Broccoli Salad

This Broccoli Salad is a healthy and delicious way to get your greens, dairy, and fruit.  It is a great salad to bring to any picnic or party you may be going to for the long weekend.

Healthy broccoli salad, with cheese, bacon, apples, and raisins

Despite all the sugar and treats you see here and on my Instagram, we really do eat fairly healthy.

This Veggie Salad is a staple in our fridge during the summer months.  Actually we eat this salad pretty much year round.  Our kids love it with pasta added to it, and we usually top spinach or lettuce with the veggies.

Healthy broccoli salad, with cheese, bacon, apples, and raisins

A couple months ago we had a picnic with our family and my mother in law brought Broccoli Salad.  It had been years since I had eaten this salad, and I forgot how much I loved it.  I may have had seconds on salad instead of dessert.  Can you believe that?

Anyway, I came home and wanted to make a big bowl of this for our fridge, but I did not have the recipe.  So, I tried to recreate it based on what I remembered from the picnic.

I did add apples to the salad because I had those in my fridge, and I like how they added a crunch and sweetness to the broccoli.

Healthy broccoli salad, with cheese, bacon, apples, and raisins

I do not like overly creamy dressings when it comes to broccoli salad.  If I’m eating veggies, I want the dressing to compliment it, not hide it.  Mix together half greek yogurt and mayo to cut down on the fat in the dressing.  A little bit of sugar and apple cider vinegar thins it out and gives it that tang that is so good with the veggies and fruit.

Bacon and sunflower seeds add a bit of crunch and salt to the salad.

I love how easy this salad is to mix up.  Plus, if you don’t like something, leave it out or substitute something else.  Well, except the broccoli.  It is a broccoli salad, so you kind of have to leave it!

Just think…if you eat a big bowl of this salad at dinner, then you are totally justified to eat at least two desserts later.  Right?

Healthy broccoli salad, with cheese, bacon, apples, and raisins

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Broccoli Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 14 cups salad

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli, cheese, bacon, raisins, and apples with a light dressing is a delicious and healthy option to bring for picnics and parties.

Ingredients

8 cups chopped fresh broccoli
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup raisins
2 cups diced apples
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup crumbled bacon
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the broccoli, cheese, raisins, sunflower seeds, and bacon in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the yogurt, mayo, apple cider vinegar, and sugar. Pour over the ingredients in the bowl and stir well.
  3. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the dressing to meld with the ingredients. Makes about 14 cups of salad. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.

Notes

*This is an easy recipe to cut in half if you do not need a big bowl of salad.

http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2014/08/broccoli-salad/

 A few more salads that are great for picnics and parties:

Pizza Pasta Salad title

 Pizza Pasta Salad

fruit salad in jar

 

Fruit Salsa

 

 

Veggie Supreme Pasta Bake

Need a quick and easy dinner for those busy after school nights?   This Veggie Supreme Pasta Bake will have you sitting down to dinner with your family in no time.

Today I am partnering with the American Dairy Association, Mideast again to show you how to add more healthy dairy to your life.

Veggies and melty cheese will make this pasta dinner a family favorite. #cheese #dinner #recipe #dairyfuel

I don’t know about your school year, but ours is extremely busy the first month and a half.  Our two boys are playing soccer, and our daughter is playing volleyball and learning tap dance.  Talk about a crazy schedule trying to juggle all those practices and games with our work and life schedule.  I’m still trying to figure out where homework is going to fit in.

Even with the craziness of the sports schedule, we still try to sit down for dinner as a family as much as possible.

Obviously there are going to be some nights where we just grab something quick as we drop off the school bags and go right back out the door for a game.   Those days might even be easier if we hit the drive thru.  What?  There are some healthy options there too.

Veggies and melty cheese will make this pasta dinner a family favorite. #cheese #dinner #recipe #dairyfuel

Pasta and cheese gets thumbs up from everyone here just about every single time we put it on the menu.   Doing all the prep work the night before definitely gets a thumbs up from me on nights when the hungry monsters want to devour everything in sight as soon as they walk in the door.

I like that I can add so many different dairy products into this cheesy dish.   Milk, yogurt, and 2 kinds of cheese packs a big protein punch.  That protein power will keep everyone full and energized as we moo-ve on to the next thing on our schedule.

Experts recommend that everyone should be consuming 3 servings of dairy per day, but did you know that most people only eat 1?  By getting more dairy into your diet, you are paving the way for a healthier lifestyle later in life.  Who doesn’t want strong bones and healthy teeth as they get older.

Veggies and melty cheese will make this pasta dinner a family favorite. #cheese #dinner #recipe #dairyfuel

Prepping your vegetables and pasta the night before will help you have dinner ready faster.

I like to cut all the veggies and place them in containers or ziplock bags while my kids are getting ready for bed.  You can also cook your pasta and stir some olive oil into it after it drains to keep it from sticking together.

Another great thing about this dish is that you can customize your veggies to suit your taste.  I happen to like hiding mushrooms in mine…my kids never know until after the fact.  Although they are getting wise to my tactics.

Veggies and melty cheese will make this pasta dinner a family favorite. #cheese #dinner #recipe #dairyfuel

Start by sautéing the butter and onion, then add more of the veggies and some flour.  Make sure you cook that for another 1-2 minutes to get that flour cooked down.  Whisk in the milk and cook until it thickens slightly.  I use skim milk, so it never really gets too thick.  Let it cook about 2 minutes and then add the cheese and yogurt.  It’s an moo-velous sight to see all that thick and creamy sauce.

Stir in those noodles and the cans of tomatoes and green chilies.  Now if you are in a hurry just add the extra cheese on top and cover the skillet for a few minutes to melt the cheese on top.  BUT…if you can stretch dinner time for another 20 minutes, I recommend baking it in the oven to melt the cheese.

Then set it on the table and watch everyone’s eyes light up as they see all that melty cheese goodness!

Veggies and melty cheese will make this pasta dinner a family favorite. #cheese #dinner #recipe #dairyfuel

Connect more with the American Dairy Association:

Website | Pinterest | Twitter

 

Veggie Supreme Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Veggie Supreme Pasta Bake

Use your favorite veggies and cheese to make this cheesy pasta bake for dinner. Easy prep the night before makes it a fast dinner to serve on a busy night.

Ingredients

16 ounce box pasta (I used cavatappi)
1Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 - 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup chopped spinach
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup plain greek yogurt
3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
1 - 4 ounce can diced green chilies
2 - 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
salt and pepper
1-2 teaspoons oregano

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente following the package directions. Drain. Spoon back into hot pan and stir in olive oil. Cover and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, green pepper, mushrooms, olives, spinach, and flour. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the milk and cook until it thickens slightly. Stir in the parmesan cheese, yogurt, and 2 cups cheese. Stir until melted.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, green chilies, and cooked pasta. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with oregano.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 8-10.

Notes

*Use your favorite veggies in place of ones you may not like.

http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2014/08/veggie-supreme-pasta-bake/

 I am joining a fabulous team of bloggers to bring you dairy recipes for your Back to School days.  Make sure you visit each one for a delicious recipe to add to your menu.

 Join all of us for a Twitter party where we will tweet all things dairy and back to school ideas!

ADA_BacktoSchool_TwitterParty_2014

 

More delicious ways to add some dairy to your meals: 

Pizza Pinwheels

Pizza Pinwheels

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake

Chicken Supreme Pasta Bake

 Chicken Supreme Pasta Bake

 

*Inside BruCrew Life was compensated by ADA Mideast for my time in creating this recipe and post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Spicy Chicken Panini

This Spicy Chicken Panini recipe is a great dinner or lunch idea when you are running short on time.  The gourmet sandwich can be made using leftovers from a previous dinner.

Spicy Chicken Panini - easy chicken panini sandwich recipe with spicy cheese and guacamole

A few months ago we bought a panini press.  Now sometimes when we buy an appliance or item, the novelty of it wears off with in a month or so, and then we wonder why we ever needed it.

We used the panini press to make this Cheesy Beef Panini, and a few other sandwiches in the first week.   And I am happy to report the sandwich maker is still going strong.  Our oldest son loves using this little machine.  I love that the plates can come off and are easily washed.  It’s a win win for everyone.

