Classics made with real food

So, here is what I mean by healthy: REAL FOOD. We live at a time where a lot of our “food” comes from boxes. And it tastes delicious, and it’s easy, and our kids will eat it- so why not? Because most of the time it’s not actual food. There are ingredients that I can’t pronounce and emulsifiers and preservatives and… crap. Pure crap. I know that there are a lot of people who eat vegan, or vegetarian, or gluten-free – and I think that there are a lot of valid reasons for those choices – but I don’t like when they become synonymous with “healthy”. There isn’t anything wrong with bread or cheese or meat – but they are sometimes foods.

So today, I’m going to teach you how to make an amazing dish to replace a meal that you probably haven’t made without the aid of boxes or cans before. It’s very easy and CRAZY delicious and it only uses real food that your great grandparents would have recognized as food when they were kids.

Cheesy broccoli and grain casserole. Making this dish marked the first time that I let Jack cook on the stove. I have a lot of apprehensions about how dangerous the kitchen can be but I decided to give Jack careful instructions on how to handle the skillet and where he could touch it. We cooked on low so he really did great – and he loved this dish! Literally the first time that he has every eaten broccoli with gagging or crying – smiles all around. It made me so happy.

With this dish, as with all dishes made near an oven, I suggest that you pre-measure all of your ingredients so that your children are constantly at work instead of having long minutes of having to wait while you rush around and get things ready. That just leads to trouble and makes your entire experience less enjoyable. This about quality time and foods combined, not frantic orders received.

ingredient list:

4 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing pan
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk

1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and a few cracks fresh black pepper
2 + 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded

3 cups cooked rice ( I used a grain mix that I buy at Harris Teeter. Red and Gold quinoa, amaranth, brown and wild rice)
2 -3 cups cooked broccoli florets (lightly pulsed in the food processor)
  • Grease a 9×13-inch casserole pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  •    In a large saucepan melt the butter over low heat; add garlic and saute for just a minute or two.
  • Whisk in flour and cook 3-4 minutes – whisk constantly. Whisk in milk, mustard and season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer 4 minutes – whisk occasionally.
  • Add 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1/3 parmesan; stir until melted and then remove from heat.
  • Stir in rice and broccoli florets, pour into casserole pan, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top. Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and slightly browned on top.

While we were eating, we had to flex our muscles after each bite of broccoli because it was making them so much bigger! 😉 You will love this dish – I hope you make it soon!

p.s. I got this recipe, the same way that I get most of my recipes – trolling the internet and looking for something that makes sense to me and then altering it to fit the ingredients that I have . I found this one here.

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