broccoli, cheddar and wild rice casserole

Although my parents claim to have loved us, there were all sorts of delicious foods that my sister and I knew our friends got to eat in their homes that we were denied in our own, glorious meal-like substances such as shake-and-bake chicken, hamburger helpers, sugar cereals with colorful marshmallows, and popcorn in that thing that unspirals itself and expands in the oven, like, whoa. Childhood was tough! Even now as (theoretically) an adult, I routinely hear about wondrous foods that I have never even once experienced, such as the broccoli-cheese casserole that someone (was it you?) requested I try my hand at earlier this year.

rinsing wild rice like a pro these days
what you'll need + wild rice in the cooker

Unfamiliar with the dish, I asked around and it turns out, I really do seem the only person who has never had it. That said, among people I’ve interrogated, reviews are mixed. One friend gushed that it was the only way he’d eat broccoli growing up, another asked me to please bring it back in style, but the girl at the coffee shop this morning said it “smelled disgusting and was often made with Cheez-Whiz,” (sigh, another magical food on the Denied list). And it would be journalistically irresponsible for me not to mention that the dish was called out by name by Cook’s Illustrated founder Chris Kimball in a New York Times op-ed in the days after my beloved Gourmet magazine folded as an example of the web failing to live up to its promise. “Google ‘broccoli casserole’ and make the first recipe you find,” he challenged. “I guarantee it will be disappointing.”

ready for assembly

steamy broccoli, draining
bringing on the cheese sauce
ready to bake and broil

Feh, I say, let people cook however they want. And this here is my way (published on an internet website no less!) which is to say, look, I totally failed. Lacking warm memories that would anchor my plans to the original iteration of the dish, I instead made this, a wild rice casserole with broccoli and, yes, cheddar cheese sauce, broiled until crisp on top. I have zero regrets; we were too busy eating it to consider how heretical it might be. Well, most of us. Certain members of our family will only eat broccoli and rice if they arrive separately on his plate, thank you very much, and I cannot wait until he has a food blog one day to air these injustices, too.

broccoli, cheddar and wild rice casserole
broccoli, cheddar and wild rice casserole

Talk to me: What foods did you envy at friends houses that you were denied at your own? And what do you think my son’s food blog will be called? (I vote for “My Mother Was a Terrible Cook!” which is my favorite line from Big Night.)

Three years ago: The Best Baked Spinach
Four years ago: Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze and Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Five years ago: Devil’s Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks
Six years ago: Homemade Devil Dog or Hostess Cake
Seven years ago: Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes + Red Lentils with Cabbage

Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole

Serves 4 as a generous side

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 large onion, diced
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice blend, rinsed
1 pound broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder or 1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
8 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice to onion and cook for 1 minute, then add 1 1/3 cups water and a few pinches of salt. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest temperature and cook with the lid on for about 50 minutes (or whatever amount of time is suggested on your package of rice). If you’d like a rice cooker to do this for you, transfer onions, water and rice to the machine and set the machine.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel broccoli stems and dice them into large chunks. Cut florets into 1-inch pieces. Cook in boiling, well-salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.

You can use this same pan to make the cheese sauce. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the mustard powder (if using), a pinch of cayenne and garlic and let sizzle for 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until combined, cooking the butter-flour mixture for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in milk, whisking constantly, then broth. Bring to a simmer and cook mixture at a simmer, stirring the whole time, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in smooth Dijon mustard if you didn’t use mustard powder.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1/3 of grated cheese until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Combine cooked wild rice blend and broccoli in a 2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch oven-safe skillet. Pour cheese sauce over and gently nudge to ensure all pieces get some sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake casserole for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, then run mixture under the broiler until cheese is toasty on top.

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631 comments on broccoli, cheddar and wild rice casserole

  1. Elizabeth

    Looks delicious! Reminds me of amateur gourmet’s broccoli rice casserole where you make your own cream of mushroom soup. Love that your recipe uses wild rice.

    1. Adriana

      My Dad was one of the top chefs in Dallas during the 1950’s and 60’s, so there were a lot of, what my Dad referred to as disgusting, foods we were denied. During summer vacation from school I loved being invited to my friends house for lunch, where sliced store bought white bread, mayonnaise, yellow mustard, boloney (an absolute no no in our house, according to my Dad it was made from left over animal parts such as guts) and tomato sandwiches with very sweet pickles were served. I thought that was the most delicious thing I ever ate. At eight years of age the forbidden boloney was like ambrosia.

  2. Amy

    Food I was denied? Spaghetti with actual meat BALLS. My mom always just sauteed ground beef and then dumped in a jar of sauce, rather than forming actual meat balls. I WANTED BALLS.


    FYI, if anything made with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup is on your denied list, let me assure you that it’s not worth testing. Awful stuff, especially when at least half of your childhood meals contain it in some manner.

  3. Tracy Fitz

    My mom was the lunch lady when I was in school and broccoli rice casserole was one recipe she brought home with her. It was cream-of-something soup, instant rice, frozen broccoli and copious amounts of Velveeta baked together until it was a textureless mess. It tasted okay but I suspected it could be better and as an adult I have recreated this dish using “proper” ingredients. Only recently have I started eating wild rice and I’ll bet this casserole is fantastic with wild instead of white rice. I especially love the crispy top crust and edges, my favorite part of most casseroles!

  4. Oh yes! I was not familiar with baking broccoli with cheese until I reached my early 20s. However the first time I did try it, I was instantly addicted too even though it was horribly burnt and crawling. It was such a new experience.

    I am loving the use of wild rice here. Would other types of rice like black work here too?

    1. deb

      Other grains — I think would work just fine here. Just cook them the same way (with the sauteed onion). You’re looking for 2 cups when you’re done.

      Belinda — I think so. Black rice is one of the types in a wild rice blend.

  5. Ann

    Oh that looks fantastic! I thought perhaps I could use the big bag of frozen broccoli and the arborio rice I have in my pantry… what adjustments would you make to accommodate those changes?

  6. 1. my son is in the same camp, no food shall ever touch and once it does, it’s DEAD to him. sigh, toddlers!
    2. i love broccoli cheese casserole. my best friend’s mom made it when we were kids probably with the traditional can of broccoli cheese soup. i love that you used wild rice, excited to try it! how do you think it would work with another grain, like quinoa?
    3. just for fun:

  7. Anne

    This looks wonderful….I am thinking maybe gruyere cheese instead of cheddar….what do you think? I will also have to double this because of all my kiddos….six! With two teenaged boys who can eat and never get full or gain any weight…..

  8. Jill

    Looks perfect – I grew up on the good ‘ol broccoli casserole – can of soup, mayo, broc, cheese and ritz on top! Loved it then but my tastes are more, ahem, mature nowadays. This seems like it could easily be a main dish. Will definitely try ASAP – kids and all. One thing I was “deprived” of growing up – lasagna. Weird? And I hate making it to this day – so maybe she did too.

  9. RebeccaL

    I was always denied Kraft Mac and Cheese. Once I got older and was able to babysit I always made it for dinner for the kids I was watching!

  10. amy

    I was denied Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and anything from Chef Boyardee. My neighbors always had this stuff and I was so jealous. My mom made homemade mac and cheese and could not understand why I was envious of the boxed variety. Sorry Mom, I get it now!

  11. joey

    I love your blog! It’s literally my go-to anytime I want to get creative with meals. The way you write makes me feel like we’re two girlfriends sitting in a coffee shop shooting the breeze. Thank you, thank you thank you!

    I’m going to try this on Meatless Friday (this Friday)….but I have a slight sensitivity to whole milk…Can I replace with anything? Or at least low-fat? I know this sounds gross but i’ve actually made mac and cheese with almond milk and it’s actually worked out! So…suffice it to say, I’m willing to explore if you give a good direction :).


  12. Jenny C

    Oh, Deb. This looks fantastic. I can’t wait to make it. Made the Sweet Peas and Shells Alfredo last night and loved it–so did my twins! I’m just wondering where to find wild rice that isn’t in the boxed packages…

  13. ollie

    we never got proper sheet cake frosted deliciousness for our birthdays. usually our mom made us a marble pound cake and stuck a real, full size candle in the middle. of course in memory it is much sweeter than at the time. i also always wanted hamburger helper and in fact my mom once caved and made it and we all agreed it was disgusting. however, i loved velveeta and wonder if you have a recipe for a non-baked, creamy mac n cheese?

    1. deb

      Barely related — Does anyone remember the Eddie Murphy bit about wanting McDonalds but getting a homemade hamburger? Because it will never not be funny.

      ollie — I do and don’t. I have this recipe for stovetop mac but do finish it in the oven. You don’t have to, however.

      joey — Low-fat milk would probably be fine. Skim isn’t ideal but it can’t hurt to find out if it’s all you have around. The worst thing that will happen is that the sauce won’t get as thick.

      1. Tammy

        ‘We got McDonalds….’ – man that hilarious! I still say it as I make my own homemade patties, and chunks of onion fall out lol

  14. Lucy

    I grew up with broccoli casserole and we still eat it every year at Thanksgiving. There would be mutiny if it was not on the table. Our recipe comes from a Charlotte, NC Junior League cookbook and uses mayonnaise, eggs and cheese as the base and it’s delicious!

    I used to long for any sandwich on white bread (we only had whole wheat) and tater tots!

  15. I was raised by a vegetarian health nut (as my sister and I called my mom) and we never got to eat ramen noodles growing up so I didn’t discover them until college. I think I was making up for lost time and ate only ramen noodles for about two weeks straight. I thought they were the greatest things ever and my friends, who grew up on them, thought I was crazy. I still enjoy a bowl of ramen about once a year, but I can now see why it was not a staple food in our house growing up!

  16. Deanna

    My mom refused by by sugary cereals. The only ones we had were Cheerios and Rice Crispy treats. However, if she happened to have made oatmeal cookies we could have those for breakfast (since she knew exactly what was in them, and she was hiding vegetables long before a certain Seinfeld) as long as we also had a piece of fruit or a glass of milk.

    My grandma used to make broccoli cheese casserole, and I think the actual ingredient list was 1 can cheez-whiz, 1 bad frozen chopped onions, 2 bags frozen broccoli. Needless to say, this version is far more appealing…especially since broccoli cheddar wild rice casserole + fried egg + hot sauce = dinner.

  17. Renee

    Yum! I love this casserole, and thank you for a version that does not include canned mushroom soup.
    But more importantly…thank you for the reference to Big Night. My favourite movie of all time. None of my friends have heard of it and it has been impossible to find copies in Canada. Now I have evidence that it is not just a figment of my imagination! But $100 (really!!??) for a copy? sigh.

  18. Your first picture is the kind that literally makes a person want to drop everything and run to the store, buy the ingredients and whip this up…even if it is 9 a.m.! But seriously, this is getting made. Maybe not this morning, but in the next day or two. It sounds absolutely delightful.

  19. ads

    Not only were we refused sugary cereals, but we were not allowed to spoon sugar onto our non-sugared cereals (the neighbors downstairs had a bowl of sugar they could pour over corn flakes, etc). We also could not get ice cream from the ice cream man, when he came we’d have to go inside n mom would scoop us ice cream cones :(

  20. We weren’t allowed to have soda unless it was a special occasion,no sugary cereals, and my Mom didn’t make hamburger helper or Shake-N-Bake and only rarely used frozen chicken nuggets or fish sticks.So, basically, in the eyes of a kid, no fun food ;) But, oddly, we were allowed to have boxed mac and cheese!

  21. ads

    We also didn’t have any casseroles (unless you count things like lasagne, baked ziti, etc.) But i’ve never had the string bean casserole that I guess the rest of America eats for Thanksgiving. I was 27 the first time I had grits.

    1. Sara Grace Cast

      Hi ! The recipe calls for 2/3 cup of stock that is never mentioned in the recipe, unless I missed it reading poorly on mobile?

  22. jen

    My mother can’t boil water. Literally. True story when I was sixteen we built a new house (with non-stop construction nightmares) I came home from school one day and my mother said, “I tried to boil water for tea today and none of the burners work, I don’t know how to tell your father.” To which I replied “did you push the knob in as you turned it….?”

    Food that I was denied as a child? Fresh, homemade. Most of my dinners were served in a four compartment metal tray. Her idea of cooking was this nightmare that consisted of, wait for it, a banana, a handful of grapes, a tablespoon of peanut butter and a tablespoon of Mayo. Shudder. She also called Veg-All and mayonnaise a salad.

    Don’t envy the other side. Some of us were in food hell.

  23. Anna

    Every time you describe how you ate growing up its like an echo of my own food upbringing, although we were allowed the occasional lucky charms at least. So you are totally not the only person who never had broccoli cheese casserole.

    What did you serve this casserole with, or was it a main dish? It reminds me a little of the wild rice casserole from your book, but that was definitely a side, this one looks like I might be able to get away with serving it on its own though…

  24. It always makes me so happy that you have the same feelings toward “traditional”-ish dishes as I do… casseroles & pasta bakes were always so gloppy and not my thing, and your updates to them are spot-on. This is why they pay you the big bucks!! :)

  25. Katherine

    I am weeping over here. My husband HAAAAATES cheese on his broccoli because his mom always smothered mushy overcooked veggies in velveeta. Sigh. Maybe for a potluck or something.

  26. I don’t think we ever had broccoli in casserole form, but there were definitely some occasions of boiled broccoli with simple cheese sauce. It was actual roux-based sauce, though, so that’s actually a pretty good food memory, albeit with overcooked broccoli. Anyway. This casserole sounds wonderful! You can take the girl out of the midwest, etc. I love the idea of adding wild rice–so good.

  27. Pat S

    I might try this. NOT a big veggie lover but I try. My mother cooked every vegetable to death. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered there were other ways but I still have trouble. Once a green vegetable turns that sick army green it is dead to me, no matter how much stuff you glop on top of it.

  28. PlumGaga

    My dad loathed mayonnaise and it was never available at our house. As an extension of this, he disliked cream sauces (they LOOKED somewhat like mayo) and mother rarely made anything involving them.

  29. Melissa Anderson

    Yum! Going to try this for my gluten free husband and son. Will use cornstarch in place of the flour – will that work? My family’s broccoli chicken casserole was made with mayo, cream of chicken soup, lemon juice and curry. Yum! Will also substitute curry for the mustard in your recipe. Will let you know how it turned out!

    I used to trade my mother’s homemade chocolate chip cookies for Oreo’s. Go figure!

  30. Erin

    No spaghetti or angel hair pasta – my dad (who is an Italian New Yorker!) thought it looked like worms. Must have been some childhood incident. He also never let us eat mac and cheese, because “grandpa would be rolling in his grave over that.”

  31. Adrianna

    This looks delish! More casseroles! More more more! The only one my mom ever made growing up was halibut casserole with Velveeta and I LOVED it (although I’d probably think it was a terrible abuse of delicious halibut now). But I eagerly gobbled casseroles–including various versions of this one–at my friends’ houses. I seem to remember it also often featuring a not-enough-to-feed-everyone-unless-it’s-in-a-casserole quantity of chicken.

  32. Kadee B

    We pretty much never got to have sugary cereals, but my wonderful father, who worked at home, would fix us breakfast every morning he was not away on a business trip. I was a pancake fiend and those featured prominently, as he would make a large batch one morning and then we would eat them for the next few days. He would also make oatmeal, or eggs, and mostly turkey bacon, but sometimes we got the real stuff. But my aunt and uncle ran a store, so all the cereal which was past date, but perfectly good, went up the hill to their house. Oh boy, was visiting them a treat! Both Dad and Mom cooked dinner, and I remembered there were plenty of meals with casserole type things with cream of something soup, but as the vegetarian, I never ate them. I still have an aversion to them, but this is such a fresh un-casserole casserole, that I’m drooling over it at work!

  33. Catherine

    It sounds like you and I had very similar childhoods! No sugary cereals (the sweetest allowed was Honey Nut Cheerios), no frozen snacks you then bake (except Toaster Strudels, weirdly enough), no pre-made chips, cookies, snack cakes, soda… I think I didn’t know what Hamburger Helper was until I was in my early teens. The only time my sister and I could have the forbidden sugary, mass-produced, pre-packaged, frozen, etc. contraband was the one time of year we visited our grandparents in Ohio. Oddly, I never really harbored and still do not harbor much longing or contempt for not having these things. Except when I was the only kid in my kindergarten class without those gushers things…. thanks, Mom….

  34. Oh this looks great! We were never allowed the seriously sugary cereal either. Or pancakes on any day other than Shrove Tuesday. God, growing up was tough. This looks AMAZING by the way- I’ve never even heard of something like this, so you aren’t alone!

  35. Mira

    I wonder how this would taste with romenesco instead of broccoli. I have a head full of florets in the fridge. (used the stem in a stir fry). Any ideas internet?

  36. Heidi

    Ollie – melt 2T butter in a saucepan. Add 2T flour and mix well. Cook for a minute or two, then add a cup of milk. Bring to a simmer and add 1/2-1 cup shredded or cubed cheese, and stir until melted. Pour over cooked macaroni. We were denied boxed mac and cheese, AND Velveeta – this is the creamy version we grew up with!

  37. Lisa C

    My broccoli cheese rice dish has a dash of cider vinegar and leftover turkey. My mother was and is a terrible cook. A delicious homemade meal usually elicits comments to the effect that she can buy “almost the same thing” frozen from Fareway.

  38. Sarah

    Some spicy pork sausage would be totally not out-of-place here, right? Just throw the cooked sausage in with the rest of the cooked ingredients to be broiled?

    1. deb

      Sarah — I’m sure it would be delicious.

      Mira — I’m sure Romanesco or cauliflower would work here well too.

      kristen — I think asparagus would be fine too. Only par-boil it for a minute, two tops.

      Anna — It could totally be a main dish, with or without an egg on top, but I roasted some sweet Italian-style chicken sausages with it. I do things like this because I never know when my son is only going to eat half a meal, or which half it will be so I end up putting more things out for family meals to cover … whims. It definitely has a lot in common with the book version. That one uses less cheese, a good helping of caramelized onions, a breadcrumb-butter lid and no milk, just broth poured over (not a thickened sauce). And it makes a monstrous amount!

      Renee — There are a bunch of used copies for sale for about $23 on Amazon, but you’d have to pay for Canada shipping I suppose. Or you can just stream it!

  39. Nicole B.

    As a kid I wasn’t the biggest fan of broccoli, unless it was raw and drenched in salad dressing, and even then I would only eat the “leaves” and left the “trunk” behind. So you can imagine my horror when, at a friends house for dinner, I was served a large stalk of steamed broccoli…and that’s it! No cheese sauce and no dog to sneak it to under the table.

    Nowadays I actually really enjoy broccoli. I’ve got a few stalks in the fridge with other plans, but they might just go into this instead.