Spicy Chicken Panini - easy chicken panini sandwich recipe with spicy cheese and guacamole

The other day we had some leftover grilled chicken breasts, so I pulled out the panini press and looked through our fridge to see what else we had for sandwiches.

There was some spicy cheese in the deli drawer, some tomatoes in the crisper, and a bowl of Spicy Guacamole leftover from taco night too.  Why not put it all in one crispy sandwich for a quick and easy lunch?

Butter your bread and put the chicken pieces and cheese inside first.  I wanted my tomatoes and guacamole to stay cold, so I waited to put those on after the cheese melted.

Talk about gourmet grilled cheese!  This easy sandwich had a slight kick from the cheese and guacamole.  You could easily alter this sandwich to fit your taste.  Use your favorite cheese and meat to change it up.

Now I just need to buy the waffle iron plates that are available for the griddler.  Then we can use this appliance for breakfast too…or cookies.  I see waffle cookies in my future :-)

Spicy Chicken Panini - easy chicken panini sandwich recipe with spicy cheese and guacamole

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Spicy Chicken Panini

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Spicy Chicken Panini

Spicy cheese and guacamole make this chicken grilled cheese a gourmet sandwich to enjoy for dinner.

Ingredients

4 slices bread
2 Tablespoons butter
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
4 slices pepper jack cheese
8 tomato slices
1/2 cup guacamole

Instructions

  1. Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Place 2 slices of bread butter side down on a hot panini press. Top each slice with one sliced chicken breast and 2 slices of cheese. Place the extra 2 pieces of bread on top, butter side up. Close panini and heat for a few minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  3. Open each sandwich and top with tomato slices and guacamole. Cut each sandwich in half. Serves 2.
http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2014/08/spicy-chicken-panini/

 A few more easy chicken recipes you may like:

Grape Pecan Chicken Salad title-1

Grape Pecan Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken & Avocado Quesadillas title-1

BBQ Chicken & Avocado Quesadillas

Fiesta Chicken Salad title-2
Fiesta Chicken Salad

Cheesy Beef Panini

Cheesy Beef Panini - roast beef, melty cheese, onions, peppers, and garlic toasted in a toasted panini sandwich

We have added a new member to our family.

Now before you start thinking we have a new baby or puppy, let me set you straight. We bought a panini press. And it has been love at first use. Honestly, I think someone has made a sandwich on it every day for the past week. My oldest even told me he was kidnapping the machine when the time comes for him to move out.  I think it is safe to say this new purchase is going to get lots of use in the next few years.

Another thing I’m thinking is thank goodness for a machine that is so easy to use that our kids can make their own lunches this summer.

Cheesy Beef Panini - roast beef, melty cheese, onions, peppers, and garlic toasted in a toasted panini sandwich

And hooray for easy to use products from Mezzetta to jazz up those summer sandwiches. They were wonderful enough to send me some jars of product to get our sandwich making started. These products are also available in the condiments aisle of your local grocery store.

I decided to start with some roast beef and add some peppers and onions. As I looked at the jars on my counter, I stopped on the Savory Garlic. This spread is a blend of olive oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic. It was the perfect thing to spread on the outside of my bread before putting the sandwich in the panini press. If you do not have a panini press available, you can use a griddle or a pan on the stove to grill it to perfection.

Cheesy Beef Panini - roast beef, melty cheese, onions, peppers, and garlic toasted in a toasted panini sandwich

Look at all that goodness inside the sandwich. Who can turn down a sandwich loaded with meat, melty cheese, peppers, and garlic?

Cheesy Beef Panini - roast beef, melty cheese, onions, peppers, and garlic toasted in a toasted panini sandwich

I think it’s time to get my sandwich love on again for lunch and dinner today. My family shouldn’t have a problem with that…I hope. At least it’s better than cold cereal for dinner.

Mezzetta Banner

Now for some fun in the kitchen. Mezzetta is hosting a “Make That Sandwich” contest. Do you have a sandwich idea that could win? The grand prize winner will come home with $25,000 and two runners up will receive $1,000. You need to include at least two Mezzetta products in your original creation. Contest details are available here. Now get in the kitchen and start creating sandwich fun. I would love to say one of my readers won this contest.

Cheesy Beef Panini

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Cheesy Beef Panini

A delicious blend of roast beef, cheese, peppers, onion, and garlic in a toasted sandwich.

