The Great Dinner Decision Conundrum! It’s sweeping households worldwide… One family member wants soup for dinner, while another wants casserole, and the kids want mac-n-cheese but they need their vegetables, right? Well, I have a solution — You can make Broccoli-Cheddar-Soup-Maccaroni-and-Cheese-Casserole for dinner. Yes, it is a real thing… And Yes, it is delectably amazing. This Pioneer Woman Hybrid recipe* is easy to make, and fun to eat.
What you’ll need — INGREDIENTS (makes 8-12 servings):
1 pound Elbow Macaroni
1 Celery Stalk/Rib
1/2 White Onion
4 tablespoons Butter, plus more for baking dish
1 head Broccoli
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
2 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1/4 cup Half-and-Half
3 and 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup cubed Processed Cheese (Velveeta)
2 cups grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs (Panko)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Now, dice a celery stalk/rib… And, ironically, this causes more food confusion — I like to call this conundrum “The Great Celery Vocabulary Debate” — Some people call one single pice of celery a “stalk”, some call it a “rib”, and others call it a “leafstalk”… So, whatever you choose to call it, just dice it up.
Next, dice 1/2 of a white onion.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pot/large skillet over medium-heat…
… once the butter has melted, add the celery and onions. Let them cook, stirring often, for several minutes; until everything softens and the onion becomes translucent.
While you are waiting for the celery and onions to cook you can prepare the broccoli. So, remove the stalks…
… and break the “little tree parts” into small florets.
Now, add the broccoli to the skillet with the celery and onions. You want to let the broccoli cook until it softens, approximately 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
You can prepare the cheese while the broccoli cooks! Grate 2 cups of parmesan (1 and 1/2 cups will go inside the casserole, and the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesean will garnish the top), then grate 3 and 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, and cube the processed cheese.
*Cheese Overload Disclaimer: The original recipe called for less cheese. PW’s recipe only called for; 1 cup parmesan, 2 and 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, and 1 cup Velveeta. But I can’t be trusted with cheese…
You can adjust the amounts of cheese to your liking, but I am going to make one request; please, please, PLEASE grate your own parmesan cheese. It’s life altering. Grab a parmesan wedge from the deli, and grate it yourself, PLEASE!
The broccoli should be coming along… So, break some of the florets apart with a wooden spoon to check for tenderness.
Now, add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the broccoli, and stir it in.
Then add 1 teaspoon of ground/dry mustard, and stir it in.
Add 2 cups of whole milk.
1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth.
And 1/4 cup half-and-half.
Stir the mixture, allowing it to warm up.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. THE CHEESE! Add 1 and 1/2 cups of parmesan, 3 and 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar, and the cubed processed cheese.
Give it a good stir, allowing the cheese to warm up and melt.
Now, fetch the cooked and strained macaroni… you’ll bee adding it to the cheesy broccoli mixture.
So, start dumping, or scooping the macaroni into the broccoli cheese mixture. The warm macaroni should aid in melting the rest of the cheese.
Gently mix the macaroni into the cheese, add salt and pepper to taste, then stir gently again. Give it a taste-test and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Now, butter a baking dish/pan.
And spoon or dump the macaroni/broccoli/cheese mixture into the buttered baking pan.
In a separate bowl mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan with 1/2 a cup of Panko breadcrumbs…
… and use it to cover the top of your casserole.
Now, pop your casserole in the oven and bake it for about 25 minutes… Or until the top starts to turn golden brown and the cheese begins to bubble.
Serve up ah heaping helping…
*I first saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s Food Network Show — Episode: “Drummond Kids at the Merc“; you can get a variation of her recipe here.
However, if you want the Baked Mac and Cheese without the Broccoli Soup influence then you should try my recipe for Creamy Yet Spicy Macaroni and Cheese, served with Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce. It was also scrumptious.
Cook Long and Prosper! Love, the Uncustomary Housewife
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