  40. Caroline

    I always envied my friend, Anna, whose mother made Irish Soda Bread in a cast iron pan. It was beyond delicious. So simple. Perfect with tea and butter. Thanks for the recipe in this post. I love comfort classics that are “updated” in some way. The wild rice will be delicious!

  41. Ada

    Things I wasn’t allowed to eat growing up? Just about anything processed. Of course exceptions were made for birthdays and sleep overs and whatnot but yeah, as soon as I moved out, I stocked up on Pillsbury cinnamon buns. And then promptly grew bored of them in a week. My mum claims I cook better than she does, and I now abhor processed food, so I don’t really have regrets.

  42. Angela R

    Ahh 4 year olds. They are so hard to pin point aren’t they. I don’t understand why foods turn disgusting when mixed together. My own 4yr old refused to eat stroganoff last night. I mean really it is ground beef and noodles, things she both likes. Good Luck!

  43. I don’t think I was denied anything enviable as a child… now, as an adult, I wish I was. LOL Eating healthier wouldn’t have been a bad thing.

    My vote for your son’s blog is “Unsmitten Son.” :)

  44. I make this as a treat every once in awhile, almost exactly like this! I either use farro or brown rice for the grain, I sauté mushrooms with the onions till they’re brown and nutty, and I add a healthy sprinkling of smoked paprika. YUM. Comfort food at it’s best.

  45. My grandmother made the very best broccoli cheese casserole. It was cheese (I think American, gasp!), broccoli, croutons, and I’m assuming a large amount of butter and cream. But it was so good – I will always have fond memories of eating it, and zero amount of guilt for having consumed far too many helpings.

  46. Twinkies, and Ding-Dongs, and Pop-Tarts, and that awful cheese in a can stuff… (pretty much substitute your mother’s list, with the exception of the sugary cereals, we got those on weekends).

    No broccoli casserole at our house, but a turkey tetrazzini based on cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti that evokes similar horrors was a frequent player in the rotation. *shudder*

    Now this dish on the other hand looks spectacular!

  47. Nutella. Oh, how I lusted after Nutella. One of my best friends had very lenient parents and when I used to stay over at her house, we would be allowed Nutella on white bread for breakfast. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.

  48. I wasn’t denied much, but things like candies and sugary cereals were limited. Street food in Mexico (we lived very close to the South Texas border) was off the menu entirely, which seems ridiculously cautious when you are a child and you just want some roasted corn on the cob slathered in crema, chile and cojita cheese!

  49. Sarah

    I’m the processed food denying mom, it almost broke my heart when my 9 yr old son’s birthday dinner request was Kraft Mac N Cheese. Sigh.

  50. Sugarmama

    have you tried adding chicken to this? it would seem easy enough – just curious if you have and have any suggestions.

  51. C Rios

    I wasn’t allowed to eat pork products or shrimp, lobster, crab, catfish… Anything that could be construed as Biblically “unclean”. As a result, I now eat waaaay too much bacon. Did you know that it’s delicious broiled with brown sugar and pepper on top? In addition, I dislike most shellfish. I have recently discovered that sushi and rare steak/beef tartar are AH-MAZ-ING… Despite my mum refusing to eat or feed us raw meat of any kind.

    Anyway, I can’t stand broccoli… Any time I eat even the tiniest bite I end up with severe intestinal discomfort for HOURS after. If you had to pick a substitute vegetable, what would it be?

  52. Arlyne

    Junk food/processed food not allowed in our house. Dad had a garden of at least 1 acre and his children (slaves) spent the summer weeding/watering the garden. I learned to can/freeze with my mother. Now that I’m 57, those canning days are some of the best memories. When I left home I swore that no garden would ever infringe on my life. Guess who has a garden now? NOT an acre, but a small patio garden where I grow fresh tomatoes, my own herbs, and cucumbers. I attempted carrots and beets the last two years and the damn rabbits ate everything. (I’m collecting rabbit recipes now.)

    My dad bought wheat from my uncle who farmed and ground it himself. Mom made all our bread and baked goods. I learned how to bake bread for the family when I was 11. Now, my dad grinds wheat for me.

    Potato chips were a RARE treat in our house. Mom doled them out by the chip. I tease her now that the first time I tasted chips outside the house, I thought something was wrong with them as they were crispy and yummy tasting. Mom made a bag of chips last weeks/weeks past the expiration date and we grew up on stale chips…lol.

  53. Isabel

    I also didn’t get to have sugary cereals (other than shreddies if that counts) and also Kraft Dinner. Oh, and meat! We were raised pescatarian and i had my first chicken nugget when i was 12. Never looked back.

  54. Shelly Ann

    ooohhhh i squealed when i saw this recipe – a new take on a favorite. Fresh broccoli is now on this week’s shopping list. i love my grandma “Bankie’s” recipe which involves a red-and-white can of cream of something, LOTS of broccoli (frozen), a sinful amount of full-fat mayo . . . topped with buttered butter crackers. Won’t be tossing that recipe – once in a while is fine.

    My mum and both grams’ were good cooks in their own rights — different, but nobody would ever be nominated a worse cook. My mum, on a pretty small budget and working, combined fresh and convenience. TV dinners were special treat (?), when my parents were going out for the evening (usually bridge at a neighbors) — special not because of the quality of the food, but because each of us three got “exactly” what we wanted and a little exotic (line the Chinese tray with an egg rollw).

  55. Mary

    I grew up on many of the things you were denied – the Hamburger Helper, the Kraft Mac and Cheese, the Rice A Roni, and yes, the Cheez Whiz (also, the cheese that came in the weird aerosol can – EZ Cheez?). So of course what I REALLY wanted was something homemade! My friends’ moms loved having me over for dinner because I gushed over homemade lasagna and fresh (not canned!) green beans.

  56. Oh man. We were denied what seemed like everything. We couldn’t have sugary cereals (I sooo wanted Lucky Charms and was bitterly disappointed when I finally tried them at a friend’s house), we had orange juice and club soda instead of any of the delicious popular brands, we had whole wheat bread and natural peanut butter instead of white bread and Jif/Skippy/Peter Pan. And my mom didn’t cook with salt!

    I respect what my parents were trying to (except for the salt thing), but I still have a soft spot for white toast, no matter how devoid of nutritional value it is.

  57. Delaney

    I used to steal Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies and fudge rounds from friends’ houses in the middle of sleepover nights. My dad received a box of Captain Crunch for his birthday every year and had to hide it so it wouldn’t be pilfered. M&Ms were only for potty-training. 7up was also hidden and used for tummy-aches only.

  58. Sarah U

    My BFF’s mom made the BEST beef strogranoff with egg noodles when we were kids. I always wanted my mom (who is a very good home cook) to make it, but she never did. However, my husband bought me a cookbook a few years ago with a CrockPot beef stronganoff recipe in it that’s completely anti-cooking – a package of this, a can of that, a swirl of sour cream at the end – but it’s ridiculously delicious and one of my favorite comfort meals…making this story have a happy ending :)

  59. Sarah U

    Oh, AND my mom’s broccoli and cheese casserole was my absolute favorite dish growing up – I requested it on my birthday and Thanksgiving and every other meal in-between.

  60. Funnily enough we were denied instant noodles and any form of cold water, both being deemed bad for you. I grew up craving instant noodles and cherishing ice, cold water whenever I could get it outside the house.

    Fast forward 20 years or so and I can barely stomach instant noodles. The irony. I guess the saying goes true, you want what you can’t have.

    Casserole looks great by the way!

  61. Elly

    I agree with Mary above – I grew up on the convenience foods that have driven me to homemade cooking these days (or at least, processed foods with a wee bit more discretion). I did long for not-off-brand Doritos as a pre-teen/teenager, though.

  62. Coco Pops – we were repeatedy refused them but I wanted them SO BAD. When I finally tried them, it was a pretty big disappointment. The other one was Christmas – being Jewish we didn’t celebrate it but my brothers and I desperately wanted a tree and presents and a turkey! This casserole looks great – anything with wild rice and I’m converted.

  63. Allie B.

    This looks great. We, too, were deprived of delights like this, although a few times we had the much beloved tuna-noodle casserole. I was at college before I ever even had peanut butter (parents from Europe don’t ‘get’ peanut butter). Or graham crackers. Or graham crackers with peanut butter. We’re making up for lost time now.

  64. Katie

    I can’t believe I’m complaining about this but I was jealous of other families that bought frozen, pre-packaged food. My dad is the cook in my family and he was always making baked chicken with roasted veggies, or homemade marinara and spaghetti. The only stuff that was in the freezer were fish sticks and pot-stickers, which were eaten rarely. To this day I’ll wander around the freezer section completely mesmerized by all the stuff you can get. Frozen pretzel dogs?! Frozen pies!? What what!

    Same goes with sugary cereal and it is a constant battle in my adult life. We always had Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, and really healthy cereals growing up. Now when I’m at the grocery store I stand in the cereal aisle completely torn on whether I should buy the Raisin Bran (I don’t even like raisins) or what I really want, Golden Grahams, Capt. Crunch, and Lucky Charms. Sigh.

  65. Melinda

    Huh…well, with each passing year I appreciate my Mom a little more and this entry made me realize another reason she was a pretty great parent: there was no food denial in our house. Certainly I couldn’t stuff myself with Oreos or eat Lucky Charms until I puked, but nothing was off limits or not purchased on purpose. Which now makes me wonder how Cheerios came to be my favorite food as a kid…

  66. Liz

    Poptarts. I remember when they were brand new and being advertised. Now I can’t stand them except your home made variety. I also remember begging to go to McDonalds. I did not eat at one until I was in my 20’s and my future SIL’s would not eat anywhere else. That food was really awful. Because I was grateful later that my parents did not give in, I did the same with my kids and they all return to good food when they figure out how bad they feel on junk.
    I am going to make this recipe for dinner using Kale because I have it on hand.

  67. Nance

    And let’s not forget Molly Katz’s “Enchanted Broccoli Forest”. Mine turned out totally disenchanting! I still love the name however.

  68. Kinsey09

    Apparently, we had the same mother, Deb. We NEVER got the cool popcorn!

    In retaliation, we returned from friend’s houses raving about a dish we refused to eat at home (like split pea soup). Of course, today, one of the best things I make is my mother’s split pea soup.

    How lucky we were. Thanks for the memories.

  69. Susan

    I could go on and on here. Short version: My Mom cooked from Joy of Cooking and all my friends got to eat prepared foods. My first taste of this type of casserole was from my MILaw, I was in my 30’s. All her casseroles called for Cream of something soup. I thought they were too salty but otherwise not terrible. I am having problems typing on your site..reason for short version. Big pauses after striking a key before it prints

  70. Karen

    I longed for store-bought jam on my pb&j sandwiches, and white bread too. And maybe honey instead of jam sometimes. We were financially strapped, so Mom saved money by making her own jam. Ironically, it didn’t take too long once I was on my own to realize that store-bought jam doesn’t taste at all like the fruit is claims to come from. I haven’t bought a jar in over a decade! And the only white bread I ever eat is the occasional loaf of sourdough.

  71. Lenora

    My mom was Italian and a wonderful cook, but even though i grew up in the south, she was from the north, so i never got rice and gravy or iced tea. I didn’t like breakfast foods, so no longings for sugary cereals. But…I do remember the family of six kids across the street whose mother’s idea of spaghetti (to my mother’s horror) was campbell’s tomato soup poured over pasta.

    Deb I love reading about your little boy and have made several of your recipes. I look forward to every new post from you!

  72. Melinda

    Ahh- going after my Minnesota heart- thank you! I’ve been blessed with getting my rice from local folks, but this fall I’ll be trying the harvest via canoe myself. I’m in the heart of wild rice country (Bemidji, MN) and will be preparing this recipe soon as I get some broccoli. Cheers!

  73. Helene

    When we were kids my brother came home from a sleepover just RAVING about Mrs. So-and-so’s scrambled eggs. He would not stop so of course my mother asked her for her recipe, tips, secrets, whatever. Powdered eggs from a box! Ugh! Kids are hilarious.

  74. Michelle G.

    I remember being at a friends house when I was 16. She was making lunch and found out I had never had spaghetti o’s. She was shocked and made a can. I took one bite and immediately started singing praises to my parents for never letting that crap into our house. We had veggies at every meal and we ate short grain rice and sharp cheddar. I found out the rice and the not mild cheese were strange when I got married.

  75. We ate a gamut of foods when we were growing up. But mostly was a pretty basic rotation of crowd-pleasing meals–tacos, spaghetti, chicken, etc. I think one of the things this has inspired in me is experimenting more with recipes and foods. One of the main reasons I love your blog :)

  76. Olivia

    my 5 year-old is currently on a campaign for veggie chips [the fried, pastel ones- not real, baked veggie slices]. I avoid laboratory ingredients, but she’s tried these at school and has generally good taste [can’t abide those Trader Joe’s pea-pod-resembling fried things, BUT thinks movie popcorn is better than the stuff her dad makes with raw butter] and shutting her down entirely will only amp up her desire. I remember by mom doing ‘consumer reports’ with us on some grocery trips. maybe once a month my brother and I could pick something new we were curious about- within parameters, like sugar couldn’t be one of the first three ingredients- and we’d all try it and discuss it. it was fun and totally ruined the mystery these franken-foods had going for them.

  77. christine

    I know just what you mean – I NEVER had many of the things my friends had – sugary cereal? Kool-Aid? Hawaiian Punch? Twinkies? Never… Interestingly though, neither have my kids :-) I should go and thank my mom!

  78. Victoria

    Believe it or not I was denied cookies that weren’t homemade, except for vanilla wafers–they were for the banana cream pies my mother made. We were the only ones on the block to eat “real” mushrooms coated in cracker crumbs and deep fried, Chinese food, and beautiful lamb chops on the grill. Now, one of my brother’s a professional chef and I read about 10 food blogs every day, including this one!

  79. Brittany W

    I always wanted Hi-C and sugar-filled cereals (not at the same time). You would not believe how hard I had to talk my mom into buying Kix. The first thing I bought as an “adult” was a huge bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which was good, but I think I only ate it as dessert. I think that was also the only time I bought it…..

  80. Susan B.

    I could eat a big bowl of this right now! Nothing like good comfort food, especially (for me) when it involves cheese sauce and broccoli! Can’t wait to try this.

  81. EmilyG

    We weren’t allowed to have sugary cereals – I remember being allowed a bowl of Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms on vacation was a huge deal. Also absolutely no fast food except when my sister starting losing weight from too much sports practice, and then my mom tried to fatten her up with McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and Ensure ;).

  82. I wanted canned ravioli so much! My mom was so cruel to deny me that luxury! One of the first things I started buying myself in college was cans of ravioli. I didn’t like it.

    She also denied us all sorts of sweet treats that came individually wrapped in plastic, forcing us to eat homemade cookies instead. I got even with her in high school, where I found that Little Debbie and Hostess could become a major food group without her ever knowing. I recently bought my kids some Twinkies however, and they rejected them outright. I guess they’re smarter than I was.

  83. Peg

    Great post Deb and I can’t wait to try this. We also were not allowed the “good” stuff but occasionally would get to go to A&W for burgers and root beer when Dad was traveling. Funny thing is, I always requested liver and onions when I came home from college. Don’t get to eat that now because Hubs was forced to eat overcooked liver and lima beans as a child. Thanks also for reminding me of Big Night…have to see that again soon. Love it!!

  84. Kate

    Obligatory stupid question:

    I’m not crazy about wild rice. Could I substitute white rice in the recipe and still have it turn out well?

  85. Peggy

    All those things you mentioned at the beginning of your post? We had them ALL. Both my parents worked and were immigrants, so Shake-and-Bake et al. was how I got to have American food at home. But we never had this broccoli dish, which I’d never even heard of until now. I was never allowed candy except at Halloween, and even then my mother would first inspect the entire contents of my loot bag before she passed it, much diminished, onto me.

  86. Courtney

    My childhood was similar, but there were occasional preservative and chemical-laden treats that were thrilling! My family has a broccoli-cheese casserole dish that is both delicious and filled with all manner of artificial things and things that give you heart attacks. Get ready: frozen chopped broccoli (blanched), VELVEETA (yes, you read that right), and buttered Ritz crackers for a topping (no, apparently they are not buttery enough without more a stick of butter). So.freaking.delicious. It is on our Thanksgiving menu every year. I’ve even converted my husband and in-laws. But it’s pretty much the only time of year I’ll let myself eat it!

  87. J.B.

    I never once had macaroni and cheese until I was in college. Never. Didn’t know it was ubiquitous in the lives of all other children. The closest my mother (a very adventurous cook of exotic foods and avoider of almost all things pedestrian) came was “baked macaroni,” a casserole of macaroni, canned tomato puree, and shredded cheddar cheese, topped with crushed saltines. It’s quite wonderful, and quite pedestrian and “convenient,” but it’s NOT mac and cheese.

  88. Katy

    Ahh, no sugary cereals, no processed food of any sort, no ready meals, no fast food, only brown bread and wholemeal flour, and no sweets. I also only got one birthday cake in my entire life – I’m not sure if it’s because my mum hasn’t got a sweet tooth, so couldn’t care less, or if she was being particularly frugal, as my dad’s birthday fruitcake from 3 weeks before was usually down to the last few slices and ‘that would do’. Because of my mum’s lack of sweet tooth, I’d also sadly watch every single box of chocolates that we were ever given by dinner guests handed into raffles.

    My mum made everything from scratch, and nothing that was traditionally British except the Sunday roast (because as a child she knew exactly what was for dinner by what day of the week it was and her dad didn’t like ‘any of that foreign muck’), so we got stir fries, pastas, curries and more.

    Then I spent a year as a high school exchange student in Canada and by the end of the year was crying out for my mum’s cooking, given that our standard fair consisted of Kraft dinner with chicken wieners and tomato ketchup mixed in, or KFC, or some with Campbells soup as a base, or this horrible fried sausage swimming in grease.

  89. anne

    My mother was the queen of cans and frozen dinners. She was the worst cook alive. I didn’t even eat really good food until my boyfriends started taking my skinny ass out to dinner. A whole new world.

    This looks miles better than the traditional broc and cheese casserole we all learned to make in home ec. I might actually like this one!

    You da bomb.

  90. My favorite childhood friend’s mother’s food was whole wheat bread toasted with cream cheese and green olives.

    I loved it! Sometimes I make it now when I need a nostalgia fix…

    This recipe looks like the perfect thing for dinner tonight – thanks!

  91. Mia

    Love! We were mostly denied candy (fruit roll-ups, fruit-by-the-foot) and the ramen cup of soup (which was my all-time FAVORITE!). Always fun to recreate ramen now as an adult!

