Tuesday, July 10, 2012

recipe: Mac and Cheese Broccoli Casserole

Don't be scared by the word "casserole".  Repeat after me:  "Casseroles are friends.  Casseroles are not scary.  Casseroles are easy.  Casseroles are tasty."

Anyway, this is a really good and filling dish that can be used as a side, or even a main meal.  For those of you who crave lots of meat, throw in a cup or so of shredded chicken.  Or add ground hamburger meat to make it a healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper!

Sorry for the awful picture...  We got home at 9:30 on Sunday evening after being gone since 9:00 am.  Thankfully, I had pre-made this on Saturday so all I had to do was add the bread crumbs, parm, and spray then bake to heat up.  So, instead of taking a picture of the pretty finished product, I ended up diving in headfirst and eating.  So a picture of my lunch portion today will have to do until the next time I make this, and can update the picture.  Sadly, you can see the gorgeous topping of breadcrumbs and cheese...  the crispiness is our favorite part! 

Alternatively, you can check out SkinnyTaste's version...  they are basically the same, with a few minor changes. 

Mac and Cheese Broccoli Casserole

Adapted from SkinnyTaste
Serves: 8
Stats:  349 cals per serving

12 oz pasta (such as elbows, twists, penne, etc... long spaghetti-like noodles don't work so well)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup minced onion
a tad of minced garlic
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup fat free chicken broth (vegetarians use vegetable broth)
8 oz (2 cups) shredded cheddar
salt and fresh pepper to taste
12 oz fresh broccoli florets
1/8 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
cooking spray

Cook pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, according to package directions for al dente (or slightly under cook 2 minutes). Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat about 1 minutes; add garlic and cook for another minute. 

Add flour and cook another minute, or until the flour is golden and well combined. Add milk and chicken broth and whisk, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the sauce is thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and broccoli and mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish.

If you're going to refrigerate or freeze, stop here.  When it's time to heat the dish, thaw (if needed) and continue to follow directions.  You may have to cook 20-25 minutes if cold.

Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more cooking spray on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.

So we had a square of this casserole for dinner, along with a meat.  Uz had a broiled hot dog with a bun and mustard...  I had half a sausage biscuit leftover from our Sunday School breakfast.  I was going to have a hot dog, but I was so hungry while I was waiting on this to finish baking and prepping for the pork carnitas that I had to have a little sumthin'-sumthin'.

And check this cutie out!  She's got her favorite little Sonic Tot toy... how can anyone resist this?

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