Ingredients

4 slices thick oat bread
6 slices deli roast beef
4 slices smoked Gouda cheese
2 teaspoons Mezzetta Savory Garlic Spread
1/4 cup Mezzetta Roasted Bell Pepper Strips & Caramelized Onions

Instructions

  1. Spread the outside of the bread slices with the Savory Garlic spread. Place a slice of bread spread side down. Top it with 3 slices roast beef, 2 slices cheese, and 1/2 the peppers and onions. Place another piece of bread on top, spread side up. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  2. Place sandwiches on a panini press or griddle that has been preheated to medium high heat. Cook for a few minutes or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Cut in half or quarters and serve. Makes 2 sandwiches.
http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2014/06/cheesy-beef-panini/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mezzetta. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tomato Basil Beef Pasta

Tomatoes and basil give this easy beef pasta a delicious flavor.  It is the perfect 20 minute meal you can enjoy any day of the week.

Tomato Basil Beef Pasta - cherry tomatoes, basil, and beef makes this pasta dinner a delicious meal in under 30 minutes
The answer is yes.

What?  You weren’t going to ask if I was officially obsessed with making pasta dinners?

Well, I will just admit it now before you start wondering.  I am officially and totally in love with creating new pasta dinners.

Tomato Basil Beef Pasta - cherry tomatoes, basil, and beef makes this pasta dinner a delicious meal in under 30 minutes

The idea for this pasta came from a magazine I was reading at my son’s orthodontist appointment.  Now here’s the problem.  I have absolutely no idea what magazine it was.  All I remember is there was a dinner with pan roasted tomatoes and basil.

And the dr.’s office is an hour away, so I can’t just pop in one day to see if that magazine is still sitting there.  Even if I could…I don’t remember what the front cover looked like.  So, let’s just pretend I came up with this entire meal by myself :-)

Ok, fine.  Let’s just talk about something I do remember.  And that is just how good this pasta was.

This “sauce” for this dish comes from sautéing the tomatoes and basil in olive oil.  Then toss it with already cooked pasta and cooked beef fajita meat.  You can buy the meat at Sam’s Club, but any pre cooked beef fajita mix from any store would work.  Sprinkle the warm pasta with some shredded parmesan cheese before serving.

A dinner that is easy, delicious, and ready in 20 minutes.  Perfect for those busy (or lazy) days of summer

Tomato Basil Beef Pasta - cherry tomatoes, basil, and beef makes this pasta dinner a delicious meal in under 30 minutes

Stay up to date on all the BruCrew baking here:
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Tomato Basil Beef Pasta

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Tomato Basil Beef Pasta

Tomatoes and basil sauted in olive oil creates a delicious and light dressing for pasta and beef. This dinner can be ready in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups frozen, precooked beef fajitas meat (I buy a 24 ounce bag from Sam's Club)
12 ounces pasta
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces fresh basil leaves, chopped
6 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Saute the meat in 1 Tablespoon oil over low-medium heat until heated all the way through. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the al dente package directions. Drain and toss with 4 Tablespoons olive oil. Cover and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil up. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chopped basil and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Stir the meat and tomatoes into the pasta. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese. Makes 6-8 servings.
http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2014/05/tomato-basil-beef-pasta/

 More pasta recipes that get rave reviews in our house:

Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake 5

 Chicken Sausage Pasta

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake 3
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Bake

Pizza Pasta Salad title

Pizza Pasta Salad

Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake

Looking for a pasta dinner to make in under 40 minutes?  This Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake is full of meat, veggies, and ooey, gooey cheese.

Chicken Sausage Pasta Bake - meat and pasta topped with lots of ooey, gooey cheese for a comfort food dinner Do you ever lose time in stores?

If I go into Target, it will be a good hour before I come out…and that’s a quick trip.  Seriously, I think they put something in the air vents to keep you looking at all the cute stuff.

[Read more...]

Loaded Chicken Alfredo Gnocchi Bake

Chicken Alfredo meets loaded baked potato in this delicious Loaded Chicken Alfredo Gnocchi Bake.  Full of flavor and easy to have on your table for dinner tonight.