  92. My mother was a nurse and health food enthusiast. I never got to drink Kool-Aid or chew bubble gum. But I never had any cavities growing up. Another suggestion for your son’s food blog – “Throw it in the Trash.” That’s my three-year-old’s not-so-gentle way of telling me he doesn’t like something.

    1. deb

      These comments are so much fun.

      Lisa — Omg, my son had totally wailed that mid-tantrum when he was in his 3s. (It really does get better.)

      Kate — Yes.

      Brittany — So funny, Kix were one of the few acceptable cereals in my house. (But they’d much rather we’d eat Raisin Bran — funny, because I find it quite sweet now — or the “house cereal,” Shredded Wheat, not frosted. It’s still my favorite cold.)

      Laurie — No reason to use one; any casserole dish would do. I like how sturdy they are.

      Arlyne — “(I’m collecting rabbit recipes now.)” made me guffaw.

      Sugarmama — I haven’t but suspect you totally could. Ugh, I made the most mediocre chicken tonight. Might need to not think about it for a while. ;) Someone else suggested sausage; I think some broken-up chicken or turkey sausages could be great in here.

  93. I was busy last night making something similar, although I used just white rice and no wild. Like you, I had no memories to go on when making it, so I just put stuff together I thought would taste good.

    We never got to have any good food! No Hostess snacks, no sugary cereal, no soda, no fast food, yet for some reason, my friends always wanted to eat at my house. Maybe it was the homemade pizza.

  94. That is such an interesting question. My mom was a good cook, but willing to try new things and I never recall being denied anything. I did think lunchmeat sandwiches and potato chips were a treat. Also, if we had peanut butter, we also had a thinly sliced onion. If jelly was added, sans the onion, it was then buttered and grilled, like cheese. If you add a marshmallow it’s a fried pie. I had no idea people ate raw pbjs until I grew up.

  95. For some reason, we never actually had real Hamburger Helper. We had all of the other boxed pastas, and my mother made this thing with hamburger that was similar but called for mayonnaise in the sauce (I don’t even), but not the actual Hamburger Helper. Also tuna, because of the dolphins, I think. And Lucky Charms, because of the sugar (only Cheerios, granola, and occasionally Trix were allowed).

    But we DID have broccoli casserole with frozen broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, and cream cheese! Yikes. It was delicious, but I probably couldn’t bring myself to eat it now. I’ll have to try this one, which looks much safer :)

  96. This looks delicious! I’ve never had a broccoli cheese dish with wild rice, but I love wild rice so I’m sold!! As for your question about foods that I only got to eat at friends’ houses – CORNDOGS. Oh man, I loved those as a kid, but I’m pretty sure my mom never bought any. Corndogs and those little packages of dried bread sticks and cheese dip.

  97. My parents, being Chinese immigrants, served white rice with stir-fried vegetables and meat for every meal. Very healthy, but boring. On the occasion when my mom didn’t feel like cooking Asian food, we’d have microwave dinners, Hamburger Helper, mac n’ cheese (called Kraft Dinner in Canada), frozen pot pies, and bologna on white bread spread with mayo (which made me gag even as a kid). What I missed was genuine Western food like homemade lasagna, chili, casseroles of any kind, pasta, and good bread. I guess everyone has something they’re envious of!

  98. My mom used to make chicken broccoli casserole. I hated it- it was always rubbery and soggy. She and my dad both worked full time, and she subscribed to the school of healthy-ish convenience food- lots of chicken breasts and last minute salads and wheat bread. I was always jealous of my friends who got to eat pop tarts for breakfast and cheetoes with lunch.

  99. Kelsey

    I read this at work today and had to make it for dinner. I’m eating seconds as we speak! Thank you, Deb!! My mom always subjected us to the HORRORS of homemade macaroni and cheese growing up, and we always requested the blue box. Thank god I got wiser as well as older :)

  100. I made this tonight and it was fantastic! It reminds me of one of my Mom’s stables…we simply call in Chicken n’ Broccoli. Her’s is a simpler version with just chicken, broccoli, cheese and bread crumbs mixed with cream of chicken or mushroom and sour cream and some chicken broth. Bake it in the oven and it taste like my childhood. My Grandmother made it for her family, it was my family’s meal at least once, if not twice a week (even still!) and now this might be the version that I adopt!

    Also, I was at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta when you came for the book signing. My family and I meet there every Wednesday for family dinner, since all of us children are “grown” and have moved out. We had the best time meeting you at Manuel’s and we hope you have another cookbook and you come back to visit. I can’t wait to tell her all about this recipe tomorrow.

    Thank you!!

  101. Alison

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was exceptional. We added boneless/skinless chicken thighs and mushrooms to the mix. Delicious. :)

  102. OHSue

    Hey, I even like the cream of mushroom soup kind, but this looks wonderful!
    I make Mac and Cheese with my own sauce and my family loves it, I should be ashamed to admit it’s too rich for me and I like Kraft Mac and Cheese. Don’t judge me.

  103. ChloeSophia

    I never met the broccoli cheese casserole until a dreaded Thanksgiving potluck I first attended as an adult. I didn’t like and thought it was way overrated (someone else’s family’s potluck). I may be taking your version to replace it this year!

    If you feel the urge to tackle another chicken casserole, I have the perfect one, which my friend and I have termed: “The So-Called Easy Chicken Casserole.” It has the usual suspects (cream of mushroom soup, butter, and broth) – but the saving grace is the easy (no-roll) buttermilk biscuits on top. We renamed it so-called based on the first direction: which is “bake, cool, debone, and clean one chicken.” That’s certainly not hard, but it is time consuming!

  104. Callie

    Hi Deb!
    I just made this, subbing cauliflower for the broccoli (that’s what I had on hand) and I added a little bit of parmesan to the cheese sauce. . It turned out delicious, and my boyfriend and I loved it! Perfect for this snowy Colorado day.

    Oh, and in response to your question, my mom cooked all sorts of things but both of my parents had a strange distaste for chicken pot pie. Apparently, both of their parents used to feed them nasty frozen ones every time they went out for the night, and they both have traumatizing memories. So, I always ordered it when we ate out.

  105. Agnes

    I love so much your blog but I always run away from the recipes because I hate cups, stiks, spoons… Please could You put it also in metric sistem?

  106. June2

    We never had this growing up but I discovered Molly Katzen’s, Enchanted Broccoli Forest, in college and made that a few times.

  107. everything we ate was from a box or a can. my mother was a horrible cook. case in point: her meatloaf was 2 inches of ground beef (no spices/seasonsings) with an inch of ketchup on top. that was her best meal from scratch!

    I envied the homemade meals my friends got. loathed all the generic cookies, cereal and rice a roni we got.

    as such, I home make everything and I’m certain my daughter will hate me (for a while) for it! ; )

  108. ERC

    Dried sliced salami.
    A girl used to bring a stack of it for school lunch. I always watched her eat while I ate my dry ham sandwich on white bread.

  109. This appeared in my feed on the day I needed some recipe help, and it didn’t disappoint. I was a little worried that the broccoli would be overcooked but it was perfect. And we used 1 percent milk and a combination of gouda and Irish cheddar and it was creamy and delicious. Thanks again Deb!

  110. Kelsey Lane

    I never had butternut squash. After I had it in college, I decided that it was amazing. Of course, that was just plain and baked. The recipes that I make now are incredible. I love a Mark Bittman recipe with millet, squash, and cranberries.

    I have also never had broccoli, cheddar and wild rice casserole, though, so this will be a delicious recipe to try. I am thankful to have it.

  111. Sally

    Stewed tomatoes. From a can. Every week we had them. Neither my sister nor I can stand them to this day–and I’m 72 now.

    Mother didn’t cook much of a variety but I can understand why; my dad was a picky eater most times, though when they visited us for a week after his heart attack he came back for seconds after every meal. I was cooking Plain Vanilla the entire time! But it was different Plain Vanilla.

  112. Linda

    I never ever ate a casserole or anything with noodles of any kind until I moved away from home. Also absolutely nothing fried. The first time someone asked for butter for their rice I was astounded! And I thought white rice was only available at a Chinese restaurant. No white bread either. Brown rice and whole wheat. Only ever skim milk. I still eat all those things to this day, but plenty of junk (unfortunately) food too.

  113. recklace
    TWO references to the same show, WITHIN my faves… in ONE day?

    We were denied the sweet cereal. We visited my aunt in the summer, who had a huge walk-in pantry with (literally) 12-15 boxes of cereal available, including Cookie Crisp. OMG. Compared to our requisite Crispix, Raisin Bran (I still hate raisins) and Cheerios, my brother and I felt like we were at a resort.

    My mother is not a poor cook, but she grew up in the 60s-70s with a pharmacist father with heart disease. To this day, if my mother fries ANYTHING, its done in an electric skillet OUTSIDE: fried okra, chicken fried steak, etc. And you better believe its somebody’s birthday for such an EVENT to take place. I never had a true Bechamel until I made my own in college.

    I have made the Cheez-Whiz version of this for 3 years for in-laws Thanksgiving, per request, simply to FIT IN. THANK YOU for this beautiful opportunity. Cannot wait to try this.

  114. AMC

    I’m eating this right now! Mine seems to have turned out more liquidy than yours, but that’s not a bad thing…it’s gooey and delicious. (It’ll probably thicken up as it cools?) I used a little extra cayenne and it adds a nice kick!
    Now, for seconds…

  115. I really liked this recipe, a good honest and sensible combination of ingredients, nutritious and wholesome, but some of the ” like whoa” comments really get me annoyed. Like, like, like… just stop it.

  116. Joyce

    This is my no-fail, much loved dish when I am wanting an easy supper.
    Any rice I want to use. Cook it properly in the rice cooker using chicken broth instead of water with a tsp/or less, cook it early so its ready when you are.
    mix it up with fresh broccoli trimmed into about quarter to half dollar sizes, and a can of any brand cream of mushroom soup. If you want slice in some real mushrooms. Top with any mozzerella, mexican cheese or eve some chedder. No other goop. Put it in the oven and bake until the cheeze is properly melted and nearly disappeared ( you didn’t over do the cheese did you?) and the broccoli takes a fork well.
    Thats it and don’t feel guilty. Sodium might be high, but you can adjust that too. But none of that fake and bake please. I make a green salad and a pitcher of tea and its done.

  117. When I was young my mom always bought plain yoghurt while my friends all had the strawberry and other fruit sweetened variety. She would let us however put some sugar in our yoghurt but instead of plain granulated sugar, she bought sugar cubes… (I mean really… mom??) So every time I had a sugar cube in my yoghurt I spent ages trying to mince it so it would dissolve somehow. That was an awful task and at the end I decided to eat the yogurt plain so I wouldn’t cringe every time I found a sugar piece in my mouth. Ever since I have not been able to put any sugar on yoghurt on coffee on tea etc… so yes, I get it too now mom… but sugar cubes?

  118. Jen

    I was so candy deprived that as a 3 or 4 year old child, I had to be stopped from eating a Jelly Tot (candy; wikipedia suggests this isn’t widely sold in the US) that was stuck to the side of a bus shelter once, and snuck bits of the crust from the neck of the bottle of grape Dimetapp (I had the fear of poisoning/overdose put in me, so I didn’t try to drink it.)

    I think casseroles like this are probably a very American thing (I’m Canadian) because I’ve never had a broccoli cheese casserole, or a green bean casserole, which I hear so much about. My mom did adopt Chicken Divan, though, but she added curry powder to it. When I was a kid, she did indeed use the mayo and Campbell’s soup shortcut, though now that it has morphed into a meatless broccoli-cauliflower side dish, she makes it with a proper Mornay sauce.

    I also still unabashedly love Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, though I sometimes add things to it like dried herbs and wine.

  119. I’m a child of the 60’s and although mom was a decent cook, there was not shortage of Swanson frozen dinners, Kraft Mac N Cheese, Tang, Jello & Count Chocula cereal. That said, there were a few trendy foods that, for whatever reason, we’re not served ever, including Miracle Whip, Hamburger Helper and Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks.

    As for your sons blog title, how about “A Separate Peas”?

  120. Anne in NC

    Looks delish and I’m gonna try it. LOVED the salad last week and my friend did too! I’ve actually spent my adulthood trying to replicate the things from my childhood made with canned soups and boxed cake mixes. Still have not succeeded recreating Ugly Duckling cake (involves cake mix, coconut, fruit cocktail and lots of eggs and butter). It’s probably for the best as it’s heart attack city. Our memories can often be better than the reality. Title for the blog, “Keep em Separated” named for the song by The Offspring.

  121. Jen

    Ha! Just recognized my mom’s chicken divan in comment #39, Melissa Anderson. Maybe the curry power wasn’t her invention.

  122. Paola

    I don’t remember foods that were denied, but definitely some things very rarely made it into our house: the only one that I really envied some of my friends was Nutella! But then we had things no one else had tasted at that time (and I’m talking the 60’s in Italy) : hummus bi tahini – now simply known as hummus – falafels, small pita breads cooked in a skillet, and the cakes I baked from the age of 8! Halva, and the thing we used to call “tirlacca” – but I don’t know the proper name, a sort of apricot leather that comes form the middle-east…

  123. Colleen

    Spaghetti-o’s were verboten in our house. I thought for years it meant our Mom didn’t love us. I finally tried spaghetti-os in college and realized Mom had been protecting us all these years from mushy pasta in ketchup.She loved us a lot!

  124. You won’t believe the most basic food we were denied in cooked food and that was ONION. My dad didn’t like it, so my mom wouldn’t/couldn’t put it in anything. (She did sneak it into the turkey stuffing at Thanksgiving though). SERIOUSLY, the amazement when I tasted potato salad with onion in it for the first time was almost life-changing. This same father did like Cheez-whiz, so we did have that- which I have never in my life purchased as an adult. Lol.
    For that matter, I never had broccoli until I was a teenager!
    This looks pretty yummy with the wild rice! Might add this to my menu when my son and his wife come to visit.

  125. Jenn

    First of all, your son CANNOY be 4.5 as I clearly remember that cinnamon swirl cowlick on the back of his newborn head photo. I totally remember the Eddie Murray bit, and remember begging my mom for “restaurant hamburgers.” We got hamburgers with bread as the bun. Ugh. I also remember hating bow tie pasta forever because we would have it with stewed tomatoes out of a can which I despised (though it is only 2 steps away from marinara sauce, really) and having to drink powdered milk, which is some kind of terrible. But she was a single mom raising three kids, and now as a parent myself, I’m impressed we actually had dinner on the table at all.

  126. Dahlink

    My cousin, who is an excellent cook, tells me that one day her daughter came home from dinner at a friend’s house RAVING about the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Cuz said, “But I make those things too.” Daughter: “But, Mom, this was GOOD.”

  127. Nicole

    My mom baked and decorated the most beautiful cakes as a business and all I wanted was cake from a box with a can of vanilla frosting! However, I have perpetuated childhood angst in my own kids, who now gift each other on holidays and birthdays with such things as Easy Mac and microwave popcorn since I won’t buy them. But I will say that I got a box of Oatmeal Creme Pies last year with a note that says, “we know you love these” and it made me very, very happy!!

  128. Vickie S.

    What a wonderful post! Even though I haven’t made this recipe yet, I already know I’ll love it; such a great twist! Both my mom and dad were very good cooks and as kids we somehow learned to appreciate that. Having said that, we were allowed to have pop tarts and sugary cereals now and then. I think our diet was fairly balanced. I don’t remember ever eating anything like a “helper” or something that had a “cream of” anything in it. I guess we were lucky! Anywho, thanks for the wonderful recipe and encouraging me to delve into those sweet memories! Love your blog.

  129. Prklypr

    Smitten Son
    Smitten Jr.
    Son of Smitten (OK, maybe that one’s a little creepy)
    Living in the House of Smitten
    Smitten Son also Rises

  130. stephanie

    Smitten Son Also Rises – ha! I make delicious, wonderful, lip smacking good chicken, but my boyfriend used to crave Shake n’ Bake (what his mom made.)

  131. WifeToAnAmazingCook

    Like Mary (#67), I too grew up on many of the things you were denied. I distinctly remember a signature omelet my dad would make – eggs, green pepper, onion and… diced Spam. Yes, I just said Spam. And the pepper and onion in the omelet – always crunchy, never softened. We also regularly ate grilled cheese made with Velveeta or fried bologna sandwiches for lunch. And I was in my 20s before I knew that scalloped potatoes didn’t have to come from a box. Thankfully I married well (i.e., my husband is a foodie and fabulous cook). The thought of most of my childhood foods makes me shutter now — which I’m sure ensures that my children will read Jacob’s blog with complete empathy. :)

    As for the recipe, it’s on the list for this week’s meals. We love the wild rice gratin from your cookbook so much, I’m sure this will be a hit as well. And thanks Deb for your blog; you may not know it, but you are partially responsible for making sure that my grown up meals are made with whole foods and fresh ingredients and taste better than anything out of a box (and usually better than anything I order at a restaurant!).

  132. Vickie S.

    #157, Paola, you mentioned Halvah! When we lived on Long Island and went to the Bronx nearly every Sunday to visit our grandparents, my grandpa would take us to the corner candy store right before the Ed Sullivan show came on. He would buy us some Halvah that would be shared between us four kids. What a memory! I think as a child I probably believed it could only be had from that store. Imagine my shock as an adult when I noticed it nearly everywhere!

  133. Deborah

    My Mom never made us casseroles or TV dinners. On nights that she was really not interested in cooking we got Mrs. Paula’s fish Sticks or Fried Shrimp. Loved it. In college I started making casseroles with cream of mushroom soup and thought they were divine. Now, like most of us, I turn my nose up at anything processed.

    I make a Broccoli and Cheese casserole from those days very similar to this one but I use spaghetti and layer it. I also sauté the broccoli with savory. It gives it a great flavor.

    Love your blog and cookbook.

  134. Melissa B

    We couldn’t have anything except Cheerios and rice crispies as far as cereal goes. We did have Velveeta toasted cheese. The one thing we didn’t have (and I ate endlessly at friends’ homes) was boughten bread! My mom made bread every Saturday, and that is what we ate every day until the next Saturday! Ah, Wonderbread! How I loved that!

  135. Laura Jane

    Deb, I, too, was denied Hamburger Helper, Cheez Whiz, Shake N Bake, and so on. My mom did make use of condensed soups as sauces, though. We were allowed sugary cereals, but only if they were mixed with a non-sugary cereal (e.g. half Cheerios and half Trix/whatever). I don’t remember eating fresh vegetables other than salads and corn in the summer; the rest of the year was frozen stuff (though we always were expected to eat it). I became a pro at taking a spoonful of peas and then smashing a spoonful of my (instant, duh) mashed potatoes over the pea mound so I could down the peas in one bite. I still have issues with peas outside of casseroles. I also don’t recall ever eating a broccoli casserole, but this looks like the way to do it!

