Friday, March 8, 2013
Foodie Fridays: Broccoli Rice Casserole
The other day I was reading a post on a newly discovered blog called "the south in my mouth" about broccoli rice casserole. It suddenly occurred to me that not only have I never made this southern potluck staple, I have never even tasted it! I find this astonishing, since we have lived in Georgia for almost ten years now, and have attended a fair number of potluck dinners. Maybe this casserole has fallen out of favor among the people with whom we tend to mingle, but I can't ever recall seeing this dish. It is certainly available in processed form at the grocery stores, and I have checked it out there, but the ingredients lists are rather daunting and they all contain hydrogenated fats, so I have never actually bought any.
Somehow, though, the planets aligned just right the day I read the blog, and I realized I had all the ingredients I needed to make this casserole. Granted, not all of them are the healthiest of foods -- canned soup, processed cheese in a jar, and rather a lot of butter. But the broccoli I had was fresh (in my favorite microwaveable bag form, of course), the canned soup was the healthier version, and I decided I could reduce the amount of butter to ease my conscience a bit. The recipe called for Cheez Whiz, but I used Tostito's Smooth and Cheesy Dip because that is what I had. And, heaven help me, I topped the casserole with French's French Fried Onions. In my defense, I did not buy these. My husband bought the can and only used a small amount -- that can has been sitting in the pantry now for months and it really does need to be used up.
Like I said, this is not the healthiest of casseroles, but it is a southern classic, and I figured I had to taste it at least once in my lifetime since I now live in the South. Was it tasty? Definitely! Would I make it again? For a potluck meal, yes! Although I will probably reduce the butter even more next time, to just two tablespoons, as it seemed a tad oily to me. I think more rice could be added as well to extend the casserole, since there was plenty of sauce, so next time I will increase the rice to two or even three cups. I hope I am not messing with a time-honored recipe here, but if so I apologize to native Southerners everywhere!
Broccoli Rice Casserole
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 C. butter
12 oz. bag of broccoli florets, cooked
1 1/2 C. cooked rice (I used white, but brown would also work)
1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. processed cheese spread or dip
2/3 C. French's French Fried Onions (optional)
Sauté the onion in the butter until translucent, then remove from the heat and stir in the broccoli. In a large bowl, combine the soup, rice, and cheese dip. Stir in the vegetables. Spoon the mixture evenly into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Or, if using the onions, bake for 25 minutes, top the casserole with the onions, and bake 5 minutes more. Serves 8.