Cheesy Brocco-‘rice’ casserole

When I was a kid (we’re talking eons ago), we lived on a cul-d-sac. My parents made a volleyball set up with some cemented tires that could easily be rolled in the center of the cul-d-sac. On Sundays, the neighbors would all come over and bring a dish and we would make the day of it – pot luck, volleyball and good ol’ fashioned visiting. One time we even had a pig roast – apple in the mouth and everything! I was one super impressed little tyke-o-saur! 

Pot luck was always (and still is) one of my favorite ways to dine. Getting to try everyone’s family specialty. A classic side dish that someone brought every time was a cheesy broccoli rice casserole. I was never very big on broccoli, but when I would see this dish, all bubbling with cheese on top of a creamy, cheesy mixture of rice and broccoli, I would grab a gargantuan spoonful and probably went back for seconds (I was always into carby side dishes).  It’s funny, but some of the old classics dishes from my childhood I don’t see much anymore. This fond dish is one of those. So I decided to re-create it…without the rice!

I LOVE my Oster toaster oven (in fact it’s so old I can’t even find the red version anymore)! It’s probably the appliance I use most often in our kitchen. Since it’s just the two of us, it makes sense not to heat up the whole house for dinner. I’ve created this dish so it can just bake in the toaster oven and be a main dish with the addition of some rotisserie chicken or a side dish we can pair with a protein for a few days. The result is exactly what I was going for…a beautiful browned cheesy top with that creamy mixture of broccoli and cauliflower. A great fake-out for the rice in this dish!

I greatly enjoy this dish.  That toaster oven is the best investment we have made in the kitchen.  It cooks great, reheats food well and is still staying strong after years of operation.

The ingredients plus I made this a main meal by adding in chopped rotisserie chicken (see ‘Optional’ in the recipe below).

Brocco-'rice'CasseroleBaked to perfection!

Brocco-'rice'CasseroleGooey goodness – MMM!

Cheesy Brocco-‘rice’ casserole

½ head of cauliflower, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
6 oz broccoli cut into pieces
2 Tbsp chopped onion
2 oz. cream cheese, cubed
2 oz. Velveeta, cubed
1 cup shredded 3 cheddar blend
1 tsp garlic powder

In a microwave safe bowl, toss your cauliflower with the cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder to coat evenly. Cover loosely (I used an inverted paper plate) and microwave on high for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes, toss the cauliflower again and skootch it to the side of the bowl. On the other side add in your raw broccoli and onion. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes.

Now, put just the cauliflower, cream cheese and Velveeta into an electric food chopper or blender (I use the chopper attachment of my immersion blender) and pulse the ingredients until a creamy rice consistency. Put the broccoli on a cutting board and chop into smaller pieces. Combine all of the ingredients (except ¼ of the shredded cheese). Spray an oven proof dish and add in your combined ingredients. Top with remaining ¼ of shredded cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until browned on top.

Optional: Cube up one breast of rotisserie chicken and mix it in with the broccoli/cauliflower mixture before putting in the oven for a full meal!

Serves: 4

Estimated Nutrition Stats: Side dish – 4 servings: Calories 225 | Carbs 11g | Net carbs 6 | Fat 15g | Protein 16g | Fiber 4f.