Saturday, November 24, 2012

Broccoli Blue Cheese Casserole

Broccoli Blue  Cheese Casserole was my contribution to our family's Thanksgiving feast.  I chose it because it is easy to make and it is always gobbled (pardon the pun) up.  Since I'm on a diet, I needed to make something guaranteed to not leave leftovers.  Well, it did its job! 

Broccoli Blue Cheese Casserole
Serves 6-8 (easily doubled if needed)

5 Cups Steamed Broccoli Florets (~2 Heads of Fresh Broccoli)
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
6 oz Cream Cheese
6 oz Crumbled Blue Cheese 
1 1/3 Cups Whole Milk 
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 c. Crushed Ritz Crackers
6 Tbsp Melted Butter
(Alternative Topping: 1 Loaf of French Bread and 2 tbsp butter)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

2. Steam the broccoli until firm but tender (about 3 minutes).  Pat dry and set aside.

3. In a large saucepan, melt 3 tbsp of butter over medium heat.  When butter is melted and frothy, add in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring the entire time.

4. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly.  Add in the cream cheese, blue cheese, and a couple heavy shakes of garlic powder. Add in salt and pepper.  Over medium heat (don't let it boil), stirring often, cook until everything is melted and smooth.  

5. Add in the broccoli and stir until coated. Do a taste test of the sauce, and adjust seasonings if necessary.*  

6. Crush up the Ritz Crackers and mix it with the melted 6 tbsp of butter. Stir one cup of it in with the broccoli and reserve the remaining cracker mixture for later. (See notes below for alternative, less processed topping)

7. Pour broccoli mixture into the casserole dish and bake covered for for 20 minutes.  

7.   Evenly distribute the remaining crackers over the top of the casserole. Return it uncovered to the oven.

8.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the crackers are a rich golden brown.

*Some people prefer a stronger blue cheese taste and some like a milder taste.  During your taste test in Step 5, add in more blue cheese if you like it tangier. If it's too blue cheesy for you, you can add in more cream cheese to mellow it out.  You may need to add in additional milk if you do either though, to thin the sauce a bit.

Now that I try to avoid overly processed foods (even during the holidays), I realized that a Ritz Cracker topping was not exactly in line with my new eating habits.  So this Christmas (2013), I made a different topping.  I omitted the Ritz Crackers all together (and most of the butter) and instead did this:

1.  Bought a huge loaf of French Bread and tore out it's guts into 1" pieces.  

2.  Tossed 2 tbsp of melted butter with the bread and then toasted the bread.

3.  Stirred 1 cup of the toasted bread crumbs in with the broccoli mixture.  

4.  Baked Broccoli Casserole uncovered for 20 minutes.  Took it out of the oven, layered the top with the rest of the bread crumbs, and baked for an additional 15 minutes.

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