  136. Vicki B

    Store bought packaged cookies! Evidently our pediatrician told my mother not to buy but rather bake cookies because they were far healthier and not to give us soda. We were allowed the sparingly occasional A&W root beer float at the drive in complete with car hops. Her homemade cookies were amazing.

  137. buzz d

    wild rice is one of my favorite things–cook it in 2lb batches in the crockpot and freeze in baggies and add to almost everything–Mom loved the advent of all the ‘boxed’ stuff and store bought bread but did teach me to only buy real not cultivated wild rice–there is a monster big difference—and our home version of this recipe used cheez whiz

  138. Kathleen Kennedy

    This recipe looks yummy, Deb, but after making and then devouring the wild rice gratin dish in your cookbook, I don’t feel the need to explore any other rice gratin or casserole. I doubt that even you could top that one!

    Off topic, but a pressing issue right now for me: Your “Maya’s Sweet and Sour Holiday Brisket” is the best thing that ever happened to a hunk of meat! I made it for the second time for a family get together last night, and everyone absolutely loved it. Only a couple of slices are left, and the extra sauce was poured over mashed potatoes and sopped up with dinner rolls. That sauce is to die for, and reminds me of the sauce on the stuffed cabbage I swooned over as a kid at Westrich’s in Rockaway Park. I have made many recipes from your book and every single one has been a smashing success, but the brisket recipe alone would be worth more than the price of the book!

  139. Yet another Anna

    We weren’t denied much, food-wise, but I did grow up never eating Shake-N-Bake. Had some pork chops cooked that way at a friend’s house in middle school, and loved them. My mom was not impressed. She was an excellent cook, but took reasonable shortcuts.
    Poptarts? I still remember how horrified my pre-school teacher was when I said that I’d had Brown Sugar Cinnamon poptarts for breakfast. (‘But surely you also had something ELSE to eat?’)
    Mom had a thing about poached eggs and would insist we eat them when she made them. I don’t mind them at all, but find other breakfast foods much more fun. I have memories of being practically force fed poached eggs on plenty of mornings when logistically it would have made more sense to let us eat something truly quick and easy. (i.e., when we were legitimately pressed for time) Wonder what that was about?

    And yeah, we did get cereals. My favorites? Cap’n Crunch and Quisp.
    Oddly enough, we never ate beets at home, so I learned about those at school (and yeah, our school cafeteria had truly EXCELLENT food, not kidding).

    Casseroles? Yeah, we had them, no big deal. I do remember my ex-stepmother used to make a tuna casserole with potato chips in it. Shudder. (And SHE wouldn’t cook a decent fried pork chop. Insisted on serving them with a disgusting brown gravy, peppers and onions. Bleah.)

    1. deb

      Servings — Oops, forgot to add. I’d say 4 as a generous side dish.

      Jenn — “…and now as a parent myself, I’m impressed we actually had dinner on the table at all.” — I think this almost every night of the week! And cooking is, like, my job.

      Pietila — Yes, something with a sharp flavor that would melt fairly well. (A gruyere or Swiss-like cheese would be good too.)

      Caitlin M — Thank you! That was such a fun event. Apparently, you just need to put me in a bar wearing blue jeans for me to finally feel in my element.

      Helen — I’ve been using the Lundberg blend for a while and like it a lot. Haven’t tested that many others, though, but Lundberg is in most stores around here, at least.

  140. Gaynell

    I grew up much the same way – though I used to feed my kids hamburger helper – it was cheep! ;) But have since denied them that as the salt and other things give me shivers. We let them cook what they want on days my hubby and I eat out. I never did have a cheese and broccoli casserole…but my foster mom used to make a cheese soup that was made with cheese whiz! ;) It was great! always had an air popper for popcorn, so never had that jiffy pop stuff either. Love your blog. ;)

  141. Mary Fox

    denied EVERYTHING with herbs and mom was a sound Irish cook. Boil in Big Pot..spice cabinet held salt and pepper only. Seriously. I now crave all the spices in the universe and use them liberally, in fabulous, often successful combinations :)

  142. Beth

    My mom was a really good cook (this was 50-60 years ago!)—minimal processed foods; grew, canned, made her own. We did not get cookies, breakfasts, lunches, snacks, etc. that came out of bags, boxes, cans. I had a friend who got a little waxed paper bag filled with potato chips every day in her lunch that I simply longed for. Mom made popcorn on the stovetop in a big pan (same pan I use to this day to make my famously great popcorn) so I longed for Jiffy Pop! I loved the foil growing and the steam rising out of the top when the happy family punched it open in the ads on TV. As a family, we had a big rule when we went out to the movies—no snacks or drinks at the theater! Going out to a movie was for watching a movie, not eating! My mom is still a great cook—at 82, she prepares wonderful, home-cooked meals from great ingredients, nothing fancy but all good. We all admire her and appreciate her. (So she doesn’t sound off-puttingly wholesome, she happily finishes every day with a glass of Trader Joe’s white wine and a cigarette.)

  143. Teresa

    We never dined out or had fast food when I was a kid. I remember being super jealous of my friends’ trips to McDonalds. I wanted a fast food burger and fries more than anything else in the entire world. I also wanted a soft drink, but my parents said they were too expensive plus my dad said they were bad for children’s teeth (he was right). One year for Christmas I asked for a McDonalds Big Mac, fries, and a coke with crushed ice. I did get a bottled coke along with a Nancy Drew book in my stocking. The day after Christmas I had a stomach virus and my mom opened my coke for me and told me it would settle my stomach. I drank some and immediately threw up. My sister drank the rest before it went flat.

  144. Jen

    If you didn’t want to use flour (gluten free) what could you use in its place, or is just dropping it likely to turn out ok? I love your recipes! :)

  145. Myriam

    Hi Deb!!!
    How I love your posts and the way you express yourself!! I had a smile while reading it the entire time! Forbidden foods? Well, quite some but the one that comes to mind was Kool Aid!! In second grade the “in” thing was for the kids to dip their fingers in the powder and lick it! I was solo jealous! So I invented my own thing: I took Jell-o powder! ;-) Oh, and I’ve never had or made a casserole either, but this certainly looks quite appealing! Here’s to new experiences! :-)

  146. Christina

    My oft-requested but never served childhood food was mac and cheese from a box (the kind with straight noodles instead of curved). I felt so deprived that my mom only made the real stuff – you know, with a cream sauce she made by hand with real, freshly grated cheese melted in. You and I share in our childhood deprivation. I’ve only recently begun to fully appreciate the gift of my mom’s home-cooking.

    I have to confess I’ve had multiple opportunities to partake of the Cheez Whiz variety of broccoli-rice casserole. It makes an appearance at nearly every family get-together. I’ll make your recipe for Easter this year and we can all see what we’ve been missing. It looks glorious!

  147. Karwen

    Ha! I have never had a broccoli casserole and it’s a constant source of amazement from friends. We never had casseroles, period. I think our families are cut from the same cloth. I even remember when I was in high school complaining to my mother (who worked third shift, no less) that all I wanted was some cereal for breakfast (even though the only ones allowed were Kix, plain shredded wheat, and cheerios) and couldn’t I just have that instead of homemade muffins, pancakes, crepes, french toast, omlets, etc. What a brat. I did all of my schooling in the 80s, a time when EVERYONE else seemed to have some sort of Hostess goodness in their lunches. Not for me. :-( A sad, sad childhood indeed. If you have found a good therapist to address these issues, please let me know.

  148. Lizzie

    How many servings is this recipe?

    Money was tight for our family growing up. I remember all of the processed cheeses as special treats.

  149. Brian

    I’d also love to know what alternative to use for the flour. My wife is allergic, but otherwise this dish looks like a complete winner.

  150. Staci

    I love reading all of these posts!!! My parents made us broccoli cheese casserole as a kid & a few months ago I called them to ask how to make it myself. The conversation went something like this- Me: “hi, Dad. How do I make that yummy broccoli cheese casserole?” Dad: ” you go to the store, get a jar of cheese sauce and some frozen broccoli, mix it up and stick it in the oven.”
    Me: “thanks so much”. Needless to say, I went online and researched a healthier version which did not contain a jar of cheese sauce!! It was delicious and very similar to this recipe.
    I am one of those crazy moms who doesn’t feed her kid so many things, too!! I am vegetarian and she eats mostly meat free too. Last week, my 4 year old went to stay at my folks house and she asked them if they could mail a meatball sub to her house! Too funny the stuff parents get abuse for because of good intentions!!

    P.S. all I wanted as a kid was tuna noodle casserole. My parents refused. I made it soon after moving into my first apartment & I totally understood why we never had it!!

  151. Amanda

    This looks delicious! I would love to try it, but my son is allergic to mustard. Is there something else I could substitute? Thank you!

  152. Like you, I missed out on a lot of “normal” childhood foods. I grew up with an Armenian family. I’ve never had hamburger helper, spaghettios, bologna, and all sorts of other typical kid foods. And I never had Broccoli Cheese Casserole either!

  153. Ashley

    Oh, this looks wonderful! It can be so hard to find a vegetarian AND gluten-free casserole! (I’m not gluten-free, but it can be nice to take days off from gorging on wheat products!) We had a fair amount of convenience foods growing up — Kraft Mac & Cheese with hot dogs cut up in it was a perennial favorite, as was Baked Potato Night, which happened at least once a week, sometimes more, and my favorite potato topping to this very day as a result is cottage cheese (really, a perfect meal with some veg on the side!) My dad’s cooking duties included burritos, which he would load up with beans and ground beef and bake all together in a pan — kind of more like enchiladas without the sauce and with flour tortillas. Delicious, nonetheless! I generally envied the fancier foods that some of my friends seemed to eat, especially something called Chicken Verona that I had a few times at a friends house, only to found out she had not even made them, but purchased them pre-made from a local gourmet market! *gasp!* Of course now, being older, I recall fondly and sometimes crave the food of my youth — even the Kraft!

  154. Garden Goddess

    Growing up I got any kind of artificially flavored, sugared cereal I wanted along with Pizza rolls, chips, cookies and anything else you can think of (including TANG drink) EXCEPT for soft drinks! What did I do when I got to high school with the drink machine? I had a soft drink for lunch EVERY day. I still have a soda addiction that I’m trying to overcome… It’s funny, now I make almost everything from scratch and tend to keep things not so sweet and go low on the additives and preservatives (except for the soft drinks, of course…). Go figure.

  155. Jill

    I live in turkey and have only wild rice (not a mix) that I brought from my home in Minnesota. Do you think it would work with just wild rice and not a “blend” ?

  156. Welp I too was denied all those foods and more – remember Chef Boyardee? Another big no no. But BEYOND all those denied foods – I was denied THE TV GUIDE! We only had the NYT section! So when I became an adult 1 of the 1st things I did was get a subscription to The Guide! Sadly now, who needs 1 – but well I had my fun for a few years! LALALALALA!

  157. Just made this – it’s delicious! Exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for. Used a combination of wild rice, brown basmati and white basmati in case anyone’s curious. It worked perfectly.
    We were lucky in my house… we had frozen pot-pies, spaghetti-Os and Little Debbies, but my mother also canned tomatoes every summer, made jams and applesauce, and homemade cookies. So, while today I pretty much can’t bear to think about velveeta, cream of mushroom soup or wonder bread, I can’t complain :-)

  158. Rebecca

    In general liked the food I ate growing up and never felt deprived. But I did live in an Irish neighborhood and every St Patricks Day all the kids talked about corned beef and cabbage. Well, my Puerto Rican mom was not interested in making it for me. To this day I’ve never eaten it.

  159. tanja

    delicious!! I saw this on FB an made its the same evening, I had some carrots left and included them, very tasty and it really looked beautiful too!

  160. Elizabeth

    Squishy white bread and margarine! My mother refused to buy either of those items, she was all about Pepperidge Farm bread and real butter. I was always super excited to eat dinner at my best friend’s house because there was always a plate of squishy white bread slices on the table and a stick of margarine for spreading.

  161. NeNe

    Pringles. I was denied Pringles because there was never a coupon for Pringles. Yeah, my mom was almost a serial coupon-er. If there wasn’t a coupon for an item, we didn’t buy it. I was in charge of sorting through the coupons in the Sunday paper (you bet I was scouring for those Pringles coupons, and no, there were hardly any if at all). Lunch was hard because little Tony Y always had Pringles in his lunchbox. In generous moments, he gave me 1 chip, just 1. These days, I get a tingle whenever I see a can of Pringles, but then I read the label and remember that the flavor wasn’t as good as I remember.

  162. Yvonne

    I hate all pasta to this day because my grandmother over cooked it and thought tomato juice could be substituted for marinara sauce. Imagine a plate of mush with tomato juice over it. Sound yummy?!!!

  163. linda

    The popcorn was called Jiffy Pop and you made it on top of the stove not in the oven, it had a particular fake butter flavor and it always burned on the bottom. Super fun to make though!
    We did have sugar cereal Boo-Berry I loved which turned the milk blue, I can still taste that blue milk. We had Shake-n-Bake, Hamburgerhelper, Jello, Miracle Whip, margarine, Kraft mac-n-cheese, Velvetta, Cool Whip, Spam, Tang, Wonder bread, Kool-Aid, baloney, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Pop-Tarts, iceberg lettuce, fruits and vegetables came from cans. No cola but root beer was ok. No sugary gum but Care-Free was ok. I wasn’t allowed to have Hostess snacks, no Ho-Ho’s in my lunchbox. We always drove out to the country to buy eggs from the egg lady. We had milk delivered from a local dairy. We always grew tomatoes in the back yard.

    It is interesting where we all choose to draw the lines of what we choose to eat, we are drawing them differently from our parents but who can say if it is better.

  164. Carolyn

    No Hostess treats, canned pasta, Kool-aid or Oreos at our house. Some things strangely made the cut though, boxed muffin and cake mixes and processed american cheese slices. Or a big treat during Lent, tuna-potato chip casserole, held together with canned mushroom soup.

  165. Wendy

    My mom was a good cook. I grew up on homemade bread, she made 7 loaves a week, cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes, cookies of all kinds, homemade jams and jellies, pickles and canned fruit. I ate my first artichoke while still in a high chair when I had enough teeth to scrape the leaf. There were no foods that were forbidden, but some that were not common. I never had any kind of Mexican food until I was in college, not even a taco, because it was not common where we lived. Didn’t have pizza until I was in my teens because we never went to a place that served pizza when we went out to eat. Hamburgers and a frosty mug of root beer at the A&W were a special treat. Dinner was on the table every night by no later than 5:30 and we always ate together. Lots of canned vegetables in those days because fresh were expensive and not always available when it was not the season. To this day I cannot bring myself to eat canned peas, beans or spinach.

    Made the broccoli casserole for dinner last night to go along with some left over stuck pot lentils and rice. The broccoli casserole was very good.

  166. Donna

    Looks and sounds yummy! I used to make this without the Wild Rice, put white fish on top of the broccoli, poured the cheese sauce over all and baked. Was good and would be delicious with the addition of the Wild Rice! Thanks.

  167. I always wanted Lunchables! That never happened, ever. Smelly egg salad on whole-wheat bread (I love it, now!) embarrased me alongside my friends with their Fruit by the Foot, baloney sandwiches and Chips Ahoy. We didn’t really get anything in the house that was sugary, either, except for homemade desserts. I loved visiting my grandparents, where candy and ice cream were presented at every turn — I absolutely ended up ill on every trip, not unrelated to the amounts of junk food I enthusiastically consumed. Terrible! Now, I could just kiss my mother for feeding us healthfully and teaching me to cook from scratch. Don’t wanna sound like a snob but a lot of my food memories (sitting around the table for meals as a family, hot breakfasts every day) are more interesting than Jell-o Pudding Cups every day :)

    This casserole sounds like a major win! I would expect no less from you Deb! Thanks for a wonderful version of a classic that I also have never eaten before. You’re not alone :)

  168. Sue

    Deb – would you consider taking on Chicken Divan? It is a lot like this, but with chicken on the bottom layer. The childhood version was so good, but full of mayo and canned soup. Must be a more elegant version for today!

  169. Keri

    My mother would make the Rice-A-Roni version of this dish! My sister and I would eat it up. It was the closest we could get to Kraft dinner…which was never oddly served in our house considering the amount of fake food I have consumed as a child from Diet Pepsi to Chef Boyardee to way too much Cinnaburst Gum. What I would have loved my mother to make: real, Italian meatballs with spaghetti. Rolling ground beef with a bit of salt, sometimes feta, into a ball was my mother’s approach. My father hates pasta, so getting traditional spaghetti and meatballs only happened recently when my 1/2 Italian husband was at the table. Now, I don’t mean to put down my mom. She did cook some magical meals. My mom grills a mean London Broil served with baked potato, veggie, and garlic bread. That meal is Saturday night dinner as a kid. That along with an episode of Star Trek Next Generation while we ate.

  170. Keri

    Oh – and when she served said spaghetti and meatballs two years ago (we’ve been married 12 years, btw), my pasta-hating father at maybe 5 bites before leaving the table. Good times.

  171. janeinbama

    This looks delicious – I have made the Cheez Whiz broccoli casserole in the very distant past.

    Growing up my Dad would not eat casseroles. We ate lots of vegetables, chicken, fish and cornbread. But the one thing that sticks out is I never recall eating homemade cream corn until I was an adult (DH fixed it for me the first time) my mother swore she fixed it, but us kids would not have We did eat corn on the cob regularly. Same with pudding, I thought homemade pudding was Jello pudding cooked on the stove vs instant :) I was in my 30s before I ever tasted pudding make in a double boiler. That is something you just don’t forget.

  172. Kristen

    Rice-A-Roni is missing from my childhood culinary experiences! The catchy jingle and cable car featured in the 70’s TV ads were probably what made the ‘treat’ so alluring.

  173. My mother is a horrible cook, but I did like her broccoli cheese casserole (when she remembered all the ingredients). Hers did involve chhez whiz, so I refuse to make it (like one of my other favorites, “Mexican” meatballs), but I have tried to reproduce it, without much success. This looks very promising. Thanks.

  174. American cheese, sugar cereals, candy, hydrogenated peanut butter, instant soup, and other chemical-ridden foods. But my mother always made cake for the weekend. ;) I didn’t feel majorly deprived and am very glad I was raised that way.

    Oh, here’s an interesting one: I also was not allowed Red 40, and that was unique because it wasn’t just a rule for the home; we weren’t allowed period. It was not so set in stone that we weren’t permitted to have it on occasion, but in general it was a no-no.

