Thursday, September 29, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Bites


I started off my "working" career in the restaurant business. My Mom owned a restaurant in a very small town named Kernville in California. You may have heard of the Kern River, it is quite famous for kayakers, the windy road to the valley and it's beautiful drive.

I remember starting off washing dishes, then waitressing and then doing a little bit of cooking. I was very young, maybe 9 when I started. We moved and my Mom bought another restaurant, and then another and so on. She always had a key to a restaurant for as long as I could remember.

It was definitely a family affair. We all worked there: my Mom, my Sisters, my cousins, my Grandparents...you know the kind of place. One minute we were friends and family and the next you could hear us yelling in the back ground because someone forgot the right toast.

We loved it, we tired of it, we worked ourselves to the bone, we loved it some more and then we promised ourselves we would never work in a restaurant again...LOL AND start all over the next day with the same zeal and statements.

It's hard work. You never have a holiday off. Yet, this is the only thing you know. You miss it when you are away. You miss the people, our "regulars" became family. We knew everything about them...the good, the bad, the happy and the sad. In many cases, we were there only family.  They remembered our birthdays and we never forgot theirs.

I love the restaurant business but I know that I never want to own a restaurant. It's just too much work, When I left high school, got married and moved to Austin, TX I needed a part time job. Oh, I tried the office thing...boring! I tried the stay at home thing....boring! YEP, you guessed it...I found a part time job waiting tables and I felt like I had returned home. In a few short years, I was approached to by a manager. I agreed and it was fun while it lasted. I did not have kids then and my hubby was in the military. He was gone a lot and so this kept me very, very busy. Some weeks we worked 80+ hours. It was crazy! It was fun! Bennigan's had a great menu and you may have remember me talking about this before with the Monte Cristo Sandwiches.


This recipe is one that I found on the internet. Bennigan's used to sell these delicious Broccoli Bites. I tend to dwell on things for years and it never occurred to me until the other day to google for the recipe. I found this posting and had to try them and they were really good. In fact, I made a small batch (to test the recipe) and the next day made a double batch. YUM!

My only recommendation is that if you double the recipe, double everything…especially the cheese. If the cheese is off then your bites will be dry and not cheesy.  We loved these little morsels of heaven…ENJOY!

Recipe: Bennigan's Broccoli Bites

 I found this recipe on Food.com and it's a keeper.  I try to put all of my notes in red.

About This Recipe, from the author (unknown)

"If you've ever been to Bennigan's, you may have enjoyed this wonderful appetizer. We go there quite often for them. They're basically a blend of broccoli, cheeses, bacon, and onion, rolled in bread crumbs and deep-fried. They are then dipped in a special honey-mustard sauce. This is a copycat recipe from the website Recipe Goldmine and it's right on the money! They're very easy to make and if you want to WOW your party guests with something deliciously different, by gosh- this'll do it!"

Ingredients

Broccoli Bites

3 eggs
6 ounces shredded colby cheese
6 ounces shredded monterey jack cheese
1 (16 ounce) boxes frozen chopped broccoli, thawed,drained,and dried (I used fresh.  I just steamed it and cut it very finely and it worked great.)
2 1/2 ounces hormel real bacon bits ( I fried up my own bacon and chopped it into small pieces.)
1/2 ounce diced yellow onions
1 ounce all-purpose flour (For GF, I used brown rice flour)
Italian breadcrumbs, as needed (For GF, I used Glutino Crackers, finely crushed)
Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup hellman mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions
Drain thawed broccoli by pressing through a strainer.
Dry well with paper towels.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until well-blended.
In a large plastic container, place all ingredients except bread crumbs.
Add beaten eggs.
Stir together with a spatula until thoroughly combined.

Refrigerate for 1 hour{This will bind the mixture together}. ( I tried to skip this part and it worked but was very difficult for them to stay together.  If you have the time, I would strongly recommend this step.)


Meanwhile, make dipping sauce.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard.
With a whisk, blend mixture thoroughly.
Slowly pour in honey and lemon juice and continue mixing until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat about 4 cups of oil in a deep fryer or deep pan at 350°F.
Pour bread crumbs into a shallow pan.
Remove mixture from fridge and form portions into 1 inch balls and coat well with bread crumbs.


Place Broccoli Bites into fry basket or pan.
Make sure they do not stick together.
Fry one minute, then remove and place on paper-towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Serve hot with Honey-Mustard Dipping sauce.

Note; These are best kept warm so you may want to use a chafing dish or even a slow cooker set on"low" for serving.

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