Broccoli cheese casserole

0798B1C4-49B1-4D63-B1A6-2CBDE094689E

WOW! This is definitely a grown up version of a comfort food I loved as a kid. As I have already said, I do not like Velveeta or cheese whiz (which many of these recipes have). This packs a ton of flavor with real cheese ingredients. It is not dry and not over wet. It is really as perfect combination. It is a also a great way to use leftover rice.

 

1 leek, cleaned and trimmed white parts only

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1 large head fresh broccoli, trimmed

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups cooked white rice – leftover works great

2 cups milk

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, diced small or shredded

3 tablespoons cream cheese

1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed

 

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli florets. Boil 3-5 minutes. Drain well and allow to drain in a strainer while preparing the rest so that all of the water is removed.

95E0DF6A-B126-4A21-A2F2-BB843F430051

In a saucepan, melt the butter and cook the onion, shallot, and leek for 5-10 minutes or until soft but not caramelized. Add the dry mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.

Add the flour. Mix well. Slowly add in the milk stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook while stirring 2-3 minutes. Add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Stir constantly until melted. Remove from the heat.

D5924C83-BCB5-4224-AF4A-9DB57A49D5D2

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce. Mix fully. Pour this into a prepared 8×10 casserole pan. Top with the crushed Ritz crackers. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until top is just browned.

 

A0E07DA0-235B-481A-B9C2-9A229DFEBFD1

8A34CE17-7E57-4691-8427-83AAB4F8FE43

Broccoli and bacon pasta salad

9E6D360D-C3FB-4FCE-9BBC-F2BFC8EF80F5

6 slices bacon – sliced small and cooked

2 cups broccoli – cleaned and trimmed small

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

4 green onions – cleaned and sliced thin

2 teaspoons dry yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup champagne vinaigrette or similar

8 ounces elbow macaroni

 

Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta fully with cold water.

Slice the bacon into small pieces. Cook in skillet until crisp. Drain well.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and dry mustard.

In a large bowl, combine the green onions, cheese, raw broccoli, bacon, and cold pasta. Toss with dressing until fully coated. Allow salad to sit in refrigerator at least 1-3 hours before eating. Add additional dressing if salad becomes dry while waiting.

27877E77-24C7-454F-BBEF-437121466C1D