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Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table

Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing

Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing // Food Fresh and Simple from Karista's Kitchen

Bowl food is all the rage at the moment and for good reason.  It’s easy to assemble and typically filled with the most delicious ingredients like this spicy chicken and vegetable rice bowl.

This recipe is a lovely twist on the traditional chicken and vegetable bowl as I’ve used Harissa powder or paste to add a little flair, spice and flavor to the chicken.  Harissa is an aromatic and spicy chili paste or powder that is traditionally used in African or Middle Eastern cooking.  It’s become quite popular in the U.S. in the last few years and it’s now easily found in most markets.  I think Harissa makes a nice change in flavor to curry or sriracha.

I’ve paired this Harissa seared chicken with carrots, zucchini, red peppers and I’ve included diced pineapple to balance the flavors.  To finish off the dish, I’ve topped this recipe with sunflower seeds, fresh cilantro and then a drizzle of avocado lime dressing. On occasion, I’ll substitute some of the ingredients with wilted greens, spinach, tomatoes, green onions, radishes and mandarin oranges.

This spicy chicken and vegetable rice bowl definitely nourishes the body and delights the senses. Which is what good food is all about, right?

It’s been a busy winter and I haven’t posted here as often as I’d like. It’ll be another few weeks before I post again because I’m moving! Yep, again. We’re moving just up the road a few miles to a new house, but we’re still located in the lovely Willamette Valley. When I’m in and settled, I hope to tape some cooking videos in the new kitchen! I’m not terribly tech savvy so we shall se how it goes. 😉 In the meantime, I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook so you can keep up with all the deliciousness on my social media.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and delicious spring!

Love,

Karista

Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing

Serving Size: Makes Two Bowls

Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Rice Bowl with Avocado Lime Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced chicken, either breast or dark meat
  • 1 teaspoon Harissa powder or Harissa paste (easily found in most markets)
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, optional
  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice, warm
  • ½ cup shredded or diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced zucchini, not cooked
  • ¼ cup diced red pepper
  • ¼ cup diced pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

In a sauté pan over medium high heat add the 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the diced chicken with salt and pepper and then toss with the harissa paste or powder.

Add the seasoned diced chicken to the sauté pan and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter.

In a small food processer or blender, add the avocado, lime juice, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, garlic clove, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Pulse until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you’d like the dressing a bit thinner in consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of water until you’ve reached desired consistency.

To assemble, place one cup of warm rice into each bowl. Top with cooked chicken, carrots, zucchini, red pepper, pineapple, sunflower seeds and fresh cilantro. Drizzle with the avocado lime dressing and serve immediately.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Braised Red Cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage pairs perfectly with slow cooked pork roast, roast pork tenderloin or roast chicken // Find it at Karista's Kitchen

I often prepare braised thick-cut pork chops for dinner and I love to serve this braised red cabbage with the pork chops.

I get juicy, perfectly thick-cut chops from my favorite Willamette Valley farm, Red Bird Acres.  I should have posted that recipe first but the chops always get gobbled up before I can snap a photo. I promise, I’ll post it soon.

Although this braised red cabbage recipe is divine with pork chops, it’s also lovely with my Italian slow roasted pork, roasted pork tenderloin or roast chicken.  If I’ve got a bowl of apples to use up, I’ll toss in some apple slices during the last half of braising time which gives the braised red cabbage a bit of a sweet with savory flavor. Pears also “pair” nicely with this cabbage dish. 😉

I’ve always had an affinity for cabbage. I adore it thrown in my weeknight greens and mushroom sauté which adds a bit of “crisp” to the greens.  I also like shredded cabbage mixed in with my salad, added to a soup or stew, grilled and topped with a chimichurri sauce or roasted in big “steaks” like my friend Alyssa’s recipe from Everyday Maven.  I even toss it in this pasta dish that was inspired by my trip to Italy.

I believe cabbage is best when it’s in season from late fall through winter. It’s economical, satisfying and full of all the good stuff to make a body healthy.  