    I was mostly obedient to this Red 40 ban; I say mostly because I remember one time in second or third grade when my teacher was handing out Twizzlers and it occurred to me, “Hey! I could just not tell her that I’m not allowed Red 40, and then she’ll give me the Twizzler!” I know, such a novel concept. (I guess it’s just not in my nature to be deceptive?)

    But then another girl in my class piped up, “Oh, Avra’s not allowed Red 40.” Ha, I was so annoyed. The funny thing is I never even really liked Twizzlers! I suspect I just didn’t want to miss out on getting a treat, whether it was a good treat or not. It’s the same reason I always ate those flavored ices that our gym teacher gave us sometimes despite thinking them gross because hey! a treat!

  175. @Nance:

    I once made the Enchanted Broccoli Forest also! It sounded so promising, but mine didn’t come out very flavorful and I didn’t try to make it again. And yes, I still like the name. :D

  176. Loved this nostalgic post so much! We were denied nothing. Ours was a thoroughly modern home with all the culinary conveniences. I have fond memories of Kraft Dinner, Swanson’s Chicken Pot Pies, Fried Chicken TV dinner with the apple crisp dessert tucked into the corner square of the foil tray.
    My mom made a special dessert called “Whipped Jello” She whipped unset Lime Jello with sour cream and then added canned pineapple and poured it into a bundt pan to set. We thought it was heavenly!!
    All my friends loved coming to our house as we had a junk cupboard filled with Twizzlers, Ruffles and Pringles Potato Chips, Cheesies and many varieties of chocolate bars.

  177. My mother used to make that broccoli cheese casserole with gobs of Velveeta, then it was topped with crushed Ritz crackers that had been sauteed in BUTTER! I wanted to make a broccoli dish the other day, and she reminded me that the only way she’ll eat it is in that casserole. Oh well. I’ll cook your version for myself! BTW even though this would be WAY too long, your son could call his blog Not-So-Smitten with My Mother’s Kitchen!

  178. betsy

    oh how i longed for all the junk foods, soda, chips, fast food take out:) we always had home cooked meals. i would go to friend’s houses and eat their junk food like a manic. although when i grew up and had my own children i limited their junk food exactly the same way!

  179. We didn’t have sugar on hot cereal, but salt and maybe some butter. I still eat it that way. Canned vegetables mostly; I especially remember slimy asparagus, little LeSeur peas, sliced canned beets, and if we were good children and ate our slime, Junket for dessert–what a treat! Velveeta was our cheese (way too salty-tasting to eat now). I haven’t eaten a canned veggie in a decade, but had to introduce my 65-year-old brother to broccoli a year ago–he’d never tasted it! Canned peaches were also a favored dessert, with lots of that heavy sugar syrup in the dish. Lettuce and tomatoes were “salad.” Then I moved to California. What a surprise–artichokes, tomatoes on the vine, goat cheese, garlic, for God’s sake, pasta that wasn’t spaghetti and jarred sauce. Who knew? Thanks for this good broc casserole recipe, will try it soon.

  180. Deborah HH

    As a lifetime veteran of church dinners (hundreds of them) I can tell you that I have tasted every incarnation of the broccoli-rice-cheese casserole, and like most recipes that surfaced in the late 60s, no one knows or remembers what the original was meant to be. We add or take away as it suits our tastes or pantry—or our children.

    I’ve tasted it with water chestnuts. Mushrooms. Green chillies. Almonds. Pimento. Oh the list goes on and on. My beloved mother-in-law makes a version with the jar of Cheese Whiz, instant rice, and frozen chopped broccoli (horrors) and a whole stick of real butter. I could eat it until I founder. We scrape the dish with a rubber spatula to get the last bite. Seriously. We only have it on holidays when no one cares about the calories—or for church dinners!

    I suspect your recipe, Oh my darling Smitten Kitchen, is very close to the original, and I can’t wait to try it.

  181. Flo

    Oh dear. I think I might be your mother. My poor kids are doomed.

    Made this this evening. Very good, especially with hot sauce. Added some toasted walnuts to the rice mixture to give it a bit more texture. Thanks!

  182. lori

    I can SO relate to this. We had next to zero processed foods in our house. Someone recently gave my son some Hostess products and I am threatening to try a bite of a Twinkie. I still have never had a fast food burger either. In all honesty, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything because the forbidden foods I’ve tried have been disappointing. Too much hype! My husband has recently abandoned his nostalgic faves such as Hamburger Helper. Congrats on reinventing this. I’ll have to try it since I am not burdened by a nostalgic version.

  183. That’s so funny. Here I was thinking, I’ve never had this dish… but I know I’ve had broccoli casserole… and there you go. Two different animals. Yours looks much tastier.

  184. Sonja Ferrera

    When I was in grade school I would trade my sliced chicken breast on whole wheat, or tuna on rye for bologna and American Cheese on Wonder Bread–heaven! I used my allowance to buy Hawaiian Punch boxes off other kids and dump my apple juice. No sweets were allowed in the house, no potato chips, and certainly no soda! I was convinced I was suffering child abuse and swore I would never do that to my kids. Guess what?! As an adult, I turned into my mother and the cycle repeated itself. Horrors! When my kids became teenagers they made up for lost time, so maybe that hard-nosed control ain’t so good after all. Perhaps moderation is the key.

  185. Sonja Ferrera

    Btw, I forgot to say that I tried this recipe and the only thing I changed was that I used 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 Gruyere (because I LOVE Gruyere). It was outstanding! Everyone at dinner snarfed it down. I’m sure it would be equally delicious as originally written with all cheddar.

  186. Did you have any idea when you posted this that the timing would be perfect for Snowpocalypse Part 3? So looking forward to enjoying this tonight while we are avoiding the weather!

  187. Thought you might like to know that I have folders on my computer named “Cookbook vegetables,” Cookbook casseroles,” Cookbook holidays,” (and a whole lot more), and that this broc/chse made it into three of my cookbook folders. I thank you for your diligence and all-around good humor (that’s a play on words; we were permitted one a day, by the way), to say nothing of some very good eatin’ receipts.

    Many of the verboten foods mentioned over and over weren’t even invented when I was a tot, and I can only look at the lists with puzzlement. We drank V-8 while Mom had a black-and-white ice cream soda at Johnson’s drugstore in Far Rockaway (about 70 years ago) and that was my first bout of screaming jealousy (but far from the last).

  188. This post is hilarious, I love it! So let’s see, the things my friends got to eat at home that my sister and I did not: pop tarts, frozen fish sticks, tator tots, sugary cereals, McDonald’s, hamburger helper, and I’m sure the list goes on, that’s just all I can think of at the moment.

  189. Liz

    We only had skim milk at our house and I remember very clearly a revelatory sleepover wherein I could NOT get over the delicious substance called “whole” milk they served with breakfast.

  190. I was so excited to try this today but there is a major snow storm so I had to use what I had in the house. I had most things – was interesting! I used regular rice, coconut oil to replace the butter and a cashew cream cheese sauce because I didn’t have any milk. It was still very good. Thanks so much!

  191. kathleen g

    Fresh vegetables! My mother really WAS a terrible cook, it wasn’t until I was in high school, at a friend’s house, that I saw a fresh vegetable. (we’re not counting iceberg or carrots here). I had no idea what her mother was doing, nor what those things were. (green beans, zucchini, and butternut squash). I’m sure they still talk about the day that poor girl didn’t recognize a fresh vegetable…..

  192. Triple

    The minute I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I love anything with rice and cheese and sauce. And I knew I was the only one that was going to eat it, because my husband hates anything cheesy and saucy, and he likes raw broccoli as opposed to cooked. I didn’t care, because I was cooking it for me!

    I followed the recipe to a T. It was delicious and quite filling. And guess what? Hubby loved it! He snubbed his nose while I was deligently whisking the sauce and gingerly scooped out a small portion to try. And my teenager loved it. There were no leftovers.

    This is a keeper.

  193. I envied freshly baked bread at friends’ houses. My mom was a decent cook, but EVERYTHING came at least pseudo-premade (hamburger helpers, frozen lasagna, bottled dressings, she worked a day job). I had my first loaf of freshly baked bread when I was in college when I baked it myself and it was HEAVEN.
    Your child doesn’t know how good he has it! He is so lucky to have a Mama who cares not only about good nutrition but about great taste too! He’ll recognize this soon enough. ;)

  194. Rebecca

    We were denied ANYTHING name brand. Which is basically all snack foods for kids. Goldfish, name brand chips, fruit roll ups, twinkes, etc. My mom always MADE us snacks for cheaper. THE HORROR.

  195. For me it was any processed foods. I used to go to friends’ houses and gorge on twinkies, cookies, anything I could get my hands on with sugar and white flour!
    This is a great recipe, we make a similar one with brown rice and chicken breast. It is the only way my 18 month old will eat chicken, and she gets broccoli and brown rice as well!

  196. How awful of your parents to deprive you of such delights! I bet they were the sort of people who frowned upon food-colouring packed candy too?
    When I was at school I was insanely jealous of a friend whose mum would pack him jam sandwiches cut into squares for lunch. I would insist that my mother abandon the much more complex and nutritious lunches she would make for me in favour of jam sandwiches. ….cut into squares of course!

  197. Melissa

    My first ever broccoli rice casserole! I grew up in a frozen fish stick, condensed soup, white bread household. I don’t think we ever had broccoli – this would have been made with boil-in-the-bag white rice (the worst!), mushroom soup, American cheese, maybe a pinch of onion powder.
    I made this tonight and it was great. I had tons of broccoli so I used all florets, not crazy about stems anyway. I did use heavy cream instead of whole milk. I imagine most would try to substitute in the less fatty direction, but I had no milk in the house with a blizzard happening outside. Of course it made the cheese sauce even richer. Damn good!

  198. Adrienne K

    I was not allowed to have Doritos and that kind of junk food, and we never could go to McDonalds or a Burger King (not that I wanted to…) and soda was only when we had company (I remember eyeing the bottle of ginger ale and waiting for out guests to open it). More vividly, my son discovered boxed macaroni and cheese at a friend’s house. I devoted many hours trying to make a homemade version that he would eat (going as far as adding food coloring), but I never managed to replicate that fake sweet (chemical) flavor that he was addicted to. Years later, he finally eats homemade mac and cheese.

  199. Gail

    My mom never bought cookies, she only made them. So I traded delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies for Oreos. Once, when I was babysitting, the family told me to “just make macaroni and cheese” for the kids for dinner, it was “on the counter”. I was clueless, since I’d only ever had my mom’s homemade mac-and-cheese. No processed junk, except, of course, for the velveeta-based cheese sauce that she tried to convince me would make the broccoli taste better. Alas and alack, it never worked. I was allowed to substitute carrot sticks after one too many gagging and near vomiting incidents (sorry, Mom!), and I only started eating broccoli in the last few years, and only roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper, and copious amounts of garlic and red pepper flakes. So, I think this may be the first SK recipe EVER that I am not going to try… I’m not ready. Maybe when I hit 50 I’ll be ready for broccoli and cheese to meet again.

  200. Melissa

    I made this tonight and it was absolutel,y mouth-wateringly delicious. My husband and I could have eaten the entire casserole (had I not stopped us just short of doing so). I will be making this over and over again.

    Thank you, Deb, once again, for a flawless recipe.

  201. Kathy

    Four servings?? You must not have a teen-age boy in the house! I like leftovers & will double the recipe next time so I can have some! I thought it was a little greasy/rich with that amount of cheese on top, so will cut back on that next time, unless I’m serving a very lean meat/fish to accompany it. Otherwise—yum–ruined Uncle Ben’s forever for us!

  202. Kathy

    P.S. Buy Lundgren’s rice–never realized before trying their short-grain brown rice, that rice could actually have FLAVOR.

  203. I love the combination of these flavors! I usually make a brown rice broccoli cheese casserole very similar to this recipe and my entire family loves the dish! I’ve actually been wanting to try wild rice and have some in my pantry. I’ll try using it instead of brown rice next time! Thanks for the idea!

  204. Jodi

    My dad raised both my younger sister and Me. He made steaks quite a bit, chicken legs often, liver sometimes( I had no idea what I was eating at the time), lots of frozen pot pies, TV dinners, every kind of sugary cereal was on rotation, soda pop, bologna and cheez whiz were staples in our fridge. Also, I are every single dinner growing up sitting on the living room floor watching tv! Incredible! I make everything homemade now for my boys and we always eat dinner at the table!

  205. Shannon

    My mom was a great cook and I can’t remember ever feeling deprived of any of those canned, boxed or frozen monstrosities but for some reason this post makes me think of my grandma’s Spam, rice, carrot & “nippy” cheese casserole with cream of mushroom soup thinned with evaporated milk “sauce” which I can’t in my right mind rationalize making in this day and age but, boy, does it sound good.

  206. Irène

    French girl here!
    When I was a kid, I spent all my summers in Marseille south of France eating a mix of mediterranean food from Maghreb, Corsica, Sepharadic jew, lebanon, Provence…
    How I miss the pieds noirs “pâté à la frita” (it’s a frita -kinda chachouka- in a puff pastry)…

  207. Allison

    Hecks yeah I will be making this! I’ve been experimenting with oldies-but-goodies from my childhood (mostly adaptations from Taste of Home magazine, nothing original on my end), but updating them to include more veg, no cream-of-yucko-soup, etc. This will go on my shopping list today. Thanks for posting!

  208. I was denied Pop-Tarts, Lucky Charms (and all sugared cereals, but that was the one I wanted), and frozen dinners. Somehow I survived and have eschewed all of those things in my own household, much to my daughter’s chagrin. On your broccoli and cheese casserole, it’s definitely more refined than the Cheez-Whiz version I had (at a friend’s house — not allowed by my mother.) Kudos to you! Your 4-year old will appreciate it someday!

  209. Laura P.

    If it makes you feel better, I never had this either when growing up. That said, when my mom was the one doing the cooking, I DID have Shake-n-Bake (though we used it on pork chops) and Hamburger Helper. Both were among my very least favorite meals, though neither quite beat scrod filets with breadcrumbs and diet margarine, steamed in the microwave. My mother really WAS a terrible cook (my father was much better). I also never had that green bean casserole that’s so common around the holidays. The only time I got sugar cereals was when we were camping with the Girl Scout troop, and bought a variety pack of the little cereal boxes. I was only allowed to have cheese on my broccoli once in a great while (I assume when my mom was REALLY frustrated with trying to get me to eat the overcooked frozen stuff). If I’d had my way, I’d have had cheese on EVERYTHING, all the time.

  210. I was denied all sorts of junk foods too – must be a Jewish mother from New York thing. My childhood friend recently reminded me that I used to hoard junk food from her house and eat it under my bed. Funny thing is, I’m now a holistic dietitian….

  211. msue

    My mom didn’t love cooking, but did her best to put a hot meal on the table each night, despite her full time job as a college prof. Her specialty was – no joke – broiled Spam. We were convinced it was the most delicious thing in the world. We also ate instant mashed potatoes (the dried flakes in the box) and drank Tang just like astronauts. One night she made real mashed potatoes, and the whole family gave her a standing ovation. I don’t miss the food, but I sure miss my mom and those early food memories.

  212. Vickie S.

    Random thoughts relating to posts above……that green bean casserole is disgusting! Now there are recipes for “Not your Mom’s Green Bean Casserole,” some of which are quite good (even without the cream of mushroom soup). Someone mentioned Rice-a-Roni…….even though I’m a very healthy cook and eater now, and serious home baker, I have to admit I still love Rice-a-Roni! People tease me about it! Also, a co-worker from back in the 70’s (yes, I said the 70’s) turned me onto Shake and Bake for pork. I wouldn’t use it now, but for many years I thought it was delicious and my kids loved it.

  213. We could never have “fun” cereal. Then I went to summer camp and ate Lucky Charms every day. Now, the thought of it makes me shudder. Mom wins.

  214. Wow! You just made me want to put down my burger and eat broccoli…well at least eat my broccoli with a burger. Seriously delicious looking casserole and can see how this would be not only be a great side dish but a meal unto itself. I also like that you used most of the broccoli stalk…too many people throw them away not realizing how much flavor and how tender they are. Thanks for sharing your recipe and glad you’re bringing a dish like this back into the world! :)

  215. Jillian L

    Ah, this is perfect. I need something easy tonight that looks like I spent more time cooking than I actually did. Somehow I’ve never tried the rice-casserole type of dish at all, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m originally from a semi-rural part of Canada, and I didn’t think I ate all that differently than most people, but after living in the States for more than a decade I am always finding new dishes that my parents totally deprived me of :)

    1. deb

      Mark — Thank you.

      Green bean casserole — Yup, we made that here too!

      Kathy — I bought their short-grain Japonais brown rice a few months ago and adored it. It might be my favorite brown OR white rice EVER; it was so plump and round, like farro, but no germ. Sadly, haven’t seen it since but I know it’s around. Highly recommended. (Their regular short-grain brown rice is good, but not as good.)

      BN — You probably could; you’re looking for 2 cooked cups, but I wonder if the sauce might drown out the quinoa and not be the most pleasant. Wild rice holds up better here, I think.

      Kristen — I never had Rice-a-Roni growing up either! But I made the Spanish-style one in college and adored it, made it a few more times. Then I bought it a few years ago and it did not hold up well at all. I was bummed.

      Marsha — Wait, what? Not that I’m aware of! [As Deb tops of her coffee with more whiskey, as she always does after preschool drop-off…]

      NeNe — Okay, I still love Pringles. :)

      Jill — It might. Or you could mix it with some brown rice or another grain for something more tender.

      Amanda — You can skip it. I think it will be just fine without.

      To replace the flour — If it’s a gluten allergy, you could use a gluten-free flour blend instead.

  216. This looks sooo good. I was trying to find a recipe that I could make without meat. Since I usually like baking food rather than cooking it I think this will be perfect. I Can’t wait to try it out this weekend.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  217. Vidya

    We weren’t allowed sugary cereals, soda, ramen, mac n cheese, pretty much anything that took under 30 minutes to cook, and video games. I’m still an avid DIY freak (there’s a reason I read this blog) and I still don’t “get” it when my roommates get out the Xbox. And they don’t get it when I make my own tater tots.

  218. Jessica

    My sweet mom used to make a similar casserole, but with stuffing/dressing- it was my absolute favorite dish growing up. A layer of uncooked stuffing mix topped with cream of chicken soup, broccoli, and that delicious layer of cheese- simple, processed perfection. When I got a little bit older she decided we needed to be more “healthy” and started making it with wild rice instead of stuffing- it was never the same unfortunately. I’m excited to revisit this favorite dish and see how this version stacks up. Will it restore my love for broccoli casserole?! Fingers crossed :)

  219. Dorothy

    I was so excited to see this recipe posted! I can’t wait to make it.

