A friend, Evelyn Criswell, shared a new recipe for broccoli casserole and, of course, I started making changes even before I tried the original recipe. I know that I shouldn’t do this, but sometimes the changes just pop into my mind and I can hardly wait to try them.
First, while looking for the steamer-type broccoli in the freezer section of the supermarket, I noticed the combination of broccoli and cauliflower and decided to use it. After making the dish, I noticed that it could use a little more color, so the next time I made it, I added some roasted red bell peppers. You can either use a fresh red bell pepper and roast it yourself, or you can use the roasted peppers in a jar. If using the ones in the jar, be sure to blot them well to remove any liquid.
I also adjusted the amount of mayonnaise in the recipe, and changed the kind of cheese called for in. Sour cream is also used in the recipe, and I almost substituted French onion dip for the sour cream to add more flavor. Perhaps I will use the French onion dip instead of the sour cream another time.
I can’t remember the kind of cheese called for, but I looked into the refrigerator and noticed that I had some Italian-blend cheese, and I opted for this multi-flavored addition. The blend I used was a combination of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, romano, fontina and asiago.
My next thought was that the casserole needed a topping, preferably something crunchy. Panko crumbs came to mind. When I looked into the kitchen pantry, I found that I had plain Panko crumbs, Italian-seasoned Panko crumbs and also lemon-pepper seasoned Panko crumbs. Since I had used the Italian cheese blend, I opted for the Italian-flavored crumbs. Good choice.
Keep in mind that you can vary the vegetables, if you would like. Asparagus with the roasted peppers would be really good in this casserole. There is also a mix containing broccoli, cauliflower and carrots which would make an attractive dish.
Another change you might want to make is to add cooked chicken to the dish. I did this for a church supper, and it was well-received. Make it your own by adding a special touch with ingredients that your family enjoys, and you might be surprised at your own creativity.
BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE
2 bags (12 ounces each) Birds Eye Steamfresh frozen broccoli and cauliflower
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces finely shredded Italian style cheese blend
1/2 cup Italian style Panko crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish (about 2 quart size). Steam vegetables according to package directions. Cut the steamed vegetables into small pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the steamed vegetables with the roasted red peppers. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder and cheese. Mix well. Spoon into casserole dish.
Sprinkle top with Panko crumbs. Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.