I know, broccoli is controversial (though not quite as much as brussels sprouts). Some love it, some hate it. If you’re not a broccoli fan, this recipe for oven roasted lemon garlic broccoli might change your mind. Roasting helps reduce the bitterness and gives the broccoli a nutty flavor (from the caramelization). It also makes the broccoli crispy outside, tender and sweet inside.
I have used frozen broccoli florets, because they cook more quickly (and I had a big bag of them). This is also more practical, since it’s tough for one person to eat an entire head of broccoli all at once! This way I can take out just what I need and the rest can stay frozen until I want it for something else.
Plus, frozen vegetables often have more vitamins and better nutrition than fresh vegetables do. That’s because the frozen version has been picked and then preserved (by freezing) immediately, while fresh produce may have traveled for days from some other state (or even country) before it gets to your supermarket.
If you have fresh broccoli (or a farmer’s market nearby), you can use that too. Don’t toss out the stems, they are just as good as the florets. They do cook faster (and better) if you remove the tough outer layer from the stems first. A vegetable peeler will work just fine for this.
You’ll also need to cook fresh broccoli a bit longer (since the frozen broccoli has been blanched first). Roast the fresh broccoli for about 25 minutes. If you like it super-crispy, roast it for half an hour (turning it once).
The first time I made this frittata recipe it was for a crowd (rather than one serving) on a boat, which was rocking. It took quite some time to make and they devoured it in minutes! I’ve scaled it back considerably, made it a bit faster, and of course, it’s now a frittata recipe for one person instead of six.
Even scaled back, it does take a bit of time to put together (unless you cheat, and use some frozen, pre-cut veggies, which is what I did here). However, this makes it a great option for a weekend brunch. I’m calling it lunch, but you could make it for dinner too.
The other great thing about frittatas is that they’re flexible. The original recipe (from one of the 60 Minute Gourmet cookbooks) called for ham, zucchini, leeks, peppers, and mushrooms. A great combination, but I didn’t have all those ingredients when I made the version I’ve posted here. So, I used broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions instead.
If you’re not sure what a frittata is, think of an omelette crossed with a tortilla. The full list of ingredients changes, but it’s essentially eggs, sliced potatoes, and veggies.
A frittata recipe for one person; great for Sunday or weekend brunch.
2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 cup)
1/4 C sliced mushrooms
1 C frozen broccoli/cauliflower mixture
1/4 cup onions, sliced thinly
4 T canola or other neutral oil
1 T butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar.
Slice the potatoes thinly, but don't peel them. Place the sliced potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
Boil the water and cook the potatoes until you can easily stick a fork in them. This should take about 15 minutes.
Drain them into a colander, and then set them aside while you prepare the rest of the frittata.
Heat half the canola oil in an omelette pan, or a non-stick ceramic pan.
Put the potatoes in the pan and cook. turning them occasionally, until they are golden brown. Take them out of the pan and put on a plate until you need them again.
Now, add the mushrooms and onions. Cook about 5 minutes are so.
Then add the butter and stir until it melts.
Put the potaotes back in the pan, and add the frozen veggies (this is the cheating part).
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them thoroughly.
Then pour the eggs over the vegetable potato mixture in the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on high heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon. Gently lift the sides of the frittata and cover the pan. Cook about 2 minutes (watch this carefully so it doesn't burn).
Splash the vinegar over the top of the frittata.
Get a large plate and invert it over the pan. While holding the plate tightly over the pan, turn the pan upside down. The frittata should slide right out. You have to do this quickly. It seems a bit scary at first, but it's really not difficult. And, even if it breaks apart, it will still taste good!
The original recipe said to par-boil the potatoes whole. However, they fell apart and were hard to handle (too hot). Slicing them first makes it easier, and they cook faster.
Use an omelette pan or a ceramic pan for this. The frittata will slide out much more easily.
Substitutions and Variations for Your Frittata for One
Much as I don’t like standard non-stick pans, a ceramic pan makes frittatas, omelettes, and other sticky foods much easier to prepare and serve. The eggs don’t stick, and the frittata comes out easily when you invert the plate over the pan to serve the frittata. And, I just love the cheery red color too.
Or, if you prefer, go for the conventional Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron pan. These pans will last forever if treated properly and food won’t stick. The drawback is that they’re heavy and you have to season them (with oil) after each use. They are made right in the US, by a company which also takes care to respect the environment.
This pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausage recipe is based on a recipe invented by Kimberly Chapman (from Eat the Evidence; she makes astonishing desserts and “Ace of Cakes” cakes too).
She had this wonderful English, locally raised bacon and fresh asparagus and decided to make pasta with it (her recipe is here).
It looked so good I wanted to try it. But I didn’t have bacon (or asparagus). I could have gone out and bought asparagus, but I’m not a huge asparagus fan, unless it’s drenched in Hollandaise sauce. I did have some chicken sausage and frozen broccoli though. So, I decided to follow her technique while changing the ingredients a bit.
