Although I'm a meat-eater and not a vegetarian I do enjoy an occasional break; and I really like crispy, crunchy, cruciferous vegetables. I am especially fond of Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrots, and I can enjoy them raw as a snack, or in salads, or prepared in a variety of dishes - as long as they are not over-cooked. I cannot stand "mushy" vegetables!
I do hope that you enjoy this casserole as much as I did tonight!
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Step 1: INGREDIENTS
- Head of 1 Large Stalk of Broccoli, cut into florets
- 1/3 Head of Large Cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 or 3 Carrots (I don't peel them; that's your call), sliced into 1/4" rounds, or cut into 2" pieces
- 1/4 Large Red Onion, cut into chunks
- 2 or 3 Cloves Garlic, crushed & finely chopped (Optional)
- 1 & 1/2 Cups Buttermilk
- 3 TBS Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 tsp Chili Powder (Optional)
- 4 ounces Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
- 1/2 Cup Low-Moisture, Part Skim Milk, Mozzarella, Shredded
- 1/4 tsp Iodized Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper (+ or-)
- 20 Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers (about 1/2 sleeve) Crushed.
Step 2: PREPARE THE VEGETABLES
Preheat oven to 350f.
- While the oven is heating, steam the Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots for 3 to 4 minutes, or until Broccoli turns bright green.
- Place the steamed vegetables in the bottom of a 9"x9" baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil.
- Add the chopped Red Onion and stir to mix the vegetables (use your hands; it's good for you)!
Step 3: PREPARE THE CHEESE SAUCE
- Heat 1 TBS of Butter and the Buttermilk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat.
- When hot, stir in the Garlic, S&P, and Chili Powder. Add the Cheddar Cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is melted and well blended. Taste and Adjust for seasonings if necessary (don't burn your tongue)!
- Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the Casserole Dish.
Step 4: PREPARE THE TOPPING
- Melt the remaining 2 TBS of butter in a saucepan (you can use the same one you used earlier to make the cheese sauce).
- As soon as the butter is melted, crumble the crackers into the pan and stir to coat.
- Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the casserole dish.
Step 5: BAKE THE CASSEROLE IN THE OVEN
- Bake covered in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
- Remove cover and continue to bake for about 20 minutes more; then test (taste) to see if vegetables are fork tender (but still a bit on the crunchy side if you like them that way). By now, the topping should also be lightly browned.
- If the vegetables are cooked to your satisfaction, top the dish with the shredded Mozzarella and place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, or until the Mozzarella becomes bubbly and begins to brown (If not done to your likeness continue to bake uncovered for another 10 minutes or so, but, please, don't overcook it).
- Remove the casserole from the oven.
Step 6: TIME TO EAT!!!
What else can I say? Just fill your platter and pour yourself a glass of wine (I'm enjoying a glass of Ruffino's Chianti from Italy with my dinner tonight. (Should you be lucky enough to have company, there is more than enough food and wine for two people)!!!
Step 7: NUTRITION
This recipe will probably make 3 dinner servings, or even more side dishes. It is a bit rich because of the butter and cheeses and buttermilk.
Total Recipe has about 1,500 calories and 100 carbs.
Per 1/3 serving, an estimated 500 calories and 34 carbs.
(A 5 ounce glass of Chianti has about 125 calories and 4 carbs - BUT IT'S GOOD FOR YOU!