One of the most popular dishes I make each Thanksgiving is a Super Cheesy Broccoli Au Gratin Casserole. It is actually an easy dish to make from scratch and doesn’t take very long from start to serve, so I recently decided to make a batch as a bit of a treat & readily available meatless dish or side. Boy, was it good, and also convenient to have on hand during the hectic school week.
While the dish has an ample dose of cheese, I didn’t want to add unnecessary cholesterol, fat or calories, so I went with 2% milk and Country Crock spread, rather than whole milk, cream or butter, when making the casserole. Country Crock spread has 30% fewer calories than butter, 70% less fat, and no cholesterol, transfats or partially hydrogenated oils. While I don’t mind a little natural cholesterol in foods, I take care to avoid transfats and hydrogenated oils in foods for my daughter & I.
By making your own simple cheese sauce from scratch for the casserole, rather than using something from a can or box, you avoid a lot of chemicals and preservatives. It is very easy and quick to make. I assure you, after making it a couple times, you won’t bother with the canned or powdered stuff again.
- 2 quarts of broccoli florets
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup of Country Crock Original spread
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 cups 2% milk
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp chicken or vegetable base (preferably msg free)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
- ½ cup panko crumbs
- 2 tbs. Country Crock Original spread
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the florets in a glass or ceramic bowl, add the ¼ cup of water, cover with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes, then drain the broccoli, and arrange in a 2 qt casserole dish (I usually use an 8x8).
- Prepare the topping for the casserole, by mixing 2 tbs of Country Crock into the Panko crumbs.
- While the broccoli is steaming, melt the Country Crock spread in saucepan over med-high heat. Once melted add garlic & stir.
- After the garlic is cooked through and soft (only takes about a minute), add milk, flour and base. Whisk well, and continue to whisk frequently. Cooking until the sauce readily coats the back of a spoon (see image).
- Remove the sauce from burner, then add ½ the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted, then pour over the broccoli evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the casserole, then evenly cover with topping.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, until crumbs are golden brown.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.