    My mom was morally opposed to McDonald’s. Taco Bell, Burger King, and Wendy’s were okay, but McDonald’s was a no-go. She also had this weird thing about eating runny egg yolks. Needless to say, in adulthood I am overcompensating for both these deprivations.

  220. Grace

    Have to laugh, as my kiddo will also only eat broccoli, cheese and rice SEPARATELY (and not touching – AT ALL). Oh well, I’ll just pull a little of everything out for him and I’ll eat it mixed up in all it’s glorious gooey touching mixed-up messiness.

  221. Katie

    Iwould like to use frozen broccoli for this recipe since that is what I have on hand. Should i blanch the frozen broccoli?

  222. rina

    Hi. Made this last night and it’s a keeper! Kids loved it and I’m thinking of adding some roasted, shredded chicken in next time. Oh ya, I added some cauliflower too. I had to use it up before it went bad so I took a shot and it was good! :}

  223. Susanna

    My (older) brother got one sweet thing a day, but by the time I came along, it was a free-for-all. We’d get all kinds of junk for “lunches” from Pace (now Sam’s Club) and just eat them whenever: Combos and Moon Pies are the ones that jump to mind!
    The part my mom was oddly strict about was drinks. We couldn’t get sugary drinks like Squeez-Its, it had to be 100% juice. When my 7th grade class took a trip to Cedar Point, I asked to break the rule just this once, but even when my mom acquiesced, I still opted for the 100% juice. It was ingrained, I guess!

  224. Sara

    We often have chicken and broccoli stir fry at our house. And I found that this is a great way to use the leftover brown rice and broccoli. Or you can make extra rice and broccoli on purpose so you can make this dish the next day. With cooked brown rice and broccoli in your fridge. This dish comes together in a SNAP.

  225. Lisa L.

    It was my grandmother that always tried the latest fast foods so we loved to go to her house for lunch on Sunday’s after church. Strawberry Nestle’s Quick, Pop Tarts, CheezeWiz, the popcorn that unravelled on the stove, Hawaiian Punch, Hi-C and Dr. Pepper were just a few of the items she stored in her pantry. Things we never had at home. She overcooked almost everything but she did make a mean bread pudding, snow pudding, tapioca and delicious custard that my grandfather would bring to us when we were sick (always in a basket draped with a checkered cloth to keep it warm).
    We ate just about everything fresh at home, and we made things like ice cream together. Very grateful for both experiences and can’t wait to make the casserole.

  226. My kids complained that there was no hamburger helper in our home, and they still managed to grow up to be “normal” human beings. I have one who, like your un-named family member, likes his foods separate. The recipe looks and sounds good. I am adding it to my list to try. I just discovered your blog and it is amazing.

  227. Anna S

    Re: gluten free flour — did mine with gluten free flour last night (all-purpose gluten free flour, nothing particularly special). Only adjustment I made was to start adding in the milk and then broth a little sooner than the recipe suggested as the gluten free flour tends to seize up a little.

    The stories here are amazing and very familiar too. We rarely had processed stuff at home growing up and my family even went pritikin at one stage (chicken roasted without the skin, anyone?). When I moved out of home I ballooned because I started buying all the stuff we never had at home. Years later I’m back eating the same sort of diet I ate at home… go figure!

    Thanks for the opportunity to make a cheese sauce — I’ve always been a bit intimidated by roux-based sauces, but this wasn’t too hard at all.

  228. Carol

    Really good. Just added 1lb browned ground turkey. Made the Lundberg Wild blend Rice in the microwave (1c rice, 1-3/4c water, 1tsp oil, salt. 5 minutes on high, 35 minutes at 30%). Serves 4-6 as a main course.

  229. Shari

    Yum! Unfortunately -or fortunately! I will end up eating it all myself because my husband doesn’t think he likes wild rice. There’s something not quite right about that man. As a child I was denied big rectangular bakery cakes abundantly iced with shortening and sugar frosting, and beautiful blobs of shortening saturated roses. Oh the injustice! My mean old Mom had to make our birthday cakes from scratch. The nerve! One year I wore her down with pitiful begging, and she relented and purchased a bakery cake, but it was round! How are you supposed to eat a big corner piece covered in roses from a round cake? She just didn’t get it. *sigh* After that I decided to let her off the hook and “allowed” her to make my birthday cakes.

  230. Reney

    No sugary cereals (although we were occassionally given the now hideous looking Kaboom with darkly colored clown faces and marshmellows), pop only came out at birthday parties (although my parents regularly drank it) same goes for potato chips and the like, OJ only when we ate out or when rarely when my mom made a hot breakfast (she was ahead of her time here). Kraft mac and cheese however were a staple as was white bread. All of these rules were laxed with the younger kids. Oh and we couldn’t put ketchup on chicken nuggets on the rare occassions we ate them, because my mom just didn’t think ketchup belonged on chicken and it didn’t matter who was eating it

  231. Liz

    I cannot think of a thing that I envied that I was not allowed… And I grew up in Ohio with a fairly uninspired, albeit GOOD rotation. My mom and I have expanded our cooking greatly in the last 40 years.

    All that said, I cannot WAIT for “”…BRING IT!!

    Oh…I WILL be making this recipe!

  232. Tunie

    Pretty early in my 70’s childhood, my mom became a card carrying health nut, baking all our bread, (whole wheat, duh) making yogurt weekly, feeding us bee pollen and certainly no commercial cereals of any kind allowed. Only homemade granola and oatmeal. But before that, I have a very vague memory of canned cream of mushroom soup poured over toast – which I ate with pleasure then, but wretch at the thought of now. I’m grateful though. I learned that taste must never be allowed to completely supplant nutrition, the primary reason we eat. This recipe looks like the best of both. Thanks!

  233. I was never allowed fruit by the foot! My mother claimed it was too expensive. I might get it as a rare treat if I happened to be dragged grocery shopping with her and I begged in the most demeaning way possible. But I was most certainly made to know how much of a treat this was. Then, after I grew up and left home and came back one holiday, I asked my mom to buy hummus and I never heard the end of it about my new “health nut” ways. Whatever.

  234. clyde

    I couldn’t easily find a wild rice blend, so went with straight wild rice from TJ’s. The instructions say 4 to 1 ratio, water / rice, vs. your 2:1 ratio. I’m assuming / hoping that the additional liquid is picked up in the milk & stock. Is this a correct assumption?

    Thank you.

  235. Mary Moss

    My extremist health nut mother only equipped us with brown foods:
    Brown Eggs, Brown Pasta, Brown Rice, Tofu….. this was the 70’s.
    Needless to say- we were considered quite freakish by all.

    I LOVED going to other people’s houses for meals. Hamburger Helper, Spaghettios and everything people have mentioned from Poptarts to Captain Crunch above… oh man, those were the delicacies!

    I remember the first moment that i realized- i was an adult and i could buy anything i wanted! I must have spent a whole three hours putting things in my cart and then removing them. I was so wracked with inner conflict.

    I walked out with just 1 lowly item : Honeycomb cereal.
    My mother’s job had been done.
    To this day, i cannot buy junk food.

  236. Grandma

    First let me say that my mom was a great mind and a huge bundle of various talent trapped in a wife/mom prison. She was a very good cook, but was weary and frustrated by having to produce three meals a day for years and years. We were not really denied anything, because the rule was that anyone who said they wanted any specific thing to eat could have it. It was a relief to her not to have to come up with an idea for that day. I have been wife/mom for 45 years now and know exactly where she was coming from, so if my husband wants pasta every night for a week, that’s what he gets! Bless her heart, you can tell by my body that I learned to eat anything that doesn’t eat me first. Love you forever, Mom, and I hope you’re in heaven playing the piano and growing beautiful flowers!

  237. KSK

    I don’t remember any specific foods that I was denied as a child. But, I begged to make the Castle Cake from the Betty Crocker Boys & Girls Cookbook every year. It was an elaborate layered cake in the shape of a castle. I still have that cookbook, and have yet to make a Castle Cake. Maybe one day. I also wanted an Easy Bake Oven, but was turned down every time I asked. My mother’s solution was to buy the little cake pans and the little mixes and bake them in the big oven on the lowest temperature possible. It just wasn’t the same. My mom also had the 3 cookie rule. You could only have 3 cookies per day. It seemed unreasonable growing up. But, to this day, I can’t eat more than 3 cookies at a time. In hindsight, it was a good life lesson.

  238. Corie

    Made this last night and it was delicious!!! Also made the cherry cornmeal upside down cake to go with it. Rave reviews for both. Thank you for providing such a wonderful resource. I am an expat living in Germany and your website has become my absolute favorite go to for recipes.

  239. My Mom had to make us homemade birthday cakes. I wanted a store bought one! What a terrible childhood:). I put my kids through the same misery. My Mom must not have been a big broccoli fan, I didn’t have the processed cheese broccoli casserole until I started dating my future husband in college. He loves it, I long ago dropped all the processed food parts for homemade. Wild rice makes a nice change.

  240. JanetP

    I’ve never heard of broccoli cheese casserole, ew. But I vividly remember the first time I had tuna casserole — I slept over a friend’s house and her mother made it for dinner. Potato chips on the top! I had never imagined such a thing. The novelty made me like it. Your recipe, on the other hand, sounds legit tasty.

    And on a side note — I can’t believe how old Jacob is now! When did he get to be 4 1/2?! I started reading your blog right when you announced your pregnancy. Aww. He is still adorable : )

  241. Rebecca

    I think i was literally bottle fed diet coke. I even remember the HUGE three liter bottles in the 80’s that always went flat. While my mom cooked dinner every night out house was loaded with snacks, to this day my family can snack all the way to dinner but now we do it with good cheese and crackers and not better cheddar crackers (which i still think are good)

  242. anna

    I have wild rice, white rice and brown rice. But not in a blend. How does that change the cooking instructions as they all take different amount of time

  243. Liz

    Gluten free – dairy free cheese sauce option… I successfully make a cashew cheese sauce. I don’t usually make it dairy free as in I use cheese with the cashew cream, BUT you can use nutritional yeast for the cheese taste.

    Cashew cream = water and cashews blended. This works best with a VitaMix or other high powered blender. Nuts should be soaked to remove some enzymes that interfere with digestion of nutrients but cashews only need 2-3 hours.

    So…soaked cashews, water or broth (slightly more than cashew amount), cheese or nutritional yeast – I often throw in some roast red pepper. Blend for several minutes. This thickens well – more as it heats.

    I use cashew cream instead of a butter-flour-water/broth roux for almost everything that calls for a roux. Mac n cheese, stroganoff, this kind of casserole.

  244. Christina

    I’m going to make this tonight – it sounds delicious! We never had any can-of-cream-of-whatever-soup casseroles when I was growing up, either, but my mom did make something that in the mid-eighties, at least, was called Brazilian Spinach. Basically two boxes of frozen chopped spinach, cooked rice, shredded cheddar cheese, and a couple eggs. It is delicious and I still make it (on Fridays in Lent… I really should try it on other days, too!), though as a kid I refused to eat it because of the spinach. So my mom re-named it Brazilian Rice and I ate it without complaint. Didn’t remove the spinach from the dish, mind you, just from the NAME of the dish. Anyway, yum.

  245. Marsha Kern

    I would have sworn you had a picture on your photo stream of you in a maternity dress, you looked so cute! Oh well! Have a wonderful weekend!

  246. Lisa

    Deb, I’ve not read through the comments so apologise if this has a;ready been asked, but is making a cheese sauce with half milk and half stock a usual thing? I made it with 500ml of full fat milk for my 1 year old twins this evening and the adored it! I used plan old white rice becuase of them but added breadcrumbs to give a bit of bite (I stupidly had a little taste out of the oven and nearly peeled ha;f the topping off it was so tasty) I might have to add chopped walnuts or flake almonds next time.

    Cauliflower cheese was a big thing in my childhood, but never baked, just the cheese and the sauce – which was delicious enough, but never broccoli. My children will be getting this version! Thanks for the recipe!

  247. Debbie!!!

    This looks way better than the usual broccoli cheese rice casserole I grew up with…and baked in a cast iron skillet? SOLD. :-) I’m trying this for Lent!

  248. What a wonderful trip down the memory lane of the 50’s and 60’s! I don’t usually make dishes with “cheese sauce”, being a Weight Watcher from the aforementioned times, but I made this last night for our daughter, who is expecting and currently has peculiar taste preferences. She, and the rest of us, ate this dish up, all the while proclaiming its deliciousness! I served it with chicken breasts, which we ate but only because they were there…we just wanted the broccoli with rice and sharp cheddar, etc.

  249. Angelica

    Trix cereal, pop tarts, oreos…you name it. And I, for the most part, deny my kids too. Then, if I give in, we can polish off a box of sweet cereal in a day!! My sister used to make the goopy broccoli casserole back in the day. Our cooking is a bit more refined nowadays, so I’m gonna have to give this one a try. Have some Dubliner Irish cheese in the fridge that is dying to become this.

  250. Mel in Durham

    In elementary school the parents of my best friend owned a restaurant. At her house they had things like homemade bread and hunks of cheddar. At my house, we had wonder bread and slices of processed yellow cheese. We each wanted what the other had! We did a lot of bouncing back and forth from house to house.

  251. misa

    Homemade bread baked in Folgers coffee tin cans. iImagine being the only kid with a ROUND sandwich. What I would have given for Wonderbread!

  252. Marcia

    You are amazing, Deb — I so enjoy the blog, your personality, pix of Jacob (he’s getting SO big!), your cookbook, just everything. Have made many of your recipes and never been disappointed. You rock, woman!
    And, btw, it’s awesome that you take the time to answer questions. Don’t know how you can do all that you do, but surely do enjoy the outcome.
    Looking forward to making this recipe this weekend.
    (Don’t have any stories of being denied anything food-wise, but then I’m old as dirt and mom didn’t know there was a healthier version of anything!)

  253. Rachel

    Being in the UK velteeta, cheez whizz etc did not exist, and I don’t remember any dishes made with mushroom soup thank goodness. However my mum made a version of this with brown basmati and the addition of sautéed leeks and cauliflower and with with gruyere in with the cheddar and it was totally delicious.

  254. Katie

    White bread. Like wonder bread. Or any bread from a package. My mom baked our bread (wah!) and I was always envious of the perfect, flat, dry bread at my friends houses.

    First time commenting, I love your site and make your blondies, lemon tart, and many other things constantly–though I always give you credit.

  255. Sara

    LOL yeah it seems like all my favorite food bloggers (you, Joy, Molly …) were denied all the “wonderful” processed foods growing up! I agree with some who have commented – no offense to my parents, but I kind of wish they had discovered whole foods a little earlier in my life. I’m healthy now, but I’ve always been overweight – maybe shunning McDonald’s and Velveeta in my youth wouldn’t have been such a bad thing! :)

  256. Donna

    We were denied Pop-tarts (now a secret indulgence of mine), sugar cereal, store bought frosting, and store bought jam/jelly. I remember we were finally on a road trip and stopped for breakfast. On the table were those little Smucker’s jelly packs, and I excitedly opened a packet of grape jelly and spread it on my toast. When I bit into my toast I was so shocked to discover it had absolutely no flavor whatsoever beyond sweet. I finally appreciated my mom’s homemade jams/jellys!

  257. Amy S

    Oh how I miss Gourmet magazine! Don’t fret, I never had this growing up, either (my family’s incorporation of broccoli and rice always came in the form of Chicken Divan). This variation with wild rice looks and sounds delicious! As for friends’ indulgences, I loved going to my best friend’s house where her mom would make us “cheesy potatoes” (mashed potatoes L.O.A.D.E.D. with shredded cheddar) as a snack. A SNACK! I’m likely to faint as my waistband expands just thinking about it.

  258. Helen in SC

    Great casserole and we’re enjoying it immensely–thank you. We never ate casseroles and I never knew they existed until I went off to college. Of the denied things over which I feel absolutely cheated? Tuna noodle casserole (still haven’t had any) and lasagna. Sweet stuff? Rarely, if ever, but at my age, most the stuff mentioned above didn’t exist. We somehow survived and I’ve never cared much for sugar as a result (though you wouldn’t know from my hips!). Thanks again, thoroughly enjoy your blog. Going back for more broccoli now…

  259. Limes

    I was the kid of immigrants. Most American food was unique and indulgent to me. Who wants more curry chicken when there is tuna noodle casserole or lasagna from the frozen aisle to be had. My parents were clearly into torture.

    I never had anything like this growing up. And it’s raining here. That means it’ll be on our dinner menu tonight.

  260. Emily

    My mom made something called broccoli puff when I was growing up (it involved bisquick, cheddar cheese (orange) and frozen broccoli). I LOVED it and always requested it for my birthday dinner. It’s probably been a good 15 years since I’ve had it (my tastes are a tad different now), but reading this recipe brought me back!

  261. Kori

    Being a child of Bangladeshi immigrant parents, we always had curry and rice for dinner. I had never tasted lasagna, casseroles, potpies etc until I was a teenager when I began to make them on my own, or attempt to I should say. However my dad worked at the 2nd Ave Deli restaurant for 30 years, so I also grew up on Jewish food. Matzoh ball soup, pierogies, blintzes, latkes, kasha varnishkes, were on our table along with daal, korma, and aloo gobi. Even, still, I missed the traditional American food lol.

  262. Lisa

    Looking forward to this one. I grew up in a strangely nutritionally mixed household. My dad was a kid in post-war Germany in an atmosphere of want,so grocery shopping with him was hilarious -he was all about the Frosted Flakes and other sweet stuff. My mom was the child of a very busy mom, and a working mom herself when I was little, so convenience foods were the easiest thing for her to cook. We only ever got TV dinners if my parents were going out and we had a sitter, and that was a huge treat! When my mom started staying home after my brother was born, she became a born-again granola mom, home-made bread and carob brownies. I like to think I’ve found a balance!

  263. Sugarmama

    Do you have two extra tablespoons of butter listed? At the top its 3 and then a little further down 2 – but I can only count 3 tbsp total. Just making sure I am not missing something – making it NOW!!can’t wait.

  264. Jen

    Bisquick pancakes with fake maple syrup, microwave popcorn, pop tarts, toaster strudels, gusher candies…the list goes on and on. My mom deprived me of all of these (which I eventually binged on in college) but gave me a deep love of cooking real food and making things from scratch. My kids don’t get any of this stuff either, and I’m happy about it

  265. Limes

    Made this tonight, and we agreed that there was just way too much cheese. I’d easily cut the cheese in half and still feel that it’s a really rich, guilty pleasure. I’d also up the wild rice to at least a cup and maybe a little more, too. Don’t get me wrong, the flavors were all there. I just felt like it was all sauce and cheese, and not enough “substance.” Will make again with those adjustments in mind!

  266. Never even knew a broccoli casserole was something I was supposed to have tried until I read this post. Just made this with brown jasmine rice. SO GOOD! Thanks for sharing.