When I was researching cabbage a few years ago, I stumbled across this little bit of trivia.  Ancient healers said cabbage contained moon power because it grew in the moonlight.  How dreamy is that?! I am such a romantic about food, I know it sounds weird. But I’ve always admitted to being a wee bit quirky.

Cabbage is truly a power house of vitamins and an excellent source of folate. It contains a large amount of vitamin C, which is good for the immune system.  It also contains vitamin K, which helps with mental function and concentration. Not to mention it’s a great source of fiber and helps fill you up so you don’t grab that extra cookie after dinner.

The next time you put the slow cooker on with a pork roast or you’re roasting a chicken for dinner, try pairing this braised red cabbage recipe with your entrée. It’s a simple, seasonal and fresh side dish that will compliment your fall or winter meals.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Braised Red Cabbage

Serving Size: 4-6

Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of ghee, clarified butter, divided
  • 4 ounces of bacon, diced
  • 1 red onion, halved and thin sliced
  • 1 head of red cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In an oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of ghee over medium high heat. Add the diced bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy and fat is rendered.

Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan.

Next add the sliced onions, shredded cabbage and minced garlic to the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add the bacon back into the pan.

Stir in the vinegar and vegetable broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then cover the skillet or Dutch oven with a lid and place it in the oven for about 45 minutes. Give the cabbage a little stir about every 15 minutes or so.

Remove the cabbage from the oven, stir in the last tablespoon of ghee and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

Green Bean and Smoked Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

As often as we possibly can, Ranger Craig and I head to the ocean.  Just to stroll, hike if we’re feeling ambitious, tour the light houses or sit quietly on the cliffs watching for passing whales and playful seals.  Snapping pictures each with our own cameras and then comparing photos to see who got the best shot.

Whether its cloudy, foggy, misty or sunny – just spending time by the sea makes me feel a little more renewed and seems to refill my artistic coffer.  Sort of clearing my mind of the busy week behind me and all the tasks that had to be tackled.

Newport, Oregon

My most treasured reason for spending time at the ocean is of course, the seafood.  And there is none better than the delightful, inventive, fresh and delicious cuisine at Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon.  It’s such a pleasure to dine at Local Ocean, watching the all the talented prep cooks and chefs create their art in the open kitchen.

Local Ocean Seafood in Newport, Oregon

The fantastic and professional staff at Local Ocean Seafood!

After our meal we always stop by Amber’s fish counter for fresh oysters and my absolute favorite chevre, a smoked goats cheese called “Up in Smoke” from our local award-winning Rivers Edge Chevre created at Three Ring Farm here in Western Oregon.

Rivers Edge Chevre

Rivers Edge Chevre from Three Ring Farm

A soft but slightly firm chevre that is wrapped in large maple leaves and smoked to perfection.  Not overly smoky, just ever so slight – enhancing the flavor and texture of this lovely little cheese.  I serve this chevre with assorted crackers or crostini and sometimes alongside a local red pepper jelly or fig preserves.  Such a delicious cheese, I thought it would pair beautifully with summer green beans, dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.  Tossed in a balsamic vinegar and my best California extra virgin olive oil.

Although this salad is perfectly delicious on its own, while sipping on a little glass of red or white wine, it paired beautifully with our dinner of Chicken Gaston Gerard.  This salad will also make a lovely summer side for grilled meats, poultry and fish.

If you ever venture to Newport, Oregon, dining at Local Ocean Seafood is a must.  Tell Ms. Amber that Karista sent you by!

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Green Bean and Smoked Goat’s Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries and Toasted Pine Nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb fresh green beans

4 oz smoked chevre or more if you love your chevre (if you can’t find smoked chevre feel free to sub with your favorite soft goats cheese.  A flavorful goats cheese is excellent on this salad)

A handful of dried cherries

¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar

3-4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

To Blanch the green beans:

Begin by filling a large pot half way up with water or enough to cover the beans.  Do not salt the water.  Bring the water to a boil.

While the water is heating, snap the stem end off the green beans.  I like snapping them by hand but feel free to use a small knife.

