I wouldn’t really consider myself a “picky” eater. In fact, I’ll try almost anything. There is one food however, that has haunted me since childhood. Its unique odour, almost ominous texture and ever changing appearance has continuously caused me to be leery of this dish. As much as I’ve tried to avoid this dish through the years, there it is, at baby showers, bridal showers, family picnics and holiday gatherings. I often circle the table, trying to avoid looking at it, and just hope no one offers it to me. It is the most vile of all party foods.
My friends, I am talking about the “casserole”.
Whenever someone says the word “casserole” I instantly picture a rectangular glass pyrex dish filled with a mysterious substance covered with cheese. What is beneath that cheesy layer? No one REALLY knows! And therein, lies the great mystery of the “casserole”!
This one dish wonder’s transformation could put any chameleon to shame! No two casseroles look or taste alike! In fact the casserole is the perfect dish to make at the end of the week when you are trying to clean out your fridge!
You see, there are “rules” when it comes to cooking. There are certain ingredients that “go” together and certain ingredients that do not.
Oh.ho..ho…..but when it comes to the “casserole”- it seems that anything goes!
You have some orange Chinese noodles? Throw ’em in! Have a can of Coke lying around? Pour it in! Have some corn flakes in your cupboard? Sprinkle em on! Heck, toss anything in that pyrex dish, pour a can of “cream of whatever” soup over it all, coat it with cheese, and you’ve got yourself a good ole’ fashion casserole!
(excuse me while I try to keep my lunch down…)
Why is it that you can put the most inappropriate ingredients together and as long as it’s called a “casserole”, no one even thinks twice?!
STOP THE MADNESS!
When I was a child my Mother used to make her own famous casserole type dish once in a while. It was called “I don’t know”. As the clock would near five and us kids would ask Mom, “What’s for dinner?” She would coyly reply. “I don’t know”.
The trouble was, we all KNEW perfectly well what “I don’t know” was. It was a “clean out the cupboard” dish. It was typically some sort of noodle, some sort or soup, and then whatever other canned and packaged food was in the cupboard and it was DREADFUL! (sorry Mom)
I’ve spent the better part of the past 32 years avoiding casserole type dishes, but sometimes you’ve just got to stop running.
That day came a few weeks ago. I was at my friend Crystal’s house for a playdate with our boys. We were there over the lunch hour and Crystal offered to feed us. I gratefully accepted. Who would pass up the chance to cook one less meal a day?! Just as I was mentally rejoicing in this welcomed meal preparing break, Crystal uttered the most terrifying of all words.
“I’ve got a broccoli casserole in the oven for us” A what?!!…A who?!…A where?!! “Did she just say “casserole?”
I instantly started to sweat…”keep a smile on your face”. “Act normal.” I thought to myself.
I started to exhale slowly.
Must. Regulate. Breathing.
Casserole. Casserole. Casserole.
Must. Not. Panic.
I started working over a plan in my mind to at least manage 3-4 bites, then proclaim how stuffed I was and push my plate away. “That should be socially acceptable right?”
I started to notice that the entire house was filling with THE MOST delicious aroma.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, everything Crystal has ever made has been fantastic! She wouldn’t steer me wrong now…right?
Crystal pulled the casserole out of the oven and served me an exceptionally large piece. “What a shame that most of this will be wasted”, I thought to myself.
I raised a shaky fork to my mouth, concentrated on controlling my gag reflex, and took my first bite. Every hair on the back of my neck stood up…
This tasted AHHHHH-MA-ZING!
Like, seriously, sooooo yummy! I’m not sure what Crystal was even saying when I blurted out “What IS this?!!” It was honestly one of the most delicious dishes I had ever tasted! In no time at all I had completely forgotten my “manage to swallow 3-4 bites” plan and had inhaled the entire thing. At one point I even contemplated licking my plate, but thought that would definitely be inappropriate..(at least not while she was looking..) 🙂
When she gave me a run-down of the ingredients, I realized that it wasn’t exactly “clean”, so I vowed to tinker with her recipe and come up with a cleaner version!
This recipe is the end result! It turned out really yummy as well! It is very easy to pre-pare, has minimal ingredients and has an awesome taste! Even my kids loved it!
Crystal has restored my faith in casseroles. I dare say I am almost a “fan” of them now. 😉
Well done Crystal…Well done. 🙂
2 Heads of broccoli chopped
1 Cup Shredded goat mozzarella
2 pieces of ezekiel bread cut into cubes (crouton size)
1 White onion diced
1 Cup chicken broth
1/2 Cup Greek yogurt
2 TBSP Epicure Onion Spice
1/2 Tsp sea salt
1 Clove (large) garlic diced
1-2 Cooked chicken breast diced
Pre-heat the oven to 400F
In a bowl whisk together the broth, eggs, garlic, salt and epicure spice.
In a separate bowl combine bread, cheese, broccoli and chicken. Once all of the dry ingredients are mixed, pour the liquid over top and then transfer to pyrex dish. Sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
This dish is delicious!
I hope you enjoy it!