The Best Broccoli Casserole You’ve Never Made

In which I ask you to support your local CSA.

Broccoli is my kids’ favorite vegetable…pause for the sharp intake of breath from the crowd…I know, right? Broccoli Casserole farI know what you all are thinking.  First of all, you are totally impressed that my kids eat veggies at all. Secondly, you wonder what I did to get this behavior from them.  Third, you assume I’m lying.  Want to know something else?  My kids eat and enjoy most veggies.  The youngest impressed my grandma by sucking down asparagus as one of her first foods.  The diapers were gross and smelled weird, but that’s not what we are going to talk about.  These are those brag-worthy moments.  There are lots of things that my darling little angels are good at, but one of the things they are best at is trying new foods.  Instead of taking complete credit for it, I’m going to rely partially on genetics and partially on my boredom with eating the same foods over and over.  This is the part where I remind you that we have the rule for the kids about needing to try everything and if they refuse, they have to eat twice as much as I would normally make them eat.  (We are talking teaspoons of food, not full servings.  Enough to get the idea of it without overfilling bellies and causing children to puke.  We aren’t monsters.)  This is also the part where I highly recommend subscribing to a CSA.  Broccoli Casserole meltyAh…I bet a bunch of you are unfamiliar with what a CSA is.  CSA is Community-Supported Agriculture.  It’s an opportunity to purchase a vegetable “subscription”.  With our last one from High Meadow Farm, we got a box of farm fresh vegetables every week.  This meant that we ate seasonally.  In the spring, after a long winter, my body craves as many greens as I can possibly hold.  Luckily this is the time when greens are best.  I got to eat spinach sauteed with balsamic vinegar, garlic, and sundried tomatoes as often as I wanted.  My breakfast consisted of eggs and greens most days.  We had salad at dinner every night.  Then there were the beautiful French radishes.  We liked them sliced with a little salt, sauteed, or mixed with some spring onions and spices to make a “salsa” type condiment.

I could go on and on about how wonderful the vegetables were throughout the entire growing season, but that isn’t my point.  My point is that we had a lot of stuff that we didn’t know how to use.  Veggies that I never would’ve put in my garden.  We tried them all.  When we had too much of something that we could preserve, we’d do small batch canning or freezing so that we could have good veggies in the deep winter.  It helped broaden our horizons to the possibilities of flavors and textures of vegetables.  It helped us get our 5 servings a day without issue.  It cut down our overall grocery budget for the summer because I didn’t have to buy much more than meat and staples like flour.  This also meant that in my garden, I could focus on things that I knew my family would eat or things I wanted to use for canning.  Broccoli Casserole TopMy kids are great veggie eaters.  The only qualm I had about trying this recipe out on them was the blue cheese factor.  Blue cheese can be somewhat polarizing.  I’ve always loved it and would chose blue cheese dressing for my salad over anything else.  The kids are slightly less sure of it.  Let me assure you, unless you are using the stinkiest of cheeses, a single ounce of blue cheese combined with the cream cheese, the milk, and the heavy flavor of broccoli goes mostly unnoticed.  It’s a background flavor.  If you are still unsure, use a different cheese. Broccoli Casserole Saltine topThe broccoli casserole is a beautiful thing.  It’s creamy and melty and has the same sort of comfort factor as broccoli cheese soup.  Broccoli casserole is a great side with a grilled steak or other grilled meat (or mushroom if you don’t eat meat).  The oval crackers the recipe mentions is like a TownHouse cracker.  You can use whatever sort of cracker appeals to you.  If you want to raid your kids’ goldfish stash, those would be great on top also.  This is a weeknight recipe.  Broccoli CasseroleCheck out my post about Skillet Potatoes Au Gratin for another weeknight side dish.  If you need a quick dessert idea for the middle of the week, you might want some unbaked cookies.