Loaded Chicken Alfredo Gnocchi Bake - an amazing and delicious combination of chicken alfredo, cheese, and bacon

 Remember that time I told you how I didn’t like to make dinner?

Hhhhmmmm!  Yeah, I might have changed my mind on that.  Lately, I have been filling my food lists with some delicious sounding savory dishes.  Very slowly I am working my way through that list.

I still prefer baking up a storm, but this dinner thing isn’t so bad after all.  [Read more...]

Chicken Supreme Pasta Bake

This easy, cheesy pasta bake comes together in no time when you combine the toppings from a chicken supreme pizza with pasta and cheese.  This Chicken Supreme Pasta Bake is definitely comfort food to the max.

Chicken Supreme Pasta Bake - easy and very cheesy chicken and pasta dinner that everyone will love

My goal to start making more dinners is going pretty well.  I have been trying to experiment more with savory foods along with all the sweets each week.

So far, so good.  I have this one and one other dish ready to share with you.  Both meals were given thumbs up by my little taste testers.
[Read more...]

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Getting your servings of dairy is a little bit easier when you eat Broccoli Cheese Soup for dinner.  Serve it with a fun bread bowl for something different at dinner.

Broccoli Cheese Soup - a creamy soup loaded with bits of broccoli and carrots in a cheese broth  www.insidebrucrewlife.com

Can I just tell you that I have the coolest job ever?  It might seem a little strange to you.  I mean I do start busting out the pumpkin in early August, start on the peppermint by October, and then I’m ready for coconut in January.

Oh, and I get to go visit cow farms and see how cheese is made.  Definitely a strange job!  But I seriously love every minute of it.

A few weeks ago I joined a team from the American Dairy Association Mideast in Cleveland, Ohio for a whirlwind trip of farms, food, and fun.  The first night we had dinner at The Lakehouse Inn & Winery on Geneva-on-the-Lake where we learned how to pair the right wine with different cheeses from Marianne Frantz, the founder of American Wine School.

I hope you are ready for some pictures…you are going on the virtual tour with me now.   [Read more...]

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole

I know you are used to seeing lots of sugar treats here, but today we are going to take a look at one of my favorite lunch meals.  My husband makes this Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole for us to eat throughout the week.

He usually eats this for breakfast and I will usually have it for lunch.    The egg casserole is not something new.  I love it because you can change it up with different vegetables each time.  Now because I’m the one making all the sugar, and my husband is the one making the dinners, I had to ask him for the ingredients.  My husband kind of laughed at me and said he bakes by feeling.  He just throws in what he wants and doesn’t measure.  So the other day I had him make this with me,  and I measured the ingredients for this Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole.  He said I was cramping his style by making him measure :-)

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole, low fat breakfast, healthy meal choice, egg casserole

 For this particular egg casserole we used red onion, mushrooms, broccoli, a can of tomatoes, and a bag of sharp Sargento cheese.   We like to use a food processor to chop the vegetables.  It will cut down on your prep time by quite a bit.  We have the Ninja and I love it.  It is perfect for finely dicing your ingredients in a very short amount of time.   Whisk your eggs, stir in the vegetables, and pour in a baking dish.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  One bowl to clean and no mixer.  You need easy recipes like this every once in a while.

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole, healthy meal choice, egg casserole, low fat meals

This Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole is so delicious.  The best thing about this casserole is that it reheats well.  I usually reheat a square in the microwave for lunch.  It is a nice meal to make up and have in your refrigerator for the week.

Eating a healthy lunch means I can have that brownie or cookie in the afternoon.  Oh wait!  That isn’t how healthy eating is supposed to work!

 

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*This post is sponsored by Sargento® , all opinions are my own.

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole

This Broccoli and Cheese Egg Casserole is a great low fat breakfast or dinner option. It is full of flavor and protein.

Ingredients

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
1 1/2 cups broccoli, finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14 1/2 oz.)
12 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups sharp shredded cheese (Sargento)

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Whisk. Stir in all the chopped vegetables, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and cheese. Pour into a greased 9x13 dish. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.
  2. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate. Serves 12.
http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2013/01/broccoli-and-cheese-egg-casserole/

 

Shared with: Weekend Potluck, One Creative Weekend,