Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gram's Broccoli Casserole

There are three women in my life who have greatly influenced my cooking: my mother, my grandmother, and my mother-in-law. Today, I dedicate this post to my dear grandmother Leann, who is turning 77 years old. From a very young age, my memories of her are in the kitchen, teaching me how to whip up a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies or watching her decorate a wedding cake. She is a baker, but we also used to gather as extended family at her house for Sunday dinners and holidays. I think the menu was pretty constant - roast, potatoes, corn on the cob, fruit salad (with whipping cream of course) and the one casserole that we always had was her broccoli cheese casserole. 

A little over a year ago, we found ourselves from one day to the next without a caregiver for our youngest and my grandmother came to the rescue and spent a couple of months with us taking care of her during the day. I have always wanted to put together a cookbook of her recipes and so we decided it would be the perfect time to photograph all of the dishes that her family loves best. During the day she would take care of Ceci and cook or bake and when I'd get home I'd photograph her work. We were just about finished and my camera card crashed and we lost everything. She was such a trooper and cooked it all a second time and I took photographs again. So, I wish I had the book finished to give to her on her birthday, but this is a start . . . the first recipe that we all love: Broccoli Casserole. 

1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup celery
1 cube butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 small jar, cheese whiz
1 can, cream of chicken soup
1 bag, frozen broccoli
bread crumbs

Gram's original recipe reads: Saute onions and celery in butter. Pour over cup of rice in 9 x 13 pan. Mix together cheese, cream of chicken soup, and broccoli. Pour over rice. Top with breadcrumbs and Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. 

The pictures here are a little different from the process that comes from her original recipe, but it all turns out the same. For a heartier, main dish you can add pieces of cubed chicken breast (pre-cooked) above the layer of rice.

Grandma, thank you for all you do for us - - most recently for the times you've come to our rescue tending our kids or whipping up a ton of your recipes for photographs and for teaching me how to show my love for others through food. If there is one big influence that I'd say you've had on me, it is that! I love you! And Happy, Happy Birthday!

1 comment:

Christian and Jennifer said...

Ahhh . . . sweet memories from college when you used to make that for us! Thanks for sharing!