Fill a large bowl with ice water to create an ice bath for the green beans. Have it ready before adding the green beans to the boiling water.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and let them cook for about 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  You want them crisp tender.  Just this side of raw. Not mushy.

The easiest way for me to quickly get them from boiling water into ice water is to pour the green beans into a large strainer in the sink and then transfer the beans to the ice bath.   But you can also scoop them out of the boiling water with a handheld mesh strainer and transfer them into the ice bath.

Let them sit in the ice bath for about 3-4 minutes and then drain.  I like to lightly blot them dry so the vinaigrette will stick to the green beans.

Prepare the salad:

Salt and pepper the green beans and then arrange them on a platter.  Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the green beans.  Next sprinkle with crumbled chevre, the dried cherries and toasted pine nuts.

Serve as a side dish with meat, poultry or seafood.  This is also lovely as a main dish over a bed of mixed greens and a few more veggies, like pickled beets and roasted carrots.  Enjoy!

Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

brussels sprouts gratin

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived on a little farm with a little red barn, lots of animals, a vegetable garden, fruit trees and lush green raspberry bushes.

brussel sprouts gratin

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Her little farm was filled with chickens, ducks, a few turkeys, rabbits, pigs, goats, a large white goose named Charlie, a naughty and stubborn Shetland pony named Sugar (not at all a sweet animal), a steer named Rex, and a fluffy white sheep named Fearless.

Often, the little girl would spend hours with her farm animals, naming each one, even though her Father said most of them were being raised for food.  You’d think she would have become a vegetarian.  Instead, she fell in love with life on a farm.  A constant circle of life, helping feed a community with beautiful, healthy and naturally raised food.

Valley View Farm, Zillah, WA

Photos by April Smith. Taken at Valley View Farm, Zillah, WA

I still remember the scent of the molasses in the mixture that helped feed and nourish the baby cow.  Mom’s hearty leftovers that were treats for the three little pigs.  Yes, there were three little pigs.

There was much love and care that went into creating healthy and happy farm animals. I wanted to be part of that care;  so I decided to call myself the farm animals supervisor.

Until the day one of the pigs, Lester was his name, decided to take a little nip out of my backside as I crawled over the pig fence.  My Father had given me warning, but I was the farm animal supervisor and I knew my pigs.  They would never bite me.

I believe Lester may have had enough of my plucking through his pig yard.  He told me, very clearly, stay out!

After that exciting event I admired my pigs from afar and took up management of our pet sheep, Fearless.

brussel sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I’m no longer the little girl who lived on a little farm with a little red barn.  Those memories however, remain close to my heart.  I’m certain those memories are one of the many reasons I adore and appreciate our local farmers.  The hard work, the love, the care, the belief that raising fresh food is good for the body and the soul.

Supporting our local farm communities is the best ways to keep fresh, healthy, local food on our tables.  This is why I support a new online marketplace called Farmstr.com .  Farmstr.com was founded by my good friend and colleague, Janelle Maiocco.   Janelle is an entrepreneur with an MBA, as well as a trained Chef.  An amazing woman who has dedicated her time and energy finding a way to help farmer’s bring their local goods to local consumers.

Farmstr is passionate about supporting farmers, and enabling their success by bringing them new customers and better margins. Farmstr is excited about making it possible for anyone, people like you and me, to easily find and access nearby farms, choose farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to support and to be able to buy farm fresh food for less than you would pay at the store. ~Janelle Maiocco

If you live in Western Washington, Farmstr.com is up and running in your area.  Sign up for the weekly hot sheet to keep informed about current produce, meat and poultry for sale.  If you live in a different state, not to worry.  Farmstr.com has plans to expand to most states in the near future.  Personally, I can’t wait until they reach Oregon. 🙂

Another great way to stay informed about local produce, meat and poultry for sale, as well a when Farmstr.com is coming to your area, check out and “like” the Farmstr Facebook page. www.facebook.com/farmstr

In honor of Brussels Sprouts season, the holidays, and our local farmers, I’ve listed my favorite Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe, adapted from one of my favorite Italian cookbooks, The Silver Spoon.

