Happy Monday to you!
This (above) completely threw me for a loop. Lily is usually pretty good about eating whatever I put in front of her, but lately she's had more of an opinion. She had two helpings of this Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole for dinner and then we reheated the left-overs for lunch the next day. I took this picture after I caught her scraping the scraps from the casserole dish. Here's to hoping your three year old likes this as much as mine did!!
Lily's devouring aside, this REALLY is a delicious casserole that has a sharp cheddar bite and fresh broccoli flavor. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen and it's one of their Best of 2010 recipes. It's definitely a keeper. Enjoy!
1 1/4 cup Progresso Plain Bread Crumbs (the original recipe calls for two slices of good quality sandwich bread that you pulverize in a food processor-- I opted for Progresso bread crumbs for ease)
1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large bunch broccoli (about 2 pounds), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed and chopped
1 onion, very finely diced
1 1/4 cup long-grain white rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups half &half
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 in baking dish. In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons (the other two tablespoons will be used later) butter, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and minced garlic. Set aside.
Place the broccoli florets in a large microwave safe bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and cook on high until bright green and tender, 2-4 minutes; set aside.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a x-large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and broccoli stems and cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the broth, half & half, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the rice is tender, 20-25 minutes.
Turn the heat off, stir in cheddar, cayenne, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the broccoli florets.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumb topping. Bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve. (The filling can be prepared, placed in the grease baking dish, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day. Refrigerate the bread crumb topping separately. Bring the filling to room temp. before adding the bread crumbs and baking as directed.)
images by Briana