Monday, November 9, 2009

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

A classic holiday casserole made with broccoli and cheese, and a few bonus veggies, topped with buttery crackers.
A classic holiday casserole made with broccoli and cheese, and a few bonus veggies, topped with buttery crackers.

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Ahhhh.... broccoli and cheese casserole! Another one of those dishes that for us lovers of broccoli, is expected to grace the tables of several major holidays and usually does.

Lots of ways to make this - one of the most classic and well known versions back in the day, involved a little roll of garlic cheese. And then suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, Kraft just discontinued the garlic cheese roll, without even giving an acceptable substitute! I really don't understand why they don't bring it back. Folks would be thrilled!

If you are one of the cooks that misses using the old garlic cheese roll in your holiday dishes like this one, then be sure to check out this post about a substitute. I've never used the rolls myself, but I understand your frustration. How dare they just discontinue a product so central to so many holiday meals, with no warning or substitute, just like that!

That aside, we've all made our own adaptations.

As always, full recipe text with measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document, are a little bit further down the page. Just swipe or scroll past the step-by-step pictures below.

Let's start off with a little bacon for flavoring, because yes, it makes everything better if you ask me. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 9 inch or 2-quart baking dish. You can certainly double this dish for a 9 x 13 inch casserole as well.


Cook broccoli and California mix according to half the time of package directions, drain and set aside. Get your other veggies chopped up and ready.


Add butter to the bacon and drippings and sauté the onion and celery until tender, about 5-6 minutes. 


Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.


My broccoli cheese casserole is a bit different (imagine that!). Oh it certainly uses the quintessential gooey, creamy southern béchamel (that's Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup for those of y'all with a more sophisticated palate) that most recipes use now, but typically mayonnaise is the other major sauce ingredient, and sometimes a mix of mayo with sour cream.

I decided to pair up that southern béchamel with our southern mornay sauce (also known as Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese soup) instead. What can I say? I may be bit of a rebel.

Add the Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and egg.


Stir until well combined.


Add the vegetables.


Gently toss.


Add the cheese. I'm using this Colby Jack blend today, but cheddar is fine, or use whatever you have.


Gently toss.


Smash up 12 Ritz crackers, about 1/2 a pack.


Traditionally this casserole is topped with a buttery Ritz cracker crumb mixture, but there are a multitude of other great toppings - panko, bread crumbs, French fried onions and even stuffing mix. Use what you like! Mix the cracker crumbs with melted butter. 


Sprinkle evenly all over the top.


Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes (remember all ovens vary) or until casserole is bubbly, heated through and the topping is lightly browned.

A classic holiday casserole made with broccoli and cheese, and a few bonus veggies, topped with buttery crackers.
Dig in!



Looking for Broccoli and Rice Casserole with Cheese instead? Yep, got one of those too y'all!

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Yield: About 4 to 6
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min
A classic holiday casserole made with broccoli and cheese, and a few bonus veggies, topped with buttery crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen, broccoli florets, thawed
  • 1 (12 ounce) package frozen California style vegetables, thawed
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (10-3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (like Campbell's)
  • 1 (10-3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) {affil link}, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 12 Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Dried parsley flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 9-inch or 2-quart baking dish with butter.
  2. Parcook broccoli and blend vegetables using your favorite method according to half the time on package directions, drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté bacon until tender and fat is rendered. Add butter.
  4. Sauté the onion and celery until tender, about 6 minutes; set aside to cool. Add the two soups with the Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and egg until well combined.
  5. Add the cheese and broccoli mix; toss.
  6. Transfer the broccoli mix to the prepared baking dish; spread out but do not pack.
  7. Combine melted butter with cracker crumbs, and sprinkle evenly over the top. Sprinkle top with parsley flakes.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 to 45 minutes until bubbly, cooked through and topping is lightly browned.

Notes:

To make this a main dish meal, stir in some cooked chicken with the broccoli. You may also omit the California blend and substitute 2 to 3 (10 ounce) packages of frozen, thawed chopped broccoli, or fresh broccoli cut into florets, precooking to just tender. Microwave or steaming work well. Add a layer of sliced almonds to the top of the casserole before topping with cracker crumbs, if desired. Substitute panko crumbs, regular bread crumbs, stuffing mix or French fried onions for cracker topping.

To eliminate the cream soups, substitute a homemade béchamel white sauce for one can using ¼ cup all-purpose flour, stirred into ½ stick melted butter and cooked for about 3 minutes, adding 1 to 1-1/2 cups milk, to desired consistency. Add ½ cup mayonnaise and ½ cup sour cream once cooled. Increase cheese to 1-1/2 cups. 

Broccoli, Broccoli Casserole, Campbells, Holiday Casserole, Main Dish, Potlucks, Root Vegetable, Side Dish, Vegetables
Side Dish, Vegetables
American, Southern
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Posted by on November 9, 2009

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