Perfect One-Dish Dinners: Steamed Broccoli Vinaigrette

We sit in the pediatrician’s office, the five of us, my four kids and me. They’ve put us in the corner room where there’s a bit more space to roam about as they know I show up with my brood of kids and cramming us into a standard exam room would be near impossible, especially once you add a doctor and a nurse to the mix.

Still, there are only two chairs in addition to the wheeled stool the pediatrician spins around on as he talks to my children, attempting to balance the patient being checked and the other three all vying for his attention, telling them all the things they’ve done and accomplished since our last visit.

He asks his standard questions: “Any concerns you have? Sleeping okay? Eating okay? Eating a variety of food?” The other kids chime in – after all, he brought up their favorite topic, asking, “What do you guys like to eat?” – “I like when we eat salmon!” offers my younger daughter. “Last night we had curry and rice,” chirps my son. The pediatrician, knowing all too well, seeing as he was my pediatrician too, knowingly smiles and asks the kids, “You even like broccoli?”

In unison, almost as if they were programmed to do it, my kids scream, “Broccoli is my favorite!”

I attribute part of my kids’ willingness to eat a wide variety of food to our family dinners. No matter the day, our family sits at the dinner table together to eat a meal. On the weekends, we often sit at the table two or three times a day together. Don’t be fooled, though. My kids have picky stages. There are days they call the food served at the dinner table names, whine and complain, but overall, they are fantastic little eaters and sous chefs.

A few weeks ago at BlogHer Food I had the pleasure of meeting Pam Anderson and her beautiful daughters, Maggy and Sharon, of Three Many Cooks in person. Instantly you notice how great their relationship is, one I hope to someday have with my daughters as they mature into adulthood, and you can’t help but see how talented they are in the kitchen, which I witnessed firsthand at the Underwriters Laboratory cooking competition. Seeing their family togetherness, it’s no surprise that Pam’s new cookbook, Perfect One-Dish Dinners, is a fabulous tool to get your family around the dinner table, whether it’s every Sunday for a Sunday Supper or during the week. Family meals are important, and this book makes it easy for you. I was very excited when I realized we’d been gifted a copy of her book in one of the many swag bags at the conference and its parties.

We naturally went straight to my kids’ self-proclaimed favorite food, broccoli. Pam pairs the steamed broccoli vinaigrette with tomato, basil and mozzarella in crisp prosciutto cups to start, osso bucco with dirty polenta and a rum-raisin cheesecake with gingersnap crust (yes, please). She also offers “instant alternatives” to shortcut the process for when you’re crunched for time. Each and every recipe sounds drool-worthy, and I can’t wait to get inspiration for family meals and dinners with friends.

adapted from Perfect One-Dish Dinners by Pam Anderson

3 large broccoli crowns, halved or cut into large chunks
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

In a large skillet, add broccoli halves/pieces, water and salt and cover and cook over high heat. Once the pan starts steaming, set a timer for 5 minutes until broccoli is crisp-tender (read: tender but not mushy) and bright green. Transfer broccoli to a paper towel and set aside.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together shallot, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, pinch of salt and black pepper. While whisking, add in oil in a slow, steady stream until all the oil is added. To serve, drizzle the vinaigrette over the broccoli and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Makes 6 servings.

Food for My Family

Check out these other fantastic Perfect One-Dish Dinners from Pam Anderson:
Steamy Kitchen on TLC

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  1. We also do family dinner every night! And our kids also go through the picky stages some weeks. Although my son’s hatred of cheese has lasted much longer than I expected!

    I missed the broccoli recipe, we usually just have ours steamed with lots of butter and salt. Many more recipes in this great book to try 🙂

    • Hilarious! My youngest thinks cold cheese is horrible. Of course, I tell you this after he’s refused it for his entire life only to scarf a piece down at the farmers market this weekend.

  2. This is a great alternative to the usual light cheese sauce I do! I can’t wait to try it.

  3. I love your photos! I can’t wait to try this recipe too!

  4. Yum yum. My little guys won’t eat cheesy sauces on their broccoli so I’m eager to try this lighter dressing.

  5. I still can’t get over the fact that you have four kids. You look 15! But I LOVE LOVE LOVE that your kids will eat broccoli. Not even my husband is that well trained. He’s slowly coming around to it, but I would find it a real result if I could just get him to stop calling them ‘trees’. *sigh*

  6. This family is a bunch of broccoli nuts as well ( no pun intended – okay maybe just a little)…. Each time I read a post, I am in awe of you having four children.

  7. Love the kiddie photos!

    We’re broccoli freaks around here, thank goodness. I think it started with cheese fondue and all the fun we had with that.

    Will definitely be giving this recipe a whirl. Three cheers for Three Many Cooks!

  8. Your kids are adorable Shaina! I love that they love so many foods. My kids are the same. They love their “trees” as they call them ; ) Can’t wait to try this one! xoxo

  9. Pam, Maggy and Sharon truly are an amazing trio. Your lil’ monkeys are too cute darlin’!! I adored haring about their food declarations to the doctor, that’s hilarious. My guys walk that same line. Sometimes they surprise me with what the will eat other times they have me simply boggled. Like M2 and his picky palate with pizza of all things.

  10. I think that’s so wonderful that your kids adore broccoli! Good for you for making family dinners happen daily in your house.


  12. Look at all your cuties! I can’t wait to try this one. IT looks great!

  13. What lovely pictures! Anytime children are excited to eat healthy food is such a proud moment for moms. This looks yummy! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Wow that is just amazing! Do they really have their teeth on those veggies? My daughter will never eat broccoli even if her life depended on it. I wish I taught her early on to love veggies. Now it’s just so hard to convince her to eat veggies.


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  7. […] Shaina, It’s a real tribute to you that all four of your kids like salmon, curry… and broccoli! From the photos, they might even love it raw, but life’s always better with vinaigrette, and Broccoli Vinaigrette has always one of our family’s favorite salads. […]

  8. […] Shaina, It’s a real tribute to you that all four of your kids like salmon, curry… and broccoli! From the photos, they might even love it raw, but life’s always better with vinaigrette, and Broccoli Vinaigrette has always one of our family’s favorite salads. […]

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