Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

We hosted a Christmas party at our home last weekend with some of my family.  We had a lot of fun and, of course, we had quite the feast, too.  Everyone brought some food to contribute.  I supplied the ham and some sides, all of which were as REAL as possible.  A few days before the party, I realized we didn't really have enough vegetables, so I was going to just make some roasted veggies.  But then I saw Kelly the Kitchen Kop post a recipe for a healthy broccoli cheese casserole.  I knew I wanted to try it!  So I made it for our Christmas party.  It was sooooo good!  Yum!  This is definitely going to be a regular dish at our house!  I used to make a similar dish with the fake processed cheese (Velveeta or Cheez Whiz), but haven't made it in a couple of years now.  I'm very excited to have a great substitution that tastes even better than the fake version! 

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

8 Tablespoons butter
8 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1 pint homemade cream of mushroom soup
sea salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
onion powder, to taste
pinch of sugar/sucanat
4 cups chopped veggies, fresh or frozen
1/2 - 1 cup bread crumbs, seasoned to taste

Start by shredding up some cheese in your food processor, or you can use a box grater.  Set aside.

Next make a white sauce/roux.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Whisk in the arrowroot powder.  Whisk continuously for about a minute.  Add the milk, about a cup at a time until it thickens, then add another cup until you've added all the milk.

Once all of the milk has been added, add the cheese.  Then stir in your cream of mushroom soup.  Next, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar.  Taste it and adjust as you see fit.  You really want to make sure you get the sauce right - it is what makes the dish.  Keep stirring as it continues to thicken.

Meanwhile get your vegetables ready.  You can use fresh or frozen.  If you are using fresh, you'll want to blanch the veggies for a few minutes.  I used frozen vegetables, some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. 

Prepare an 8 1/2 x 11 inch baking dish by buttering the sides and bottom.  Next, place your vegetables in the bottom and pour cheese sauce over the top. 

Top with breadcrumbs. 

Bake 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy! 

Note:  Kelly suggests melting another 8 Tablespoons of butter and stirring in 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs to make a topping.  Let your veggies bake without it for 10-15 minutes, then add the butter/crumb topping.  I'm sure this is delicious, but I was trying to save a step so I just added some homemade seasoned sourdough breadcrumbs to the top of mine (without the butter) before I baked it. It still tasted great!


Mary Voogt said...

I saw this on Kelly's blog. But it looks like a lot of work. I'll have to try it sometime when I have plenty of time to cook.

Sara said...

Its not, at all. At least not using frozen veggies. The arrowroot powder really thickens up the sauce fast. Its probably only about 10-15 minutes to prep, then the bake time. Very easy!