  267. Yet another Anna

    My memory gave out while I was putting this casserole together.

    I cooked the rice in broth, with the onions and garlic, in the rice cooker, but totally forgot to add it to the broccoli mixture before the casserole dish went in the oven. (I did kinda think the broccoli mixture looked a bit skimpy in the dish, but didn’t think it through. I’d added water chestnuts and some leftover mushrooms and their gravy, since that’s what I usually add to ‘our’ broccoli casserole. Maybe that’s what distracted me from following the recipe?)

    It baked up just fine, though, and the rice made a nice side dish.
    The meal was nicely presentable, and dad didn’t even grumble about brown rice.

    The leftovers were gone in a flash, I must say.

  268. julie

    Hi there. I just wanted to suggest to those of you who want a creamy mac-n-cheese for the stove top, but something that tastes amazing and more adult than the kraft box stuff, you should really try the Modernist Cuisine Mac-n-Cheese. You use sodium citrate to emulsify whatever cheese you want to have as your sauce and voila! creamy deliciousness for your pasta. I’ve used pepper jack for a southwestern mac–n-cheese, smoked gouda, cheddar…Here’s a link (if that’s possible to share–this is my first time posting on here): It’s also very quick and simple.

  269. Sabra

    Oh my goodness! I make almost this exact dish right down to (what appears to be in the picture) the Lundberg Countrywild rice. My seventeen-year-old daughter refuses to believe that onions should serve as the base of anything, so as not to have to endure her dissecting the onions from her dinner, this is one dish where I concede the onion battle. When she goes off to college, I guess I can start adding them in…though something tells me I’ll be wishing I still had to leave them out.

  270. Carmen

    Aah you have so many already, but i actually called my best friends mom and asked her how she made her squash vegetables with cheese because we had never had it. My mom always just cooked the vegetable and put it on the plate. My friends mom that she was the greatest cook ever apparently after I called.

    I still don’t understand the need for casseroles now, but as my little one gets older ever month, I do feel the increasing need for one pot meals. Words I thought would never cross my lips.

    In my house, the one go-to comfort food was Meaty Spaghetti. Made in a giant cast-iron pan. The same pan we used for giant pancakes. Sunday’s were good.

  271. emc

    I made this dish last night and it really was wonderful. I had to make some tweaks (why does rice always take nearly double the amount of water any package instructions call for?@#!). I roasted the broccoli instead and used Kerrygold Dubliner cheddar and it came out so nicely. For those that think this dish is over the top, it’s true that I would probably halve the cheese on top and double the broccoli to make it slightly more virtuous but even as written, it isn’t too rich. The cheese sauce is perfectly balanced with all the other ingredients. This was a crowd-pleaser for sure and really easy.

  272. Stephanie

    Made this for dinner last night and I really wish I had used white cheddar instead of the orange stuff- I just didn’t think about it when I went shopping. Oh well! Also, I accidently put ALL of the cheddar in the cream sauce and forgot to only do 1/3…came out a bit too cheesy for my liking. Would use white cheddar and remember to add less cheese in the sauce next time. Other than that, it’s a great little side dish and could see it being a great addition to a holiday dinner.

  273. Jessica

    My favourite line from Big Night is: “Sometimes, pasta likes to be alone”. Maybe that is also Jacob’s broccoli motto?

  274. Ashby

    Had this for dinner last night – really, really delicious. Also really, really cheesy! Next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I think I will increase the rice by 1/2 – I loved the chewy/crunchy contrast with the cheesiness, and wanted more of it.

  275. The list of what I was not allowed to have was LONG. The items that caused the most pain (and I still have never had to this day) were marshmallow fluff and the cheese that would spray from a can. What added insult to injury was that my brother, six years younger, was allowed to have pretty much whatever he wanted.

  276. My husband treasures the broccoli rice cheese casserole recipe that his mother used to make every year. As you know, it is made with frozen broccoli, minute rice, cheese whiz, onions, celery and cream of mushroom soup. We make it every year for a holiday pot-luck party (by request) and I have to say, I love it (although I am a food snob). I will show him your version and give this a whirl–it looks delicious and satisfying (and more for me if hubby won’t try it!).

  277. Jennifer

    This recipe was wonderful! I made it for dinner tonight. My hubby loved it and my 9 month old daughter loved it whizzed up for her into a chunky mush. This will be made again and again in this house for sure!

    Like many here it was sugar cereals we never had at home. I wanted Count Chocula but when I was finally given it I found it nauseatingly sweet.

    1. deb

      Lisa — Sorry for the delayed response. The half-milk, half-stock lightens it. You can go all-in in either direction. All milk would make for a true bechamel, creamier and more heavy. All broth would be a veloute, with body but not as heavy (something closer to a light gravy). Hope that helps.

      anna — Just cook according to the package instructions. If you want to mix a few, just use the highest amount of water and longest cooking time between the packages.

      clyde — No, you should cook the rice according to package instructions if it’s something different. The milk/stock make the cheese sauce that it bakes with.

  278. Amy

    I longed to bake from mixes as a smal child, but figured out the inherent inferiority there by my teens. But also anything out of a box,like mac n cheese or hamburger helper, or soup from a can. Of course none of those things are in my pantry these days and my kids grew up understanding (I think!) why not.

  279. I made this for dinner last night except I used brown rice rather than wild rice. It was SO good and so easy to make. I think next time I’ll add in a little more rice but otherwise its fantastic!

  280. Catherine

    We made this for dinner a couple of days ago. It was really, really yummy. I wondered if I had accidentally made too much sauce, because it was a bit soupy when I put everything together. I think I’ll follow Vicki and add more rice next time, too. There will be a next time because this was delicious!

  281. Sugarmama

    Deb, thanks as always – it was absolutely delicious. Devoured by my 3 year old. I mentioned above about the butter – I think there is a typo – you actually have 5 tablespoons of butter noted in the list of ingredients, and only 3 accounted for (first item 3 tbsp and further down 2tbsp). sorry if my last note was vague. About to make the chocolate banana bread AND the kale salad. keep ’em coming.

  282. Karen

    My mum was very health conscious and a bit of a pioneer with making her own bread from scratch in the 1970s pre bread makers – she would even buy sacks of flour in bulk from the flour mill itself… However her bread could be a bit on the heavy side (pre strong bread flour and bread improver days) so my brothers had been known to throw the bread rolls like stones onto a neighbour’s roof… While I never thought to do that, chewing on these bread rolls was a good workout for your jaw and by lunchtime all the peanut butter had soaked into it so it was fairly dry… We also had powdered skim milk on our cereal which could be pretty awful if recently made up – warm with for some reason blue bits of powder undissolved in little balls… Eek… Full cream milk was only for cups of tea… Having full cream milk at a friend’s house on cereal was like heaven…juice was also rationed – a small half tumbler only was allowed at breakfast time. Now I think my Dad was onto something with the small quantities of juice. At the time I craved a large glass of juice served with meals other than breakfast… The other thing in short supply was berries which were very exotic and expensive – the picture on the cornflakes box of a few strawberries atop the flakes looked like a very extravagant breakfast to me! I still don’t think to put berries on my cereal which I think is a hangover from those tmes – strawberries were strictly for special occasion desserts!

  283. Nikki T

    This was stellar! We had it for dinner last night with red rice and half cauliflower(ran out of broccoli). I’d like to add mushrooms next time. Thanks for posting. Yum! Even my picky vegetarian husband licked the plate.

  284. deb

    sugarmama — I’m sorry, where? I cannot find at all what you are mentioning. (I mean, I’m sure I have a typo somewhere; I always do. I just can’t find it.) I see only 3 tablespoons in the ingredient list and a total of 3 called for in the recipe. Perplexed.

  285. Jessie

    Deb, The butter typo sugarmama was referring to is that your first ingredient listed is 3 Tbsp of butter, and then the 6th ingredient listed is 2 Tbsp of butter. Looking forward to making this, and the chocolate banana bread. This has been a good week on Smitten!

  286. Julia

    What I craved most from the banned foods list were the ham and cheese sandwiches on white sub rolls with dill pickle slices and oily dressing that my friend’s mom put in her school lunch box in fourth and fifth grade while I had whole wheat bread with cream cheese and my dad’s homemade mint jelly. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years now and would do anything to taste that mint jelly again (store bought is not the same) but it’s funny how well I remember the look and smell of those forbidden subs!

  287. Zoe Newman

    Hello – I am a big fan of your recipes (also the daughter of a woman who would never buy processed food, now the mother of a child who suffers the same terrible fate…), and am making this dish now. I wonder if the 8 oz of cheddar is right, though? I tend to be pretty generous with cheese, but even 4 oz seemed almost too much. Thanks!

  288. jen in SF

    entertaining comments from everyone! our house was a mixed bag: we got to eat lucky charms and frosted flakes, but also were the only kids we knew that would devour an entire fresh mango every day of the summer (no one else knew what a mango was in 1985). mom attempted to cook meals instead of buying frozen or canned, but they were made with all processed stuff. fettuccine alfredo was made with the noodles (overcooked), a ton of margarine, some low-fat milk and 2 cups of the kraft “parmesan” cheese that comes out of the green can with the yellow lid on top. quality stuff! at least it was accompanied by some over-steamed broccoli, though we wouldn’t touch it without velveeta :) for something exotic we’d get to have fried rice: rice-a-roni rice pilaf cooked to the instructions on the package, then scrambled with some eggs and a little soy sauce. what an adventure! don’t each much of that stuff anymore, thankfully. but i do confess to an occasional batch of kraft mac-n-cheese (that fake cheese powder brings back the memories!) with chopped hot dogs mixed in. the boyfriend has even embraced that one!

  289. RoxyInKansasCity

    This recipe looks delicious and will make it onto my dinner table soon. It’s exciting to find a new food blog and a great recipe in the same day!
    We were denied nothing but money was tight so mom rarely bought all the cool foods we wanted. Still, once in a while we got frosted flakes or Nehi Orange Soda. By necessity mom cooked almost all her meals from scratch and that went on until some of us grew up enough to work and bring home our own bad-for-us food.But she did buy some big hot dogs that were too red that she would boil and the water turned red. I loved them but it made me feel a bit suspicious about the quality of the dogs to see the water turn red.

    I must stick up for Broccoli-Rice Casserole! Now that I eat all organic foods I still have to admit that this dish is one of my all time favorites. Of course I have changed the recipe to all organic but still have not found anything to replace the cream of mushroom soup the recipe requires. Next time I make it I’ll saute mushrooms and make a roux or home made cheese sauce. Time to give up the hunt for a good tasting organic cream of mushroom soup.

  290. TG

    This recipe is amazing and so indulgent. I used 2% milk instead of whole, and used the Harris Teeter brand wild rice. Even though this is listed as a side dish, my SO and I just ate this for dinner. I upped the broccoli amount and served it with a side salad in attempt to feel better about eating cheesy rice for dinner.

    Like many other readers here, I grew up with two working parents, both with rotating/night shifts who had little time for cooking, but tried their best to have family dinners. When my mom had dinner duty it was TV dinners, Hamburger helpers, shake n bake chicken, sloppy joes, Velveeta mac and cheese, sometimes meatloaf if she had time. My dad, a firefighter, learned all his cooking at the fire house so when he had dinner duty, he made enormous trays of ziti, lasagna, or pots of beef stew or chili in quantities way too large for our family of 5. He froze half of whatever he cooked, which was smart of him but us kids really hated eating the same thing for days in row.

    Although we ate all sorts of convenience/processed foods, my parents drew the line at sugary cereal! If my mom was in a good mood she’d let us buy Honey Nut Cheerios. That was a special treat for us.

    I only recently got into cooking in the past few years (learning mostly from your site!) as it’s not a skill a grew up learning from my parents. I’m slightly envious of all the delicious homemade foods you grew up with, Deb. I don’t miss the processed foods I grew with, although every now and then I get a craving for that brownie that came with the Kid’s Cuisine frozen dinners!

  291. Sugarmama

    I am SO sorry to be a pain in the neck:). “Jessie” just below your note to me explained where it was (1st and 6th ingredient). Ugh. I feel like such a bother. It’s clearly not a big deal as everyone else just figured out to omit it. And heck – who doesn’t love a little extra butter if they included it. (forever bowing to the meals you put on my table!!)

    1. deb

      Sugarmama — OOOOOOOOH! Ugh. I’m so sorry. You are not a pain. I kept responding because I knew you weren’t crazy, there had to be an error somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. How are you and Jessie the only ones to see it? And how did I miss Jessie’s comment? So many questions. Thanks for keeping on about it; it’s now fixed. 3 tablespoons would have been correct.

  292. Cindy Boxer

    I’m making this right now. I just stirred the broccoli, the cheese sauce and the rice together. I followed the recipe more closely than I normally do because I sensed it would be amazing. I just licked the spoon and I confirm that my suspicions were correct. I cannot WAIT for it to come out of the oven!! Woo!!

  293. Emmy Lou

    It appears over three hundred people have already let you know, but I just had to add this recipe is tops! I have made probably 75% of the recipes in your cookbook and I always come here when searching for recipes – so I’m not exactly surprised. This one though, this one got my toddler AND husband to eat broccoli and ask for more. So. Good. And I grew up on pot-luck broccoli casserole, I’ve been around the block and back ;).

  294. Lauri

    I made this last weekend and will make it again this weekend, it was absolutely delicious! I also added leftover grilled chicken to make it a main course.

  295. Sonia

    I made this dish last week, and it was delicious! I substituted Chinese white rice for the wild rice, and added a cup of red beans for more protein. My husband had one portion, I ate the rest within two days. I am 7 months pregnant–this casserole was just what the baby wanted!

  296. Paige

    Denied as a kid: I see from a couple of other comments that we were not alone in being denied any milk that did not enter the house in powdered form. My frugal mother mixed powdered milk sometimes twice a day for four milk-loving kids. My father could not stand it. He kept his own store-bought whole milk in the refrigerator. We were not allowed to touch it. On special occasions, he would give us a small glass of that heavenly, smooth substance as a reward. We called it “Daddy’s Milk.” When I left home for college, I dutifully bought and mixed powdered milk for months until I realized that I could now buy “Daddy’s Milk” for myself!

  297. Emily

    This is so unbelievably delicious. We made it on Thursday evening and ate the leftovers for lunch on Friday–and it was so good we made it again for dinner on Friday night. We used extra-sharp white cheddar. Wonderful!

  298. Oh my goodness. This is soooo good! We made it tonight for dinner, and wow, both girls (4 and 7) ate it up! The youngest was hesitant at first, in the end, she ate it well. Yum and yum. Everyone but me had rotisserie chicken with it. Thanks for sharing. And this is so much better than the classic dish my MIL makes. You weren’t missing anything …

  299. amy

    This looks wonderful! I recently taught myself to make chicken pot pie at my husband’s request. (It certainly wasn’t in my South African mother’s repertoire.) Apparently I make amazing chicken pot pie? I’m chalking it up to making my own cream of chicken soup and using puff pastry instead of boring pre-made pie crust.

    And I hear ya about a childhood sans sugary cereals. My parents’ neighbor started giving my sister and me boxes of Cap’n Crunch for Christmas because it was so special. I’m 25 and every year that we go home for the holidays, she still has a gift-wrapped box of cereal for me.

  300. Monica

    I’m Mexican and we grew up eating rice, beans, chicken and caldo. I loved it and am lucky that we had such amazing food. However, American food (pizza, spaghetti, meatloaf) was this exotic, slightly bland and tomato-based food that my mom would occasionally try to make. Everytime she did my dad would complain and say he wanted his frijoles. Eating at school was the way in which we got to eat greasy foods and I always felt slightly guilty because my mom had cut all the fat out of our food. Making dishes from your food blog is making ethnic White American food for me. Your recipes are delicious, but when I make them for my mom and dad they always complement weird and exotic food.

  301. Megan

    Delicious and pre-schooler approved (“Can you make this every night?”)! I used my rice cooker with the amounts you suggested (brown rice setting) and it worked out great. I used a little more broccoli and a little less cheese, and lowfat milk, and made it ahead of time, refrigerated, then baked/broiled according to instructions. Maybe not every night, but certainly often!

  302. Sophie

    I think the only thing I’m missing out on is a good cheese. Cheddar, Gouda, anything with a high milk content. My brother is lactose-intolerant and we only ever have goat cheese or parmesan. I guess we won’t be having this for dinner. Looks so good!

  303. Alice

    This was fantastic! I used buttermilk, because it was on hand, and it was so delicious. Three of us devoured it as a main course for dinner.

  304. I liked this a lot! I doubled it and found it to be a bit… soupy? I am sure that I did all my math right. I think adding an egg to the cheese sauce would be a great way to help it keep some shape once it’s baked. Even better the next day!

  305. Colleen

    Made this last night and I LOVED it! I used all wild rice and that is great in the casserole because it stays nice and firm. I also added a few cups of organic mixed vegetables from Costco because my kids pick around broccoli. And finally to make it a one dish meal I added some chicken breast. Fantastic! The cheese sauce cooked up like a dream!! I don’t have a cast iron skillet so I used one pot for the primary ingredients. Started with sauteing the onions, adding in the rice at the end I added in the chicken then veggies until all were done then layered all that in a 9×14 casserole dish. Then I used the same pan for making the cheese sauce, poured over the ingredients and baked until hot. Last few minutes I upped the kid-friendliness by topping with fried onions from Trader Joe’s. This would be a fantastic recipe for using up leftover rice of any kind and would really speed up the preparation. Thanks!!!

  306. Colleen

    One more thing- the cheese sauce cooked up like a DREAM!! I used the ground mustard and cayenne and finely shredded sharp Cabot cheddar and it was smooth, creamy and tasty!!! I always worry cheese sauces will be goopy or taste like flour, but this one was so delicious while being nearly effortless. Followed the directions to the letter and it worked perfectly! Very happy! My only thing is I wish I had doubled the sauce as I did add extra ingredients, but it was still excellent. It might have worked for me because I had some extra liquid in the rice mixture after cooking- maybe from the extra vegetables? Definitely a make again recipe.

  307. Heather

    This is slightly off-topic, but I think still fits within the parameters of the discussion: I was the only child in my class (can you hear the bitterness?) not allowed to go on the school trip to the Hershey Chocolate Factory. My mother could imagine no educational advantage to be gained from a trip to a chocolate factory. While this would seem to be undisputable logic, I think, of all my classmates, I was the candidate Most Likely To End Up Working in a Chocolate Shop. And now, it will never happen. Thanks, Mom.

  308. Broccoli and cheddar cheese is my favorite dish. My whole family likes it to have it in dinner 2-3 times in a week. Its rich of many vitamins and full of calories. Its too delicious with cheddar cheese.

