January 7, 2011

Hold the Cheese

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Margaret's Morsels | Broccoli with Lemon

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush proclaimed he did not like broccoli, had never liked broccoli and would not eat broccoli again.

Unlike President Bush, my husband and I love broccoli.  My husband likes broccoli with cheese sauce, but I like mine plain.  We found the perfect compromise when I found the recipe for Broccoli with Lemon.  Not only is it tasty, it's good for you and a lot healthier than broccoli with cheese sauce.

The recipe uses fresh broccoli which is loaded with nutrients.  Fresh broccoli is available year round, but the peak season is April through October.  When buying fresh broccoli, look for a deep green color, tightly closed buds and firm stalks.  I use a 16 ounce package of broccoli florets, but you could cut a head of broccoli into florets.  You'll need approximately 8 cups of florets for the recipe.

The broccoli is prepared by steaming rather than cooking it in boiling water. To steam food means to cook it on a rack over boiling liquid in a tightly covered container.  Steaming food is a healthy way to cook because the food retains the nutrients.  Not only that, the flavor, shape and texture remains intact too.

Margaret's Morsels | Broccoli with Lemon
The broccoli is still bright green after it's been steamed.

The easiest way to steam broccoli is to use a collapsible metal steamer basket.  The basket is inexpensive, easy to use and opens to fit almost any size pan.

Margaret's Morsels | Broccoli with Lemon
Closed steamer basket.

Margaret's Morsels | Broccoli with Lemon
Partially opened steamer basket.

Margaret's Morsels | Broccoli with Lemon
Fully opened steamer basket.

There are four crucial points to remember when steaming food:

  • The pan must be large enough to allow the steam to circulate. If it's too small, the food won't cook properly.
  • The basket should never come in contact with the boiling liquid. Before I steam food, I put water in the pan and add the empty steamer basket to make sure the water is at the right level.
  • You must use a tight fitting lid or the steam will escape.  If your lid doesn't fit tightly, cover the top of the pan with foil and then add the lid.
  • If you're steaming a large quantity of food, you'll need to stir the contents once or twice to ensure even cooking.

I prepare the lemon mixture right before I steam the broccoli.  However, it is so quick and easy to prepare, you can assemble it while the broccoli is steaming.  The recipe calls for butter or margarine; I use margarine.  The only other ingredients are lemon juice, salt and pepper.  The acid in the lemon juice can affect the color of the broccoli, so don't add the mixture until you're ready to eat.

If eating healthier was your resolution for 2011, Broccoli with Lemon and Baked Salmon Patties make a healthy meal.  The broccoli is also delicious with Microwave Tuna and Noodle Parmesan.  If you're looking for a new way to prepare broccoli, hold the cheese and add lemon instead.

Broccoli with Lemon
4 to 6 Servings

1 (16 oz.) pkg. fresh broccoli florets
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Place approximately 1-inch water in a large saucepan.  Bring water to a boil.  Put broccoli florets in a steamer basket.  Put the basket over the boiling water.  Cover and steam 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Drizzle mixture over broccoli; toss to coat.

© Margaret's Morsels



  1. Great blog. I am from New Zealand and blog on food amongst other things. You might be interested in this post about a salad using left over lamb http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/salad-with-leftover-lamb.html. Will enjoy following your blog.

  2. Thanks, Carole! I love your idea of using leftover lamb for salad. I've never cooked lamb, but have thought about cooking it this year for Easter. I've eaten it before cooked with rosemary and it was really good. Hope you'll enjoy my blog and comment again.