I know people love their healthy, steamed broccoli, but holiday meals are no time to hold back.

Broccoli smothered in cheese is really the most delicious way to eat the cruciferous vegetable. Even kids who usually run and hide from the dreaded broccoli side dish will be asking for seconds. Dare I say, this broccoli cheese casserole might even replace the beloved green bean casserole at your Thanksgiving table?

This casserole is extremely easy to make, and it freezes well too — incredibly important if you’re trying to prepare all of the delicious Thanksgiving sides and need to get a few ready and out of the way. The broccoli is pre-blanched in boiling water, just to shorten the cooking time and keep the cheese gooey. The sauce is a simple roux of flour, butter, milk, and cheese. The crunchy topping is just crackers with butter and shredded cheddar.

Thanksgiving Day broccoli cheese casserole_4


broccoli cheese casserole

Ingredients

  • 32-ounces broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cup half & half (or milk of your choice)
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (freshly grated is best), (save about a 3/4 cup for the topping)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 sleeve plain crackers (Ritz is a good choice)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350ºF. Spray a medium to large baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Drain.
  3. Transfer broccoli to baking dish and arrange to cover bottom.
  4. In a medium saucepan, add butter and melt. Add flour and garlic powder and whisk constantly until mixture is golden brown. Add half and half and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and add grated cheese. Stir until melted. Add salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Pour cheese sauce over broccoli and stir until broccoli is coated.
  6. In a small bowl, crush crackers. Pour in melted butter and stir.
  7. Sprinkle cracker mixture overtop casserole.
  8. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF. Sauce should be bubbly and topping should be lightly browned and crispy. For an extra crispy top, place under broiler for a few minutes, but keep a careful eye out so topping doesn’t burn.
  9. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving to guests.

Thanksgiving Day broccoli cheese casserole

To freeze:

11. Bake and cool as directed above. Let cool completely so moisture doesn’t build up in your freezer and so your casserole doesn’t get soggy.

12. Once cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap, tin foil, and place in a zip-top freezer bag.

13. To thaw: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes at 350ºF, or until the entire casserole is hot and bubble. If it needs longer than 20 minutes, cover with tin foil so it doesn’t dry out and so the top doesn’t burn. Continue baking.

14. Serve hot! Happy Holidays!

Thanksgiving Day broccoli cheese casserole_4


Also see, Cream-free pumpkin bisque soup recipe.


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Author

Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.