I remember LOVING broccoli rice casserole as a kid. It was probably the side Item (or main dish) I asked for the most as a kid. If it was on the menu at a restaurant, I was ordering it. I still enjoy eating it, I usually add in a protein and serve it as a main dish when I make it these days. Luckily, my other half loves it as much as I do, so there are no complaints when it ends up on the dinner table.
This is a VERY adaptable dish. The protein I use just depends on what I have on hand. I usually have chicken or ham, so those are the two I usually use for this dish. I am sure any protein you like would work with this dish. I have not tried beef in it, but I could see it going well in it. You could even change out the vegetable, for that matter. I have used asparagus in place of the broccoli, and it was great. You can change things out to fit your own personal palate. Add more cheese or different kinds of cheese according to your preference. That is the fun thing about cooking for yourself, you can change it to fit how YOU want it to taste.
As I have mentioned before, my wife feels better when she doesn’t eat a lot of rice so I cut it out where I can. Several years, after she had been exposed to gluten at a restaurant (and was in quite a bit of pain), I tried making the casserole with quinoa instead of rice. We loved it and it is now how we make it each time. The quinoa adds nuttiness to it that the rice doesn’t. It adds another level of flavor.
Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
1 1/2 C Quinoa (cooked)
1 Chicken Breast (cooked and diced)
3 C Broccoli (chopped)
4 oz Velveeta Style Cheese (something creamy that melts easily)
1/4 C Water
1 t Onion Powder
1/2 C Shredded Cheese (of choice, I use cheddar or Colby Jack)
Salt & pepper to taste (go easy on the salt as the cheese can be salty)
In a sauce pan combine the Velveeta cheese and water. Cook on stove top until cheese is completely melted. Stir in the onion power, salt and pepper. Stir in chopped broccoli and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli starts to soften. Add in the chicken and quinoa, stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350f until cheese has browned, 15 – 20 minutes.