I used chicken sausage instead of bacon, kept the mushrooms, added red bell pepper (as I had part of a pepper leftover from something else and had to use it up). Then, I changed the cheese to Manchego instead of parmesan, because that’s also what I had on hand.
Tip: When your chunk of parmesan, Manchego, or other hard cheese gets hard to grate with a box grater, use a microplane instead. You can also save the rinds (or even buy them at the market) and use them for soup. Just put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. They’ll keep indefinitely.
Back to the recipe, you essentially, cook the sausage (or bacon), add the veggies, then the pasta, some chicken broth, and top it all with grated cheese.
Pasta with Sausage, Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Peppers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Pasta with broccoli, sausage, red peppers, and mushrooms. A quick and easy dinner for one.
1/4 long pasta (such as spaghetti)
2 T olive oil
1 link chicken sausage, cut into one inch chunks
2 large mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C frozen broccoli
1/4 C red bell pepper, cut in chunks
1/4 C chicken broth
2T grated Manchego (or parmesan cheese)
Fill a medium size saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
Add the pasta, and cook until al dente (about 10) minutes.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large frying pan.
Cook sausage, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Remove the sausage from the pan, but don't wipe the pan.
Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook five minutes until they start to brown.
Put the frozen broccoli into the pan and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes..
Pour in the chicken broth, and let the mixture cook a minute or two.
Add the red pepper.
Once the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the frying pan, tossing with tongs to combine all the ingredients.
Grate the cheese over the pasta mixture and serve.
You can use regular sausage instead of chicken sausage; if you do, you'll need less olive oil. Mix and match the ingredients to suit your own taste. Vary the veggies, go back to bacon, or skip the meat and use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian.
This pistachio pesto pasta recipe is a bit different from standard pesto recipes. Most standard pesto recipes use basil and pine nuts. A great combination, but it’s tough to use up a whole bunch of basil when cooking for one. Either you have to make a big batch of pesto and freeze it, or it spoils.
I do have a basil plant, but cutting enough off to make pesto would leave me without much of a plant! This is a good compromise.
Plus, pine nuts have gotten awfully expensive. It does have some basil, but I replaced most of it with broccoli. Then I substituted pistachios for walnuts or pine nuts.
Actually, to be entirely truthful, I ‘stole’ this idea from one of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. He seemed to like food as much as he enjoyed mysteries and books (my kind of author).
You get the sweet, summery taste of basil, the earthiness of broccoli, and the crunchiness of the pistachios (use the unsalted kind). And frankly, while I love pine nuts, they’ve gotten awfully expensive. You can use walnuts too, if you prefer.
It’s also quick and easy to make (which is always a plus).
You get home from work, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you’re thinking, “How can I make a quick dinner for one that won’t take forever to cook?” You open the refrigerator, and stare inside, hoping for inspiration. You’re tempted to go for fast food, or reach for the menu from the pizza place.
Skip the takeout and make one of these quick dinner recipes for one person instead. They’re all a single serving, but you can make enough for two, save the rest, and reheat it a day or two later (then you get dinner in 2 minutes!).
Most of these recipes take about 20 minutes to cook. Cut up some fruit, heat some rice (I always make extra), make a quick salad, or grab some crusty bread, and you’ve got dinner!
1 chicken breast (or thigh) 1/2 egg (beaten)* flour for dredging salt/pepper to taste 1/4 tsp. dried tarragon pinch mustard powder 2T olive oil 1/2 C frozen broccoli 1/2 C. portobello mushrooms 4 T chicken broth
1. Season flour with tarragon, mustard, salt and pepper. 2. Dip chicken in beaten egg, then in flour mixture. 3. Cut the chicken into thin strips, about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide. 4. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook a minute or two. Add the broccoli, then the chicken broth, and the chicken. Cook stirring about 1-2 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Get in and out of the kitchen quickly with tasty food that’s easy to prepare. Add some bread, maybe some wine, and you’re done. Note that these are (as the author notes), not “formal recipes, but outlines.” Follow along, adapt, or mix and match as it suits you.
Start with a French chef and you know the food will be good. His version of fast food has no Big Macs in sight. Instead, you’ll get sweet potato chowder, oven baked salmon with sun-dried tomato and salsa mayonnaise.
Mark Bittman is the king of quick and easy cooking. Many of the recipes don’t even require measuring. The book is divided by seasons; 101 dishes for each one. He’s got Latin, Creole, Caribbean and Asian flavors, including pasta jambalaya, Korean barbecued beef, and white bean stew.
The name pretty much says it all. It’s got over 1,000 recipes made with ingredients that are easy to find. This book uses everyday ingredients, tells you what’s in season, and organizes the recipes by both types of foods and meals. Great if you’ve got some fish and don’t know what to do with it.
Before Rachel Ray, there was Eduard de Pomaine. This cookbook shows you how to make veal, beef, fish, desserts, and even soups in only a few minutes. And, it’s funny and well-written.
Yes, it was written long ago, but the translators have kindly included instructions on updating it for the modern kitchen (if it took 10 minutes chopping by hand, imagine what you can do with a mini-chopper!)