For additional Brussels Sprouts recipes check out these fabulous farm loving food bloggers:

Our Lady of Second Helpings – Farm Fresh Gorgonzola Brussels Sprouts Hash

Seattle Seedling – Cilantro Lime Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Comfy Belly – Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Loads of Love and Delicious Wishes,

Karista

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

One of my favorite Brussels Sprouts recipes is found in a traditional Italian Cookbook, The Silver Spoon.  I’ve adapted this recipe slightly, only using half the Béchamel sauce and using Gruyere mixed with traditional Swiss. If using 3lbs of Brussels Sprouts, the full quantity of Béchamel sauce can be used.  Buon Appetito!

Serves 4 (can be doubled)

Ingredients

1 ½ lbs Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 tablespoon Butter

1-2 tablespoons Olive oil

3 ½ – 4 ounces pancetta, diced (or substitute with thick cut bacon)

1 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere (or ½ cup of each)

1 quantity Béchamel Sauce (recipe follows)

Salt and pepper

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Prepare Béchamel sauce (recipe below) and set aside.

Butter an ovenproof dish.  I used a smaller baking dish for the 4 servings and used a 9×13 for a double serving.

Cook the Brussels Sprouts in salted, lightly boiling water for about 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add the diced pancetta or bacon, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.  Add the Brussels Sprouts and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Stir half the shredded cheese into the prepared Béchamel Sauce and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the Brussels Sprouts in the prepared dish and ladle sauce over the top.  I use only half the Béchamel for 4 servings.  Reserve the remaining Béchamel for a delicious tossed pasta.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the sauce and place the baking dish in the oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes.

Let the Brussels Sprouts Gratin cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Bechamel Sauce

Ingredients

¼ cup butter

¼ cup all purpose flour

2 ¼ cups warm whole milk

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper.

Directions

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.  Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the flour.  Put the pan back on the heat and continue whisking until the flour and butter is smooth.

Slowly whisk in the warm milk and continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken.

Stir in the pinch of nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.  The sauce should be the consistency of a white gravy, not too thin, but not too thick.  Add additional milk if the sauce is too thick and continue to cook a little longer if sauce is too thin.

This sauce is also great over your favorite pasta with peas and diced bacon.

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

5 Sassy Sides

sweet potatoes

Coconut Sweet Potato Mashers

“A side dish, is a side dish, is a side dish”, said one of my sassy gals.  Until, of course, she tasted one of my sassy sides.

brussel sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

A sassy side can rev up dinner and make it take off to new heights.  Especially when fresh, lovely produce is abundant and time is of the essence.  A sassy side is the most perfect complement to a simple but tasty meal.

cauliflower

Cauliflower Mashers

I love to pan sear chicken thigh and leg quarters, and then finish them off in the oven. (I’ll post that method soon)  All that’s needed is a little oil, salt and pepper.  They turn out divine!  But what takes this dinner over the top is the side dish.

green beans with shallots

Green Beans with Brown Butter and Shallots

These are five of the Bennett Crew faves.  And yes… my two sassy gals love these five sassy sides. 🙂

Roasted Delicata Squash

Five Spice Powder Roasted Delicata Squash

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Coconut Sweet Potato Mashers

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 – 1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 medium to large)

1 cup coconut milk (Thai Kitchen canned organic is what I use)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and set on a baking sheet.

Roast the sweet potatoes until soft to the touch.  About 45 minutes.

When the sweet potatoes are cool, remove the skins and lightly mash.

Place them in a food processor or blender and add the coconut milk ½ cup at a time. Pulse until the coconut sweet potato mashers are at a desired consistency.  I like mine smooth but thick.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and if desired a pinch of cinnamon.

These can be prepared one day prior to serving. 🙂

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-1 1/2 lbs Brussel Sprouts

2 tablespoons high heat oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan (optional)

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.  If using a convection oven I only heat to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Slice the brussel sprouts in half, trimming the ends.  Place them in a bowl and toss with the oil.

