a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Simple, and Simply Delicious, Broccoli-Cheese Casserole

This surprisingly yummy dish is oven-ready by the time
the oven has pre-heated!

Dave and I are trying hard to increase our variety and consumption of vegetables and fruits. To that end, we picked up our first community fruit and veggie order recently

Each week, as we receive our order, we will be "forced" to try things that we normally wouldn't think of buying, along with some things we may occasionally consider buying and probably things we always buy.  It should be fun --- and it will probably be challenging at times.

Neither of us are broccoli fans so naturally two bunches of broccoli stared at us defiantly as we opened our first veggie box. 

My computer search turned up many recipes and as I plowed through them I found a couple that sounded edible as well as doable. I read reviews, I added, deleted and combined, and . . . came up with
a simply quick, easy, adjustable/versatile and delicious main dish I'll call ---

Cheesy Broccoli Souper Stuff 

Turn oven to 350 degrees.

4 to 6 cups steamed or blanched broccoli florets (or frozen, chopped), drained
2 cans of cream of chicken* soup 
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1-1/2 cups grated sharp** cheddar cheese 
approximately 2 cups dry stuffing mix*** (like Stove Top) divided

In large bowl combine all ingredients except for one cup stuffing mix
Spread in 9x13 pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining stuff mix. Spray lightly with butter spray if desired.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

As I said this is a very forgiving dish so feel free to adjust as desired. I would recommend always including the lemon juice, although you may wish to change the amount.

* can be any cream flavored soup or combination of flavors, or a home-made cream soup base. A great plus is the canned soup doesn't taste like canned soup!
** I use sharp but any cheddar will be fine.
*** you can also use seasoned dry bread crumbs or seasoned croutons that have been lightly crushed

We have also included 2 cups chopped cooked chicken. 
You can use a broccoli-zucchini, broccoli-cauliflower, all cauliflower, or a combo of veggies, fresh or frozen.
You can use 1/2 cup mayo or sour cream instead of 1/4 cup of each.

Cheapskates are like-minded --- it seems such an extravagance to throw out the broccoli stalks you paid for.  
Here are some ideas I found at 

Ideas for using broccoli stems
  • Freeze – Cut them up into bit sized pieces and freeze in a bag. It probably would be best to only freeze them if you plan on cooking them before eating.
  • Use in Soup – This is my favorite way to use them. I make a veggie soup using whatever veggies I have, including broccoli stems. The last time I cut up broccoli I had a whole cup of broccoli stem pieces, that’ll really help stretch my next soup!
  • Juice in a juicer – If you have a juicer you could juice your stems in a veggie drink.
  • Peel the tough outside and cut the inside into sticks and enjoy as a tasty snack(idea from The Complete Tightwad Gazette).
  • Shred the stems and use in a coleslaw (idea from my mother-in-law).
  • Another idea my mother-in-law suggested was if you do want to cook all of the steams, but the outer skin is tough, just peel it off and cook up the rest.
Broccoli Leaves: You know those little dark green leaves that are often on broccoli stems? I remember reading once that they’re really nutritious, so leave those on and cook them up too!
We liked this combination so much I hope broccoli is included in each box---and with so many variations I won't need to search out another broccoli recipe for some time. Plus, we will probably plant some in our coming-up fall garden. 
'til we eat again,
             Simply, Gail

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