Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.
Still trying to determine which side dishes to make for your holiday dinner this year? Save yourself time and energy this year with this week’s low energy use recipe for a broccoli and cheese casserole that is ready in less than 30 minutes and only uses the oven to crisp the topping.
This is the perfect dish to make last as the main items like stuffing, turkey, or pies use up the coveted oven space on Christmas Day. The cheese sauce is loaded with garlic, onions, and shallots, and it’s the only part of the recipe that requires any real effort. Also, the wine is optional in this recipe, since I usually just use a little bit from whatever white wine I am going to serve with dinner.
I love fresh broccoli, but to save time with this recipe during an otherwise hectic cooking day, feel free to use bags of fresh (not frozen!) broccoli that can steam in the bag in the microwave. They typically live in the produce section, and most brands steam in about 3 minutes. If you do use bags of frozen broccoli, make sure you drain them, as they can have a bit more water content from being frozen.
The cheesy, crunchy topping combines crushed crackers, shredded cheese, parsley flakes, and garlic-infused canola oil. You can usually find the latter item in the baking and oil aisle of any good-sized grocery store. If you can’t find an infused canola oil, you can also look for an olive oil. And if you want to infuse your own oil at home so you don’t have to buy something new, simply add a half-teaspoon of garlic powder to the same amount of regular oil, stir it around to diffuse the garlic into the oil thoroughly, and add it to the cracker/cheese mixture.
Quick Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- 4 c. Steamed broccoli
- ¼ c. Minced shallots
- ½ c. Diced sweet yellow onions
- 1 tbsp. Pressed or minced garlic
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- 1 ½ tbsp. Flour
- ½ tsp. Cajun seasoning
- ¼ tsp. Paprika
- ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. White wine
- 1 ½ c. Half and half
- 12 oz. Easy white melting cheese (I used Velveeta)
- 1 c. Crushed crackers
- 1 c. Shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp. Garlic infused canola oil
- 1 tbsp. Parsley flakes
1) Steam the broccoli in the bags as directed. Place in a bowl and set aside.
2) Mince, dice, and press the shallots, onions, and garlic.
3) Mix the seasonings together in a small dish to add later.
4) Cut the cheese into small cubes, measure out the shredded cheese, and crush the crackers.
5) Toss the crushed crackers, shredded cheddar cheese, canola oil, and parsley flakes. Set aside for topping.
6) Melt the butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes.
7) Add the flour and seasonings to the sautéed mixture and let cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir.
8) Pour in the half and half and keep stirring until sauce begins to thicken.
9) Add the melting cheese at this point. Once it is melted, turn the heat off.
10) Place the broccoli in a casserole dish and pour the cheese mixture over the top. Top with the cracker/cheese mixture.
11) Broil on low until topping is crunchy and brown.
Check back in every week for more Direct Your Dining recipes to help reduce your energy use in the kitchen while getting creative with delicious dishes!
Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan