Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole

With Father’s Day around the corner (and hopefully warmer weather too) I want to plan a fun menu that everyone will love but won’t be stressful or complicated for me. And really isn’t keeping mommy happy on Father’s Day the most important thing on everyone’s mind? No? That’s just me? Darn. Anywho, since I’m considering something along the lines of Chili Dogs and Cheese Fries for the main and side, I’m thinking I need some kind of vegetable deal to redeem us a bit. But not too much!

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 1

I tried this out this weekend and it was a hit so I’m keeping it for the big day. I added breadcrumbs to the top during the last three minutes of baking. The added crunch made all the difference. I left out the cayenne pepper for the kids sake, though I would have loved to add it and I’m sure that it adds a nice punch.

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 3

Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 4Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 2Mushroom Broccoli Casserole 5Also, I didn’t have any cooked rice on hand, so I used 1 cup of instant rice. It only needs five minutes so I could be sure it would have enough time to cook in the short time the casserole spent in the oven. I also used fresh broccoli instead of frozen and it didn’t seem to cause a problem.

Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole
Adapted from Sunny Anderson – Food Network

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for casserole dish
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound shiitake or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey blend
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Special equipment: 1 1/8-quart oval casserole dish
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Butter casserole dish. In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter and flour over medium heat until golden in color to make a quick roux. The roux should resemble the color of peanut butter. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, heavy cream and chicken stock. Add broccoli, 1 cup of the cheese and rice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into buttered dish and top with remaining shredded Cheddar. Bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.

During last three minutes, mix a cup of breadcrumbs with 1 to two tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over casserole. Bake a few minutes until golden.

Broccoli Bite

Paper Wrapped Corn on the Cob

This is more of a helpful tip than a recipe, but I think it’s worth sharing.┬áMy kids love corn on the cob. Yes it’s really simple to make, but honestly, sometimes I feel like it takes so long. Waiting for the water to boil, then another ten minutes to cook.

I’m probably being ridiculous, but there are days where every minute counts and I’d much rather spend my time eating than cooking.

This quick steam technique gets the food on the table in four minutes. The best part, they don’t even have the time to ask, “Mom, is it ready yet?”. Doesn’t get better than that! Well, for me anyway ­čśëPaper Wrapped Corn

Paper Towel Wrapped Corn on the Cob

First, pull the husk and silk away from the cob, but don’t break it off at the end. Return the husk and silk back in place before wrapping the individual corn in paper towel. Make sure its completely covered with the ends tucked in so the corn steams inside the husk.

Microwave for four minutes.

Be careful when opening the package. The steam gets trapped inside, releases quickly and can burn your fingers. I use the papertowel to grab the husk and pull it away. I can’t say it enough, this gets really hot.

Season with butter and salt and you’re done!

Jam with Summer Strawberries

One of the best memories I have from my childhood is picking strawberries with my parents. We’d drive up to the country every summer and gather as many as we could with the sun beating down on us in the open field. I still remember my dad showing me the right way to pick them so I wouldn’t hurt the plant.

jam 5

We still go, but now I bring my kids. Well, I’ve brought my five year old. This year will be my two year-olds first time. FARMERS BEWARE! I’m picturing rows and rows of damaged crops so fingers crossed that he’ll keep his excitement at a non-destructive level ­čÖé

This is the recipe my family has used for years. We make a big batch, seal them in mason jars and use them throughout the year.

CERTO® Strawberry JamJam
Ingredients

  • 4cups prepared strawberries (buy about 2 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
  • 7cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1/2tsp. butter or margarine (optional)
  • 1pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin

Directions

BRING boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

STEM and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure exactly 4 cups crushed strawberries into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.Jam 2

ADD sugar; stir. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)

KRAFT Kitchen TipsJam 4

HOW TO MEASURE SUGAR PRECISELY
To get exact level cup measures of sugar, spoon sugar into dry metal or plastic measuring cups, then level by scraping excess sugar from top of cup with straight-edged knife.

ALTITUDE CHART
At altitudes above 1,000 feet, increase processing time as indicated: 1,001 to 3,000 feet-increase processing time by 5 minutes; 3,001 to 6,000 feet-increase processing time by 10 minutes; 6,001 to 8,000 feet-increase processing time by 15 minutes; 8,001 to 10,000 feet-increase processing time by 20 minutes.

