WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Casserole packed with yummy veggies

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I read way too many food posts on social media. I have the urge to cook all the time. Seriously.

In the last few days, I have saved recipes on Pinterest for skillet Italian beef and rice, 30-minute chicken and dumplings, blueberry oatmeal muffins, triple berry angel food cake roll and easy chicken gyros.

I don’t make everything I pin — not by a long shot. But I do like seeing what other people are cooking and getting ideas for meals, desserts and special occasions.

When I don’t have good ideas for supper, I go to Pinterest and check out my pins. My mouth waters looking at the posts I’ve saved for fresh strawberry cake, healthy cashew chicken and a Sicilian rice ball casserole that really piques my interest.

On Saturday, my husband and I scanned my pins before choosing to make a delicious pan of teriyaki chicken with broccoli and red peppers teamed with some sloppy good noodles.

The weekend before, I pinned and made an Allrecipes healthy broccoli cheese bake. We had plans to cook thick-cut pork cutlets on the grill, and I thought the casserole would be a nice side dish.

Our grilling plans were derailed when our gas grill wouldn’t start, but we made the best of it, cooking the pork in my grill pan on the stove and adding our favorite homemade barbecue sauce. And we had the broccoli casserole to enjoy.

This broccoli casserole is different from several others I make. It uses a homemade sauce, not a can of cream-of-something soup. The sauce is very flavorful and not heavy with lots of cheese. The casserole is packed with broccoli, fresh mushrooms and red bell pepper.

Preparation includes a short cook time for the veggies and sauce before pouring the ingredients into a casserole dish to bake. I topped my casserole with a little Pepperidge Farm stuffing rather than the topping suggested in the recipe.

Reggie and I both enjoyed this fresh casserole. We loved all the flavor that the red bell pepper added and the subtle crunch of the fresh broccoli I used. And we both thought the leftovers the next night were just as delicious!

Broccoli Casserole

This delicious casserole would make a nice addition to your Easter dinner table.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, sliced

8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups low-fat milk, heated*

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese

7 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed, well drained on paper towel

1 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and milk and bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Boil, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in cheddar and 2 tablespoons Romano. Stir in broccoli and pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Toss bread crumbs with remaining 2 tablespoons Romano and sprinkle over top. Dot with butter.

Bake, uncovered, until crumbs are golden and casserole is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Allrecipes

* I made several minor changes to this recipe. I used fat-free milk instead of low-fat and shaved Parmesan instead of Romano cheese because that’s what I had in my refrigerator. I also used fresh broccoli instead of frozen. I added the broccoli it to the pan of mushrooms, onions and red bell pepper after incorporating the flour and milk with the other vegetables. Also, instead of making whole-grain bread crumbs, I cheated and used a sprinkling of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix that I keep in the freezer for such “emergencies.”

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