional punch using our favorite go-to veggies. Here’s what to note:
Bell peppers are packed with vitamin C: 1 medium red bell pepper provides 169% of your daily vitamin C. So using two peppers in this recipe knocks this vitamin off the charts (source).
Broccoli is full of fiber and Vitamin C. 1 cup of raw broccoli has 2.3 grams of fiber (source) and 140% of your daily vitamin (source). This recipe uses about 4 cups.
You also get all the benefits of mushrooms, like anti-oxidants and Vitamin B (source).
Make the stir fry sauce: Whisk together all ingredients until a smooth sauce forms.
Cook the vegetables: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli or broccolini, bell pepper and mushrooms. Add 2 pinches kosher salt and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender. Remove the vegetables to bowl.
Cook the shrimp: Add the additional 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the pan. Add the shrimp and green onions. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the shrimp are almost opaque, turning once. Then add back the vegetables and the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce is thickened.
I always feel kind of embarrassed to say that my favorite food is pizza because it sounds so generic, but like, it’s truly one of the most flexible foods out there. You can get so creative with it! And I absolutely love coming up with new flavor combos for my pizza. This week it was a Broccoli Cheddar Pizza with a super creamy, herb-filled white sauce. SO GOOD.
Pizza Crust Options
You can use any type of pizza dough or pizza crust for this recipe. I used my super quick Thin & Crispy Pizza Crust recipe, but you could also use store-bought dough, store-bought pre-baked pizza crust, or even something like naan or tortillas.
Can You Use Fresh Broccoli?
Yes, absolutely. I used frozen broccoli because it’s par-boiled before freezing, so it’s already tender and ready to go, but if you prefer fresh broccoli you can certainly use that. You can either leave it fresh for extra crunch, or you can steam or par-boil it first to make it more tender. If using broccoli fresh without any pre-cooking, I suggest tossing it in a little bit of oil to prevent it from drying out when in the oven.
What Else Can I Add?
I’m a huge advocate of checking your pantry, fridge, or freezer for leftover ingredients that you can toss into your meal. Pizza is one of the best recipes for using up random ingredients. Here are some ingredients that would go awesome on this pizza, if you have them:
Cooked chicken (rotisserie, grilled breast, etc.)
Broccoli Cheddar Pizza
This broccoli cheddar pizza starts with a super creamy herb-filled white sauce then is topped with tender broccoli florets and cheddar.
Prepare the herby white sauce first. Combine the butter, cream cheese, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small saucepot. Heat and stir over medium until the cream cheese has fully melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Stretch your pizza dough over a pizza pan. Spread the herby white sauce over the surface of the pizza dough.
Chop the thawed frozen broccoli into smaller pieces. Sprinkle the chopped broccoli over the herby white sauce on the pizza. Top with the shredded cheddar cheese.
Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, or until the pizza crust is golden brown and the cheddar on top is melted. Cut into eight pieces and serve!
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Pizza – Step by Step Photos
Start with the herby white sauce. Add 1 Tbsp butter, 4 oz. cream cheese, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ⅛ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp salt, and ½ cup milk to a saucepot (photo is before adding the milk).
Heat and stir the sauce ingredients over medium until the cream cheese is fully melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.Stretch your pizza dough onto a pizza pan, then spread the herby white sauce over the surface.
Chop 12 oz. of thawed frozen broccoli florets into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Add the chopped broccoli on top of the white sauce.
Finally, top with 6oz. shredded cheddar.
Bake the broccoli cheddar pizza in the preheated 450ºF oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheddar is melted.
Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in your repertoire for the rest of the year.
I wouldn’t have come up with this pasta combination myself, so I’m glad I found the recipe in my friend Kelly Senyei’s new cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook. You might know Kelly from her blog, Just a Taste. Kelly is a delightful person, a professionally trained chef and a hard-working mom to three boys, all under the age of five.
Kelly’s new cookbook offers 125 family-friendly recipes with fun secret ingredient twists. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but I’m looking forward to trying the Caesar pasta salad (with avocado), Greek chopped salad (with halloumi cheese), 30-minute mac and cheese (with pumpkin) and mushroom ravioli with brown butter sauce (with goat cheese, and made entirely from scratch). And good gracious, wait until you see the desserts.
This broccoli pesto pasta recipe includes green olives as the secret ingredient. They offer a delicious briny olive flavor and cover up the flavor of the broccoli. She says her boys absolutely love this dish, so this dish is designed for the whole family. I found some ricotta in my fridge and really enjoyed a few dollops over my bowl. Serve it as you please!
These roasted broccoli pimento cheese melts are a lovely little lunch or snack! Toasted sourdough, melty pimento cheese and charred broccoli come together to make the most perfect cheesy, crunchy toast. We love them! These pimento cheese melts are the way to my heart! They are embarrassingly easy and incredibly delicious. So simple, yet pack […]
These roasted broccoli pimento cheese melts are a lovely little lunch or snack! Toasted sourdough, melty pimento cheese and charred broccoli come together to make the most perfect cheesy, crunchy toast. We love them!
These pimento cheese melts are the way to my heart!
They are embarrassingly easy and incredibly delicious. So simple, yet pack a big punch.
A big lunch punch?!
Okay I’ll stop. They must find their way into your kitchen this week!
Last week, I promised you something fantastic with that pimento cheese recipe. And here is number one. A toasty sourdough, charred broccoli, melty, cheesy toast that will brighten your day. It can be a toast or even a crostini bite on little baguette slices.
If you find yourself with a plethora of pimento cheese… you have got to use it to make these wonderful melts! Sure, I’ve made pimento cheese grilled cheese before. And it’s super good. Very decadent and melty and wonderful.
But if you want something slightly simpler and if you want to incorporate a little of that classic broccoli cheddar flavor, this melt will be your new BFF.
Make it into a sandwich, keep it open-faced – whatever you desire!
It’s no secret what a fan of roasted broccoli we are in this house. I’ll spare you the ramble of “I just don’t know how it’s possible….” considering I loathed the sight of broccoli a few years ago. But it’s such a staple for us now – and if there is cheddar or any form of cheese involved?
HELLO I am so there.
First, we have all sorts of delish flavor going on here. Charred, roasted broccoli. Chewy yet toasted sourdough. All the savory, salty cheesy goodness. It’s a combination that cannot be beat.
Next, we have tons of texture too. The toast! The roasted broccoli! And the the gooey melty cheese.
It’s an actual treat for your tastebuds.
As simple as it may be, it’s such a satisfying little meal. Pair it with a good greens salad or even an extra side of roasted broccoli. It’s filling, tastes wonderful and so super easy to throw together. (more…)