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Friday, November 29, 2013

Yaya's Broccoli Casserole

What is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?

I love spending time with family we don't often see and I love the delicious food. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two days of the year that I get to have pumpkin pie and it's my absolute favorite pie. I do enjoy the turkey, and the ham (especially when we get honey glazed ham, oh-my-yummy-goodness!), but my favorite part of dinner is definitely the broccoli casserole.

As far back as I can remember Mom has always been responsible for bringing broccoli casserole to our family dinners for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. About eight years ago I tried to make it on my own and it turned out okay. I didn't have Mom's recipe. I just tried to remember from watching her make it.

I knew there was cream of chicken soup (well, she uses cream of celery and cream of mushroom too but I kept it simple with just the cream of chicken) and of course rice, broccoli, and cheese. I didn't know how much of anything to add so mine was severely lacking in rice and soup. On the plus side I had extra cheese on top and I love gooey, melted cheese.

This year I volunteered to make the broccoli casserole since Mom is waiting on her new oven to be delivered. I have a recipe now, from the family cookbook Mom made us. There's just one little catch.

One of the people attending our dinner this year is allergic to chicken (and possibly turkey too, I'm not clear on the exact allergy) so I had to make the casserole entirely without chicken broth.

Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of a can of cream of mushroom or cream of celery? Every single kind contains chicken broth or chicken stock as a main ingredient. I had to find a way to make homemade cream of vegetable.

If you decide to make this recipe (and you definitely should because it is fabulous and the highlight of my Thanksgiving dinner) you now have the choice to make your own cream of ... soup using whatever kind of broth or flavorings you prefer.

Yaya's Broccoli Casserole

Source: Duncan Family Recipe

Cream of ... Soup:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup liquid

You can use whatever kind of liquid you like. I prefer to use half broth and half milk. You could use chicken broth but this time I used vegetable broth. You can also add small pieces of cooked chicken or vegetables to add flavor. Dried mushrooms are a wonderful choice.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add your vegetables and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. I used onion and celery this time. Add the flour and mix well. Add the liquid and cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt and pepper (and garlic powder and onion powder) to taste.

If you are using the homemade soup you should make a quadruple recipe for the casserole. That would be a whole stick of butter, 1/2 cup flour, and 4 cups of liquid.
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup

1-2 cups rice, cooked
1-2 broccoli crowns, chopped and steamed
2 cups cheddar, colby, or colby jack cheese, shredded
garlic powder to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine the soup(s) and 1/2-1 cup of the cheese. Season with garlic powder if desired and mix well. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

Layer 1/3 of the soup mixture in the baking dish.

Spread the rice evenly over the soup.

Add 1/2 of the remaining soup mixture over the rice.

Layer the broccoli over the soup.

Spread the remaining soup mixture over the broccoli.

Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle the top with paprika. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

Serve warm, preferably with turkey and ham!

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