Pour them onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Roast for about 10-15 minutes until toasty and soft.  I like my brussel sprouts very toasty 🙂

Pull them out of the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower Mashers

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1-2 heads cauliflower (or one really large head cauliflower)

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons of really good extra virgin olive oil ( I use California Olive Ranch Everyday Fresh) or 1 tablespoon melted butter

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Directions

Cut the cauliflower into florets.

Steam the cauliflower in a stove top steamer or for a more toasty flavor you can roast the cauliflower florets by tossing in a little oil and roasting on a baking sheet lined with parchment in a preheated 375F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.  Phew! That was a long sentence. 🙂  If you’d like to serve these florets as a side, just season with salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  To make mashers proceed with the recipe below.

Once the cauliflower is soft, set the cooked florets in a colander and let them drain any excess water.

Place the florets in a blender, food processor or vita mix and pulse just until nicely smooth.  Season with salt, pepper and olive oil or butter.  Serve immediately.

Green Beans with Brown Butter and Shallots

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed

1-2 shallots, sliced

1 stick unsalted butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

You can either steam the green beans in a stove top or microwave steamer or you can roast them.

To roast, I preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Toss the beans in a little oil and then place them in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (Just like we did for the Brussel Sprouts) Roast just until nicely tender.

While the beans are cooking, in a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.  Lightly swirl or stir the butter in the pan.  Just as it starts to develop those lovely little golden brown flecks, add the shallots and let the shallots crisp in the butter.  This should only take a minute longer.  The shallots should be slightly crisp and the butter brown.  Pull it off the heat and add the green beans to coat, seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Pour into a serving platter and serve immediately.  For a little variation you can add fresh chopped herbs with the shallots, or a squeeze of lemon before serving.

Five Spice Roasted Delicata Squash

Ingredients

1 ½ – 2 lbs Delicata Squash

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 ½  teaspoons Five Spice Powder

2 tablespoons high heat oil

Salt and Pepper

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Mix together the brown sugar, five spice powder and oil until the brown sugar is mostly dissolved.

Wash the squash and then slice about ½ inch of each end.  Slice down the center vertically and clean out the seeds in the squash with a spoon or small ice cream scoop.

Then slice the squash to make little half moons.

Put the slices in a bowl and toss with the Five Spice Powder, brown sugar and oil.

Layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper.

Roast on 400F for about 20-30 minutes or until nice and fork tender.

This little dish can be served piping hot or at room temp.  Leftovers store easily in the frig for about 3 days.  Great for midnight snacking!

Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

Roasted Broccoli Parmesan

www.karistaskitchen.com

Roasted Broccoli Parmesan

Sometimes I just can’t get enough broccoli.  I love it raw, steamed, stir fried and roasted.  I think roasted is my favorite.

www.karistaskitchen.com

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Roasting veggies, especially broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, brings out the most unique and caramelized flavors.  Add a little garlic, Romano or parmesan and I’ve got the perfect side dish for a dinner meal.  Suzie Q, my youngest gal, likes to personalize her roasted broccoli with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar.  🙂

I often roast a baking sheet of broccoli, cauliflower or Brussel sprouts while I’ve got a pork loin or chicken roasting in the oven.  Just pop the baking sheet of veggies into the oven on the rack below, about 15 minutes before the pork or chicken is done.  Then everything comes out of the oven at the same time and dinner is done.  Gotta love that!

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

1-2 lbs fresh organic broccoli, washed, dried and cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

1/4- 1/2 cup fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Place the broccoli pieces in a large bowl and toss with a drizzle of oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the dressed broccoli on the baking sheet lined 10 minutes, or until the tops of the broccoli are toasted in color and crisp tender to the touch.

When the broccoli is done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.  Transfer the broccoli to a platter and serve immediately.

For a little variation add crushed cloves of garlic to the broccoli before roasting.  This will make a lovely garlic roasted broccoli.  You can also sub grated Asiago or Romano for the Parmesan… or of course, shredded cheddar. 🙂