Crunchy Broccoli and Bacon Salad


Yep, been on a bit of broccoli binge lately… and this Crunchy Broccoli & Bacon Salad is my latest crave.

(Sure were a lot of “Bs” in that last sentence.)

Crunchy Broccoli & Bacon Salad Obviously, I love broccoli.

  • Not just because it provides more disease-fighting nutrients than almost any other vegetable.
  • Not just because it’s loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber… good for the heart and digestive system.
  • Not just because it’s crazy low in calories.

Broccoli is my veg of choice because it pumps up the nutrition, flavor and color of almost any dish… and because there are SO MANY ways to prepare it;

  • Eat it raw.
  • Steam it.
  • Sauté it.
  • Soup it.
  • Use it to dip or turn it into a dip.

Or make it into a easy-Louisey Crunchy Broccoli & Bacon Salad like I did. Keep the lemony dressing very light… you don’t want to drown the florets. I added red peppers for color, but you can throw in cucumbers or some other equally crunchy vegetable. So… have at it! This is one binge-worthy food that’s actually healthy!


Extra Helpings: How to Sauté Fish


How to Sauté Fish

Learning how to sauté fish fillets is a fantastic way to get dinner on the table fast.

But honestly, many of us struggle with sautéing because:

• The fish sticks to the pan
• It won’t brown
• It winds up overcooked or not cooked enough

Here are a few quick tips that’ll put a gorgeous crisp-crust on your fillet. I’ve also included an incredibly easy recipe, to guarantee your sauté success:

How to Sauté Fish-Pat Dry Your Fish

Pat Dry Your Fish For a Crisp Crust

  1. Remove your fish fillets from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking. This will take the chill off, so you’re not putting a fridge-cold piece of fish in a hot pan.
  2. Pat-dry the fish. If the fish has too much moisture it’s going to steam and not get that lovely crisp sear that you want.
  3. Preheat your pan on medium high heat. I like using a cast-iron skillet, but non-stick skillets practically guarantee success. You’ll know the pan is hot enough if droplets of water dance on the surface.
  4. Lightly oil the pan. You are sautéing… not deep-frying. Add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. When it shimmers, you can add your fish.
  5. Place your fish in the pan skin-side up. If there’s no skin, place the “presentation” or the pretty side down first. That’s the side that you’ll want face-up on the plate. When you put it in the pan you should hear a nice sizzle. If you’re sautéing more than one fillet, increase the heat. The pan will cool down as you add more fillets. Remember don’t crowd the pan!
  6. Leave it alone! When it’s crispy brown, it will release easily from the pan with very little sticking. The length of time you cook it before turning will depend on the thickness of your fish. After 2 to 3 minutes, gently try to lift it with the spatula… don’t muscle it!
  7. Flip it over. Again, how long you cook it depends on the thickness of the fish. But remember, it will continue to cook a bit even after you remove it from the pan. The fillet should be firm and opaque. It will become flaky while it rests.

That’s my method… have anything else to add? Here’s the recipe…


Try This: Purple Cauliflower


How many purple vegetables can you name? My most recent discovery? Purple Cauliflower.

Purple Cauliflower in FM

Unlike so many other purple vegetables, say… green beans and bell peppers… the beautiful bright color doesn’t fade when sautéed or blanched. Cook it quickly and you’ll keep the vibrant color and the tender crispness.

All cauliflower is high in fiber and low in calories and, the best natural source of vitamin C next to citrus (bet you didn’t know that!). And, how about this? Cauliflower may also contain a phytonutrient that helps block cancer growth.

Cauliflower is also one of those vegetables that intimidates a lot of people… don’t be one of them!

Break the head into bite-size florets and sauté in a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice… then spoon on top of cooked gnocchi and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.

Purple Cauliflower and Gnocchi 1

I’ve never purple cauliflower in the regular supermarket, only in a farmers’ market or specialty food store. If you come across it, Try It!

So, how many purple vegetables did you come up with? Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Eggplant
2. Purple potatoes
3. Purple Corn
4. Purple Bell Peppers
5. Purple Carrots
6. Purple Green Beans

What am I missing?

Purple Vegetable Collage


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Try This: Shishito Peppers


Here’s the perfect nibble while you’re waiting for the drinks to be poured: Sautéed Japanese shishito peppers.

Shishito Peppers

What makes these grassy, nutty tasting peppers so special is how incredibly simple they are to prepare. Throw them in a skillet with hot (not smoking) olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt. Once they’ve blistered and popped, they’re ready.

You also can get all fancy-do and grill them or sauté them in sesame oil with a splash of tamari… but why mess with such an easy-to-make Spanish tapa? Bring the skillet to the table so everyone has the fun of picking them up by the stem and devouring them in one bite.

Find these peppers in Asian markets almost year round or in farmers’ markets right now.

Don’t shy away just because I said “peppers.” Only about 1 in 25 will knock your socks off… which adds to the excitement of eating them! Roulette, anyone?

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: