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Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas and Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan

Chicken+&+Black+Bean+QuesadillasGood news: I think I’ve found my new favourite way to eat broccoli.

We had a head in the fridge that needed out of its misery. I briefly pondered broccoli-cheese soup or Classy Chicken… I don’t dislike broccoli, but I must say I’m rarely inspired by it. I’ll eat it on a veg & dip platter, mostly because those little trees can hang on to a lot of dip and I feel virtuous for it. (The broccoli part, not so much the dip.)

I was pondering the fact that my favourite way to cook vegetables is to roast them, and yet I’ve never roasted broccoli. I’ve never heard of anyone else roasting it, either. (Which is not to say it hasn’t been done – I’m certain it has!) So I cut it into fairly small florets and the stalk into chunks, tossed them with oil, spread them out on a baking sheet and roasted them at 450F for about 20 minutes.

Then I grated a bit of fresh Parmesan over the lot and put them back in for 5 minutes or so. It could be that I was ravenous, and actually held off nibbling while I cooked dinner (patting myself on the back counts as excercise, doesn’t it?), but it was the best broccoli I think I’ve ever had. (Which I realize you’ll have to take my word for considering this photo.) Next time I think I’ll add garlic.

While it was roasting I made quesadillas. Which I know are so last year, but we had a surplus of whole wheat tortillas, a baggie of leftover chopped chicken and a small chunk of old cheddar – just enough to glue them together but not enough to indulge. Normally I would have opened a can of black beans, but I had some of those Canton beans seasoned with garlic, onion and peppers and so added them to the filling, and then when they were gooey and crisp, scooped up as much salsa as each wedge would structurally tolerate. We each ate one folded quesadilla (by that I mean made with one tortilla rather than two) and then I had to go distract myself while my stomach caught up to my brain – once I get going I could easily graze straight through from late afternoon until bedtime.

But I didn’t. Yay me.

(Don’t think that my choice to use flour tortillas means they are somehow healthier than other types of bread – Atkins had us believe that wraps were a low carb choice, but in fact they are just unleavened bread – imaging rolling a slice of sandwich bread flat with a rolling pin. It would be nice if they were freebies, but they’re not.)

In other news, apparently I actually did have the Norwalk virus (which I think sounds far more dramatic just on account of its having a title – stomach flu doesn’t quite have the same ring to it) on Monday. Which explains why I thought I just might die right there in the loo. And which makes me ponder whom I came in contact with over the past week – Health Canada says I’ll remain contagious for a minimum of 3-4 days (and up to 2 weeks) after being symptom-free. So does that mean I can’t go to the gym and sweat all over everything for the next few days? Or even weeks? Damn.

(Can dogs get the Norwalk virus? Because as I sit and type this Lou has been intermittently and politely getting down off the couch and quietly ejecting vast quantities of soupy brown tire bits all over the floor.)


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14 comments on “Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas and Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan

  1. Terri
    January 8, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Go ahead and pat yourself on the back…those little victories won when you are trying to break nibbling habits make a lot of difference. I am terrible about sampling when I am cooking. A little here a little there really adds up by the time you have completed assembling a meal! I heard that chewing gum helps in that department

    Not sure about dogs and the tranferrence of said Norwalk virus, but when my dogs are feeling the same I put them on plain old ground beef and rice for a couple of days until the soupy stuff clears up. Works like a charm and they love it.

  2. JulieVR
    January 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Yes! Funny I was just advising my sister to chew gum in the kitchen – great advice – and had gone off on a tangent about it here before W got on the laptop and deleted it all! Also brushing your teeth works – you know how things taste funny when you eat them right after brushing your teeth? Plus you get the flavour out of your mouth that makes you want more…

  3. Ethel
    January 8, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Roasted Broccoli is fantastic. I prefer to roast all vegies if I have the choice. I’m sure you have also roasted any kind of squash (acorn or butternut are good, I don’t even peel them we all need more fiber right?), and elephant garlic (I just peel them and throw them in the pan whole). I made a batch of roasted vegies on Boxing Day – easiest way to feed a crowd, I added a couple of drizzles of walnut oil along with some olive oil and coarse salt. They were fabulous. I hope you feel better soon. Keep up the good work. I am trying out the Classy Chicken dish tonight.

  4. robyn
    January 8, 2009 at 9:20 am

    how do you know you had Norwalk? Were you tested? Ugh. I hate vomiting!

    And no, pets can’t catch anything from you and vice versa. I took Cricket to the vet once because he was sick with sneezing and goopy eyes, and told the vet that he likely caught it from us because we were all sick. He laughed at me. I thought it made sense! :- )

  5. JoJo
    January 8, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Roasted broccoli is the best! I made the recipe (very similar to yours)from Jan/08 Cooks Illustrated for my son, who confesses to being underwhelmed to the point of dislike by said vegetable. He went back for seconds.

    Quick – make it for your mom.

  6. JulieVR
    January 8, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Lets just say that a lot of us who were at the same event on Saturday got it, all within 24-48 hours, some of whom were docs, and one who went to the hospital. There isn’t really a clear and easy test for Norwalk, especially after the fact. I’ll spare you details since this is a food blog…

  7. gwendolyn
    January 8, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I had Norwalk just before Christmas last year and it was the worst. Glad to hear you’re feeling better. I wish I could find myself equally inspired by the bizarre collection of leftovers currently residing in my fridge.

  8. Cathy D
    January 8, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Hi there,

    Ugh, was so feeling your pain from about Jan 2 to 5th. U-G-L-Y.

    Excellent advise on the broccoli. We struggle, me who is meh about it, and Brad who adores t. Perhaps this method can put the great broccoli struggle in our house to rest. Will try it this week!

  9. angela
    January 8, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    i tried the roasted brocolli tonight and it was AMAZING, tossed with canola oil and garlic. didnt’ even need the cheese 🙂

  10. piccola
    January 8, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I roast broccoli all the time, usually tossed with soy sauce, ginger and garlic. It’s awesome.

    But if you’re looking for inspiration, my favourite way to eat broccoli is with pasta – basically, broccoli cooked with garlic and hot pepper flakes, mixed with pasta (I like chunky shapes)and a little cooking water, then parmesan cheese. Simple. Delicious.

  11. Lisa
    January 8, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    On a making-veggies-more-tasty-tangent, I like to cook up my green & yellow bean and carrot medley with a little butter/oil, soy sauce and lemon juice. We get that frozen medley at Costco and it’s our fall back veggie choice when we know we should eat veggies with dinner but don’t feel like making any effort!

    Glad to hear you are on the mend! Beware the possibility of re-infection. You might want to douse your house in bleach.

  12. Donna
    January 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Tonight we had Black Bean Soup, from your Starting Out cookbook. My son made it and included all he extras – , over rice with sour cream and green onions -garlic sausage on the side.

  13. Jessica
    January 9, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the roasted broccoli idea. I made it for dinner last night and REALLY liked it. It was also nice not to have the stove top so cluttered! I also like sauteing broccoli over med-high heat starting with some sesame oil, then adding douses of soy sauce and then a little water to steam (covered).

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