NOTE
If berries are extra ripe, use 3-3/4 cups prepared fruit and add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.

Ice Cream and Icing

I had a plan for today’s post, but as usual I found a way to throw a wrench in there. I wanted to post about icing. And not just any icing…Cream Cheese Icing.

But nope, I was tempted by a “One-Minute Microwave Cookie” recipe. I HAD to have it. The temptation was just too much, a warm tender chocolate chip cookie in one minute! Seriously? How can anyone resist.

I tried the recipe twice. Yes, I’m that stubborn. The first time, it looked like this:Cookie 2

I know what you’re thinking, and yeah, that is one failure of a cookie. I figured I must have done something wrong, because if anyone could screw up such a simple recipe it’s me.

Okay, it was back to square one, this time the “batter” came out even worse. So I added butter (lol, yes, the solution had to have been add more butter right?)

Try number two came out only slightly better, but at least this one looked edible. I scooped up a morsel, closed my eyes and…hmm, not bad at all. Definitely tasted buttery.

Cookie 0

So with two failed attempts I made the only possible addition that could save this dish. Ice Cream. It just makes everything better doesn’t it? Bad day at work? Gotdumped? It’s Wednesday?

There’s always a reason to turn to a little pint of Haagen Dazs Pralines and Cream. All of a sudden, it didn’t matter that I had a hideous (questionably cooked) cookie in front of me. The combination of hot “cookie” and cold ice cream was just too good to resist. And yes I ate the whole thing. Don’t judge me! I deserved it. After all, it is Wednesday ­čśë

Cookie 1

Okay, since you didn’t get something usable with my cookie fiasco, I’ll still pass on my favourite icing recipe:

I don’t know about you, but this is the only thing capable of getting me to eat carrot cake and that’s saying a lot.

Cream Cheese Icing
From The Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1┬á8 oz (250g) package┬ácream cheese, softened
  • 1/4┬ácup┬á(60 mL)┬ábutter, softened
  • 1/2┬átsp┬á(2 mL)┬ávanilla
  • 1┬ácup┬á(250 mL)┬áicing sugar

Directions

In bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Beat in icing sugar, one-third at a time, until smooth. Spread over top of cake. (Make-ahead: Cover loosely and refrigerate for up to I day.)

Cheesy Garlic Bread

This. Is. The. Best. Ever.

I can’t remember how I happened on the Food Wanderings in Asia blog but I’m so glad I found it.

This is really easy to prepare. The worst part is stuffing the bread without breaking through the tender inside. You’ll want to keep the base intact as much as possible. It’s absolutely worth the effort though.

Cheesy Bread

Another plus is that you can prepare the loaf in advance, seal it in aluminum foil, then just pop the whole thing onto a baking tray and into the oven about twently minutes before youre ready to serve. It’s a fantastic addition to a pot-luck too. Easy to transport and quick to cook once you’re there.

I’d love to be able to post a photo of me pulling apart the delicious sections of bread revealing the buttery, cheesy, garlic and shallot infused treasure hiding on the inside, but I can’t.

I served this as an appetizer at a party and my family members are animals. I left the room for two minutes to find my camera and all I found when I returned to the room was the this…Cheesy Bread 2

No worries though, they left me a few bites but I had to eat them quick, I was scared they were going to reconsider and eat them out of my hands!

STUFFED ITALIAN BREAD
recipe adapted from Monster Mama

  • 1 Italian loaf, about 12 inches long
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp minced onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 tsp chopped parsley (add more if you wish)
  • 12 oz grated cheese (I used a mix of white cheddar and monterey jack.)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix the melted butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, dijon mustard, poppy seeds and parsley in a bowl.

Cut the bread into cubes with X slices without cutting all the way through the bottom crust.

Pour the butter-onion garlic mixture carefully into those X cracks using a small spoon and over the top of the bread. Fill those delicious cracks with the grated cheese. (It seems like a lot of work and trouble but it’s all worth it. Yes.)

Wrap the entire loaf with foil, sealing the sides properly and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and unwrap. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.