Beer, Broccoli and Cheese!
Long overdue, a few of us girls finally got together last night to catch up and eat some grub! One of my friends, Nicole, is doing the triathlon this coming Sunday in Chicago (amazing I know) and since I was in charge of cooking dinner, I wanted to come up with a balanced, healthier meal that would help keep her fueled…one chock full of healthy fats, protein, carbs and loaded with vitamins and nutrients. I saw a recipe on Pinterest for a broccoli cheese casserole sans any ‘cream of anything soup’ which intrigued me, so I decided to go that route, but adding in some chicken for more protein! I also made a beer bread to go along with it for fun! Add in some baked polenta appetizers and an amazing salted caramel pie baked by my friend Em and we had one complete dinner!
Chicken, Broccoli, Cheese Casserole:
- 2 T butter
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thing
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 3/4 cups skim milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- few squirts of lemon, to taste
- dash of mustard powder
- 1 t spicy mustard (I used a Habanero mustard, but Dijon or any similar would work as well)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, plus another cup for topping
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 3 cups cooked broccoli
- 3 cups cooked rice (I used black rice, more antioxidants than blueberries and more fiber than brown rice, a little healthier alternative)!
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
Cook rice, broccoli and chicken and set aside. I steamed the broccoli, threw the rice in a rice maker and grilled chicken breasts with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and heat oil and butter in saucepan until butter is melted. Saute onions until soft, 5-7 minutes, add garlic, cook another minute or two. Whisk in flour, cooking only for a minute, not browning it. Slowly add in milk, broth, lemon juice and mustard whisking constantly until smooth. Once smooth, let cook and thicken for 5 or so minutes, whisking only occasionally. Once thickened, add in the cheeses and remove from heat. Once cheese is melted, add in cooked broccoli, rice and chicken. Stir to coat everything, pour into a casserole dish or 9X13 pan. Top with cheddar and more parmesan, bake for 45 minutes.
Beer Bread with Cheddar and Garlic:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 T sugar
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t salt, divided
- 10 ounces or 1 1/4 cups beer (guess you’ll just have to drink those last two ounces)!
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 1 t garlic powder, plus more for top
- 1 t onion powder, plus more for top
- 1 t mustard powder, plus more for top
- 1 T butter, melted
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and mustard powder. Slowly mix in beer with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Do not over-mix. Add in cheese, until just combined. Pour (I use this word lightly as the batter is very thick and will not ‘pour’) into a 9X5 loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm area for 30 minutes. The dough will puff lightly and grow a little in the pan. Brush the top with the melted butter and sprinkle seasonings over top. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 4 ounces mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 large leek, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thin
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh mozzarella
- parmesan cheese
- seasonings of choice (I used rosemary and thyme)
- more olive oil for drizzling (this has to be really good olive oil, I used a garlic olive oil I infused myself with excellent quality oil from Italy)
- log of polenta (I got mine from Trader Joe’s but I have seen them at Jewel, etc)
In a small saucepan, heat olive oil. Add in mushrooms and leeks, saute until softened 5-7 minutes. Add in garlic and cook a few minutes more. In the meantime, slice the polenta into slices. Cover with mozzarella cheese then mushroom leek mixture, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, seasonings and drizzle with a smidge of olive oil. Transfer to greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and polenta is browned a little on the bottom.
Em’s Salted Caramel Pie:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 T butter, melted
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, press into a 9-inch pie plate. Top with sweetened condensed milk, sprinkle with salt. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, covered with foil! This is very important, as I burned the crap out of mine when I baked it uncovered!