We’re members of the local community garden and every Wednesday night, we have a potluck & garden work night. This week, Mike suggested that we make cheesy broccoli rice casserole. It sounded like a great idea, since I knew it would feed a lot of people, and who would think to make that on a warm night in June? Plus, it’s once of Mike’s favorites.
Mike has loved “broccoli cheesy rice casserole” for as long as I can remember. It has to be made with Velveeta, or some sort of plain old American/Cheddar cheese, but not nacho cheese – because it’s sheer and utter disappointment. I suppose it’s just one of those comfort foods he always grew up on. But here’s a confession for you: we’ve been married for almost 5 years, and I believe this is the first time I’ve made this dish. Sad, right? I know damn well that he loves it, but I guess I just never got around to making it. Wife of the half-decade right here!
When I went to the store to get ingredients, I started to panic, as I could not seem to find that sinful block of processed cheese food – the main ingredient in the dish! Thank God for iPhones, as before you knew it, I had a substitute for Velveeta that tasted better, and was probably a bit more healthier. And I’m glad for that because the block of processed cheese food kinda grosses me out.
This is a great dish that is easily multiplied for potlucks, or kept simple for a weeknight side dish. You could even eat this as a meal in itself if you really wanted to. And the best part? No processed, rubbery cheese food 🙂
Cheesy Broccoli Rice – adapted from Betty Crocker and MOMables
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 large onion, chopped (you want about 1 cup total)
- 1 8oz bag of cheddar blend shredded cheese
- 1 can (10.75 oz) condensed cream of *whatever* soup
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- pepper, to taste
- 2 cups broccoli florets – fresh or frozen
- bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350*. Cook rice in water according to package directions (or, use a rice cooker).
- While the rice is cooking, melt the better into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions are tender, but still have a bit of a crunch to them.
- Turn down the heat to medium/medium-low and add the soup, milk, pepper, and cheese. Simmer, stirring often, until the cheese is melted and the mixture thickens.
- Add broccoli and rice. Mix well and spoon into a 9×13 baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the casserole.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes until the edges turn light brown and the casserole is nice and bubbly.
The casserole was a big hit at our potluck. I doubled the recipe and the above was all that was left – the perfect amount for someone’s lunch. My toughest critic said that he missed the ‘taste’ of the Velveeta, but that it still tasted pretty good. I’ll take that as a win. Not only because I was able to create a Velveeta substitute, but because I finally made one of my husband’s favorite dishes that has gotten overlooked over the years – recipe SAVED!