Sunday, June 24, 2012

Broccoli Ham and Cheese Casserole

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When trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, my mother-in-law Barb found this recipe for a casserole using broccoli, ham, cheese, rice and creamy soups. I changed a few things (of course) and this is what was for dinner tonight.  Barb did all the chopping and I did all the "real cooking" as my handsome man says (and my in-laws joke about).
It's pretty much a dump and stir casserole, with the exception of cooking the onions and broccoli first. You'd have to really try to mess this one up. It would be a great use for left-overs (and who doesn't need new ideas to use up left-overs?). It's a hearty, "stick to your ribs" meal that tastes wonderfully home-y and is a cinch to put together. It makes a lot, so be prepared.  You can separate it into smaller dishes and freeze some smaller casseroles to cook later, or just cook for a crowd.
  As always, if there is something in the recipe that is not your cup of tea, feel free to change it to your tastes. Cooking is about making people happy and creating not only good food but good memories. If you read this recipe and think" That would be good, but I don't like broccoli.  Or, I don't have any ham but I need to use up some chicken. Please - leave out the broccoli; exchange the ham for chicken. Experiment with your own additions and substitutions. Make it to your tastes. But I have to tell you, this recipe is really good the way it is. ;)

Here's how you do it:

Warm up 1 Tbsp of olive oil (EVOO if you have it) in a large skillet.

To the warm oil, add 1 medium onion, diced. (I used 2/3 of a large onion. Thanks Barb for chopping!)

While the onions cook, start opening some cans. 2 Creamy soups and 1 can of corn, drained.

They get emptied into a large mixing bowl,

along with 1 tsp granulated garlic,

1 tsp seasoned salt (we use Lawry's) and mix it all together.  Check on the onions.

When the onions are almost soft, add some broccoli florets - about 3 cups. Thanks again for chopping Barb! :)  Saute the onions and broccoli together over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and starting to get soft. (I like my veggies tender crisp, so if you like yours cooked more then just cook them more.)

While the broccoli and onions continue to cook, get back to the "sauce."  Add 1 Tbsp dry parsley.

1 cup of milk. (I was holding Baby Girl, and she wanted to help too. Just look past her adorable chubby baby hands.)

Mix and add some chopped ham,

2 cups of shredded cheese - cheddar or a mixture of whatever cheeses you like.

Mix again, and then add 3 cups of cooked rice,

and the broccoli and onion mixture.

Stir one last time until it's all well combined.

Spread it evenly into a 9x13 baking dish,

and start on the topping. Cover the top completely with Italian Style bread crumbs - about 1/2 cup.

And top the bread crumbs with the same amount of grated Parmesan cheese - about 1/2 cup.

Drizzle the top with a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil, of course) to keep it moist and it's done.

It goes into a 375F oven for 30 minutes.

When 30 minutes have past, the casserole will be brown around the edges and bubbly.

Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. It doesn't slice like a lasagna would, but it does hold it's shape pretty well.

The beauty of a casserole is that it is an all in one dish. Protein, veggies, grain, and dairy all in one. No need for any side dishes - unless you want.

The topping is crunchy and toasty, and a nice contrast to the creamy rice. The sweet pop of the corn kernels off set the salty chew of the ham and the broccoli compliments it all. A very yummy dish if I do say so myself. :)
Here's the recipe:

Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Casserole

1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp oil (I use EVOO)
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked ham, diced
3 cups small broccoli florets
1 (15 ounce) can corn kernels, drained 
cup milk
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans creamy soup (we used cream of mushroom)
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups cheese shredded (cheddar, or whatever you like)
1/2 cup Italian Style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Drizzle of EVOO - about 2 Tbsp
Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Cook onions in oil over a medium-low heat until almost soft.  Add broccoli florets and cook until bright green and tender crisp (soft, but still with a bite). In a large bowl mix the milk, soup, seasonings, corn, ham and cheddar cheese together until combined. Stir in the rice, broccoli and onions. Dump broccoli mixture into a large casserole dish and spread out evenly. Cover the top with the breadcrumbs. Cover the breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese. Drizzle the top with a little EVOO and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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