MONDAY MADNESS: What's For Dinner?

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I hear this question at least five times a week.  I won’t even calculate how many times it actually happens by each member of my family.  A typical response may be, “I don’t know, it’s a surprise.”  If you’re at all like me, what this really means is, it depends on:

-       when I get to the market.

-       which market I actually go to.

-       whether I’m hungry while I’m shopping.

-       if I had time to look up a recipe before leaving the house.

-       whether I can remember if we’re out of tarragon or parmesan or olive oil.

-       what time the girls have basketball practice.

So you see, it’s a rather loaded question.  I think I have a fear of commitment when it comes to the answer.  I don’t want too much feedback, complaints or suggestions from them as to what they think is easy or convenient for me to whip together.  However, I do want the reputation of being the best cook they know and the ‘ooh-ahh’ when they come to the table.  I’m always pondering the ‘right’ answer.

Fortunately, I’m guessing most of us have an arsenal of go-to recipes we can cook any day of the week – with just a few added ingredients (from any store we land at).  For me, Broccoli Soup is just that recipe.  It was given to me by my mom, edited just a bit (by minimal accurate measuring) and passed around to those anxious enough to make it.  I’ve ladled up bowls for family, friends, strangers, and those in need of a meal.  The feedback is always the same, “best soup ever!”  Thanks Mom.

I decided to pre-empt the strike of ‘what’s for dinner tonight’ for all of you and share this recipe.  It’s easy, fool proof and can be made in advance.  While nightfall is arriving around 4:45pm, we are definitely in the soup-making season.  In order to round out the four food groups, simply serve with rotisserie chicken and a sliced apple (you know it keeps the doctors away).


4-5 Heads Broccoli, 1 Stick Margarine or Butter, 3 Tbsp Flour, 3 Cups Lowfat Milk, 1 Cup Water, 1-2 Cups Chicken Broth, 1-2 Tsp Dill Weed (don’t let the image fool you, I use dry dill weed…but fresh looked prettier), ½ Tsp Dry Mustard, 1-2 Tbsp Chopped Dry Onions, Salt and Pepper to taste.


Melt butter completely in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in flour slowly until a thick (clump-free) paste appears.  Add milk slowly, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and add chicken broth and 1 cup of water (no image included for obvious reasons).  Add seasonings.  Do not worry about exact measurement.

Meanwhile rinse and cut broccoli into large stalks and steam for 4-7 minutes (until tender when pierced with a fork).  Drain and add to pot of milk, broth and seasonings.  Cook uncovered for 30 minutes on low…stirring occasionally.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes until cooled down.  Puree in small batches (half full in the blender).  Return to large pot, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with large bowl of croutons and shredded cheddar cheese.

What’s your favorite meal?  Feel like sharing the recipe?  I’m sure my family would appreciate a new batch of go-to meals.  I know Taco-Tuesday, Grilled Chicken and Veggies, and Super Spaghetti need to be retired pretty soon.

Share your concerns, questions, and recipes below.  By know I consider us family here and I still don’t know what to make for dinner tonight.  Broccoli Soup was last week’s surprise.