  309. Martha Bilski

    We mostly had take out pizza. My mother’s idea of a meal was soup out of the can. Long story. I taught myself to cook from the Joy of Cooking in college. the first thing I ever made was brownies. Pure happiness . My brother and I ate at friends houses. Alot. I am grateful for those parents of friends who fed us.
    My kids ate alot of mac and cheese from a box until the day when I noticed dried maggots floating around in the water. Funny thing my four kids (who did not get a chance to eat the bugs) are all good cooks! I love to bake to this day and now my husband cooks for us.

  310. Elizabeth

    I won’t say that we were really deprived of tasty things growing up, but we only got a sweetened cereal once a year, during our birthday weeks. My mom worked nights at the hospital so we did have a lot of convenient foods (which is why I refused to make Hamburger Helper as an adult, even at my most rock-bottom single-mom financial state).

    My mom is a huge fan of making recipes she finds in the USA Weekend section of the Sunday paper, and things like that. Nothing will make my Gentleman roll his eyes quite like my mother saying, “Come over for dinner tomorrow night! I’m trying a new recipe.”

  311. Shop-bought cakes and shop jam were denied us!
    My Mum baked every day of her life, including the day she passed on.
    My brother, for his 9th birthday, decided to invite his entire class of 45 kids to a party at our house! My mother knew nothing about it till they arrived, so she gave them a football, sent them out to the front lawn, and set to baking buns and bread for 45 9y/o boys! They thought it was the best party they had ever been at! I often think of that when I see party factories that kids go to nowadays!
    This casserole looks perfect for no-meat day!

  312. Eliza

    I dont usually make creamy casserole type dishes so this was a departure from the norm for us. The lowest setting on my induction cooktop was too low so I had to bump it up to 3 and cook the rice for longer and then I was out of time for the oven portion so I sped that up with a brief bake followed by a broil. That said, it’s delicious! The kids arent in love with it, but maybe someday. I’ll try it again, maybe with a little more rice and broc (it seemed heavy on the cheese sauce). It’s a great winter dish! Thanks!

  313. Rachel

    This looks so good. Can’t wait to try it! My favourite way to eat broccoli is boiled or stir fried with oyster sauce.

  314. Made this tonight. Totally delicious, thank you, Deb. I used less cheddar (because it was all I had) and some parmesan as well, and 2% milk. Just if you need more datapoints. I could have polished it all off but will save some for tomorrow with sausages.

  315. AngAK

    We had a pretty balanced menu, nothing really denied and in the age of “modern” cooking we had plenty of “helpers” and casseroles tried out on us. My parents were German immigrants, so most of the meals were meat and potatoes and such and Mom was a terrific baker. My whole elementary years were plagued with tough Lithuanian rye bread sandwiches though. I longed for the snowy white Wonder bread sandwiches of my classmates. we did have sugared cereals and when Mom discovered the Wonder thrift shop, we finally got some nice soft white bread.

  316. ksm

    This was delicious! Thanks for another winner. This and the other wild rice gratin (I use chard and mushrooms in that one) were huge hits at our house!

  317. Krystina

    Growing up, I had this as part of our Thanksgiving Meal! It brings back the fondest memories. We never used rice. It was just loads of broccoli, cheese, and bacon. Yes, a lot of bacon. And we topped it with bread crumbs and extra sharp cheese. Mmmmm … when I think of this, I think of a very full belly and stories around the family table. Love it!!!!!

  318. Beth

    I made this with cauliflower and bulgur( used bulgur because it cooks fast. It worked well with extra sharp cheddar. A fried egg on top was a great addition and upped the protein.

  319. Made this tonight only we didn’t have broccoli so used spinach. Stirred it in with the rice right at the end of rice cooking to wilt it. FABULOUS, will be putting this in the “keeper” file!

  320. Ana

    We made this last night and it was delicious! But, dare I say it, too cheesy and decadent. Next time, we’ll be doubling the amounts of rice and broccoli for the same quantity of cheese sauce and cheese.

  321. FTM

    Do you think this would freeze well? I’m due with my first baby next week and trying to stock the freezer with yummy meals.

    I was thinking of freezing just before the last step of baking. Thanks!

  322. Theresa P

    made it, added some white wine to the sauce and threw in chicken (my family of carnivores really wanted meat) It was delicious!!!!!

  323. Susan

    I have been loving this dish and tried to make it this evening, only to find out too late I didn’t have any broccoli – not even frozen. What I did have was a massive bunch of kale, so I thinly sliced it, gave it a nice lemon juice/salt/olive oil massage and added it to the wild rice. The only other thing I did differently was to add some nutmeg to the cheese sauce and also used some smoked gruyere and havarti leftovers in the sauce as well. It was so good, proving once again that so many of your recipes really are foolproof no matter how hard we try to mess them up. Thank you for a wonderful comfort recipe.

  324. Cat

    I tried this with quinoa since I don’t like wild rice, and it was very tasty but a little soupy, as Deb anticipated. I might cut down on the cheese especially (but maybe all of the sauce).

  325. frances

    my boyfriend loves this so much he tried to make it for me a few weeks ago when i was working late one night. unfortunately, he couldn’t remember where i’d gotten the recipe and the one he used was just okay. “when in doubt,” i said, “smitten kitchen.” “DUH!” he said. “i should have known.” last night i altered it a bit by roasting 1/2 lb of chopped gold potatoes in the oven with 1/2 lb of broccoli, while the rice was cooking, in the same dish i was going to bake the whole thing in. dumped the cooked rice over that and made the cheese sauce in the rice pot. (one less pot!) i always reduce the cheese by probably half. other times i’ve stirred in chopped spinach or kale. love this one!

  326. Lisa

    This recipe was so delicious my husband wants me to make it every week! I used cornstarch instead of flour because I am gluten free but some changes I made were mostly because thats what I had on hand. I did not add the mustard or cayenne, I used a cheddar/jack blend and I used beef broth. It really turned out amazing! Thanks. I love looking at the other changes people made because I could see this turning into its own food group.

  327. Tara

    Hi Deb! I’ve had this printed on my counter for months to make. Finally ready! I have a 3 year old and 2 year old and have no clue how any parent ever gets dinner on the table. Anyway, I use Rice Select Royal Blend with white, brown, wild and red rice. It’s quick cooking and say to cook 1 cup for 15 minutes, covered at a simmer, once boiling and then to let stand covered 5 to 10 minutes. Should I go ahead and do the same here since that’s the rice I am using?

  328. Mel

    Hi Deb!! This was my first time making cheese sauce, and my first time ever using a broiler (incredible I know). Oh my gosh it was all such a success!! The cheese sauce was ridiculously tasty, and the entire casserole was so good!!! I only had short grain brown Japanese rice in the house so I cooked it separately and then added in the sauteed onions. I also halved the amount of cheddar as we don’t like things too cheesy, and I sprinkled some Parmesan along with the cheddar on top. Otherwise followed the recipe to a “t!!” So delicious, and SO was impressed – simple yet utterly delicious. Perfect comfort food! Thank you!!
    P.S. I am looking forward to working my way through your website winter/fall recipes in the upcoming months!!

  329. Lyndsae

    Oh my, was that delicious! I (mostly) followed your recipe, but increased the rice to 1 cup and cooked it with vegetable broth, and topped the whole thing with crushed saltines. Yum!!! Thanks!

  330. Kristen

    Hi Deb, just made this tonight – delicious. :)

    Quick question: Where does the chicken broth come in? I see it in the ingredients list, but I don’t see it in the recipe. I ended up adding chicken bullion to the rice.
    Thanks again for a fabulous recipe!

  331. Cath

    I can’t eat onions without serious regret (can’t even be around them if someone else is chopping). Should I replace them with something, or just omit them?

  332. Jeannie

    Hi Deb,

    Can I make it up to the point before broiling, keep it in the fridge, then reheat when we’re ready? If so, can you please advise? I want to make this as a side for Thanksgiving! Can’t wait. :)

  333. Liz

    Husband made this last night but it took him an hour and a half! Not sure why it took so long, but I don’t think this will make it into our dinner rotation as that’s too long for a weeknight meal.

    We liked it OK but thought it needed salt, and neither of us could taste the mustard or cayenne at all. I think we’re filing this one under “miss,” but to each her own!

  334. Erin

    I made this tonight and I loved it. Used regular dijon instead of mustard powder and pico limon instead of cayenne and it tasted great. Even my 3 year old ate it. I made the rice the day before so it was pretty easy to throw all the ingredients together. I was tempted to spoon the cheese sauce into my mouth; it was that tasty. Thanks for a good recipe. I also used 2% instead of whole and I couldn’t tell the difference.

  335. Kara

    I made this last night and it was delicious! The flavor of the cheese sauce is the best of any I’ve made. I added chicken (for my husband’s happiness) and used all wild rice. I think you could even make it as a stovetop recipe if you’re too impatient to bake it.

    Thank you!

  336. Ohemgee, delish — another knock out! Just made this today, perfect for the cold and wintry night. My wife didn’t miss meat, but I did — next time I’m going to add a side of chicken sausage as many suggested. We added extra onions because yum, as well as extra mustard.

  337. Syd

    This is outta this world! I made it using cheater rice, the uncle bens 2 minute in the microwave packs. Soooo I know what you’re thinking EW GROSS! I think because the rice in those packs is usually a bit more starchy, this basically became risotto in the oven. Its magic oven risotto and its my new favourite thing for lunch! Thank you!

  338. Monica8866

    I make this dish all the time, it’s wonderful. I add a handful of sliced almonds right before the “top cheese”. I think it adds something nice.

  339. I made a double batch of this for Teacher Appreciate Week at my son’s school. It disappeared, and I heard it was yummy. Except for a small taste of the sauce while cooking, I didn’t really get to try it. I agree with Kara above that the cheese sauce is exceptional (even when I skimped on the cheese). I think I’ll be making it again quite soon.


  340. Abby

    Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe! I wound up making it with quinoa instead of wild rice but it was still delicious. The quinoa did kind of take over so I think next time I will use maybe a pound and a half of broccoli instead and definitely switch to sharp cheddar instead of the mild I had on hand. The best part is that we had this as a side to some barbecued chicken so there were plenty of leftovers for the next couple days. Oh, and my one year old gobbled it up. :)

    1. deb

      Kim — I haven’t frozen it, and have only limited experience freezing dishes, but I don’t think it’s necessary to undercook the rice. Rice tends to firm up after cooking, anyhow, and wild rice already takes so long to soften… I doubt it would get gummy or overly soft after freezing.

  341. Kathy K

    I’m sure that I’ve read through at least half of the ‘comments’ on this recipe, but wanted to mention that I recognize the rice that you used as “Lundberg’s Wild Blend”, which happens to be my favorite rice! Their ‘old’ packaging had a wonderful pilaf recipe on the back, which I make as often as possible. Your use of the wild blend in this recipe is a ‘genius’ idea and delicious. Thanks so much!

  342. Niki

    Made this tonight with brown rice, and I had some shredded chicken in broth in the freezer that I also threw in after using the broth. Absolutely delicious!! I can’t wait to make it again with the wild rice blend, looks excellent.

  343. Kristine

    Made this tonight with half broth, half milk, almost a 1/4 tsp cayenne, three chicken Italian sausage links and a couple cups of shredded chicken from my homemade chicken stock. My family meeds meat and less cheese so I omitted the cheese in the sauce and only put it on top-So yummy!! Thanks again Deb!

  344. Patty O’Something

    Deb! I love your divergent approach to cooking, and your style of writing about food and recipes. And so I’d like to ask you a question. (I’m asking it here because I searched “Rabbit” on your site and it suggested this post first)

    I have acquired a few whole rabbits from a friend, and want to cook one of them up in a new way: I’m not interested in Julia Child-style European high cuisine, nor “country rabbit” in a stew or roasted with root veggies. Both of those things are good, but predictable.

    I’m looking for an approach that is novel but that still allows the lean meat of the rabbit to shine. I’m able to butcher the rabbit into cuts if needed… Any ideas of another recipe that I might modify to meet this goal?

    1. deb

      Patty — Thank you. I have never, ever cooked with rabbit before so I’m not terribly helpful here. I thought that maybe April Bloomfield had a great rabbit-inclusive recipe but now I cannot find reference to it. I’ll holler back if I find something good.

  345. Jess.

    Rabbit paella is rather common in Spain, and of course paella is the most delicious preparation of any protein ever. Lots of recipes on-line. xox

  346. Amanda Richardson

    Could you work your magic on an asparagus casserole? My husband remembers something his grandmother used to make but my MIL never could find her recipe and was never able to find anything similar.

    Also, this will be made for our Christmas dinner this year! It sounds delicious!!

  347. Heather

    I made this and it was good! It was so good that my 11 yo son who is very picky loved it and asked me to make it again soon. He ate it for dinner, snack after school and breakfast too. I’ve been making a lot of recipes from this site and they’ve all been great.

  348. Laurie Halliday

    I made this tonight with cauliflower (it’s what I had in the house) and the teen girl AND teen boy and I loved it! Do you think it could be made ahead to the point where you put it all in the oven-proof skillet, refrigerate and cook it a day or two later?

  349. Alyson

    Love that I’m not the only person coming to comment on this 18 months later…

    Made this last night – delicious! Thought I had regular rice options in the pantry but didn’t so I actually made up a pack of Toasted Almond rice pilaf to use and it worked out great in the end.

    Also, side note: best cheese sauce ever. My new go-to recipe for basic cheese sauce.

  350. Courtney

    Hi Deb!
    My sister has been praising your website for years now and I finally decided to try a few recipes. I am so sad that I haven’t tried your recipes earlier!!! This broccoli casserole is the most AMAZING dish in the world! My birthday is next week and my mother-in-law asked what I wanted for dinner. My husband laughed when I told him I wanted this casserole. Thank you for creating a perfect recipe! Oh, and I love your pancakes too. :)

  351. Tracey

    Made this tonight with many reservations as I have tried other recipes that were similar but lacked flavor! I am so happy I trusted you to perfect this dish! It was so on point and delicious. This will be a keeper for me that I will be happy to make over and over again! You rock Deb!

  352. Julia

    Want to make this for thanksgiving.
    Do you think it could be made the day ahead and then baked just before serving?
    Time is at a premium on Thursday:-)

  353. Ann

    We made this over the weekend & it was fantastic. Thank you for this recipe, my life is forever changed. OK…maybe not really, but it was delicious. The recipe was made exactly as written, I probably could have gotten the cheese sauce a little thicker, but I was getting hungry.

  354. MelissaBKB

    The first time I made it I thought the sauce wasn’t cheesy enough and a little bland. This time I did everything the same except I poured out about half the white sauce before stirring in the cheese. It was exactly the taste in the final product I was looking for!

  355. Mary D

    I love this, and make it with multi-colored quinoa (and I cut down the cheese by about half, because I am that kind of crunchy mom). It comes out great every time!

  356. Alice

    I just spent 20 min. or more reading all the comments about denied foods. I laughed so hard I was crying! Growing up in the 1950s, I wasn’t really denied any foods, but my widowed mom, who worked full-time, had no time to cook. When she came home from work, she simply broiled whatever meat she took out of the freezer before she left for work that morning. My kids can’t believe that we ate meat just about every night. They are so jealous since they grew up with practically no meat at all.
    The funniest food-related oddity I can recall from childhood is that my brother and I each happily ate baby food jarred plain spinach as DESSERT! Wherever did that idea come from! I have no idea (and mom is no longer alive, so I can’t ask her). When I tell friends about this custom, they can’t believe it. But it is true. To this day I love spinach, but I don’t eat baby food spinach, just fresh spinach, and not for dessert.

  357. Kiran

    Hmmm…I just made this and it looks and tastes WAY too cheesy. And trust me, I LOVE cheese. So if I’m sayin’ it’s too cheesy, that’s sayin’ something. I’m not sure that the proportions here are entirely accurate. I even added an entire can of lentils to the grain blend and it still looks like a big ol’ soupy cheese mess.

    Next time I make it, I’ll likely use 1/2 the cheese called for in the recipe and see how it turns out.

  358. Kiran

    Oh, I should also add- sprinkling extra lentils on top before the broil adds a nice crunchy touch – give it a whirl!

  359. Rachel

    My kids will have the same list of foods they were denied…I have no problem with that!! After a car accident when I was pregnant with my second son, I remember telling the insurance agent dealing with my case that I had to feed my family fish sticks because my mobility was limited.
    My kids might enjoy broccoli this way :)

  360. Rachel Faulkner-Jones

    Made this for the first time tonight – it’s definitely going in the weekly rotation! I used French Carmargue Red rice because our supermarket (in Scotland) didn’t stock wild, and it worked really well – it did need twice the amount of liquid when boiling the rice and onions though. Casseroles in the UK are meat stews, not gratin-style oven bakes, so I almost glossed over this one because it sounded very odd to British ears, but I’m SOOO glad I did! It got the thumbs up from the baby too (I made it without salt or cayenne, but otherwise to the letter of the recipe), which is a huge bonus!

  361. Meg

    My mom never bought Hamburger Helper, or any “helper” type boxed dinner kits. I was always so jealous of my friends until I had my first place and bought it for myself. After just one bite, I realized how blessed I am to have a mom who took the time to make us helper-free meals!

  362. The only food my Mum was funny about when I was a kid was raw eggs- this was after a big outbreak of salmonella in the UK. I remember having ‘apple snow’ when I was small, but after the salmonella issue Mum refused to make it anymore because of the raw egg in it- which made me very sad because I remember apple snow being completely delicious, like eating an apple-flavoured cloud.

  363. Dorothy

    This blog post made me laugh out loud for a few reasons! One, I too was denied cheesy broccoli bakes like this and would make up for lost time at the buffets where I would eat plate after plate of basically velveeta cheese with a sprinkling of broccoli. And two, my daughter is the same way – thou shalt not let any grain touch something else….

    So I made this without the rice. And I used unsweetened soy milk instead of regular milk. I think I used less cheese out of preference as well.

    Either way it was a lovely, cheesy throwback to old-desires!

    Thank you!

  364. Maria

    While I did enjoy this a lot, I do think that the cheese could be reduced by a good fourth to a third without compromising the flavor of the dish. Very, very delicious!

    1. deb

      No, and just to clarify, I use a wild rice “blend” which has all sorts of other rice in it and I find all sorts of wild rice-haters love this. (Brand is Lunderg, btw.)

  365. Hilary

    Delicious. I had left over wild rice so I added the onion & garlic straight to the cheese sauce. Made as a trial run for Thanksgiving & it definitely made the cut! Thank you!

  366. Shelly

    Delicious! I have some food restrictions due to severe allergies, so coming across this comfort-food recipe was wonderful! My mom used to make the “original” version with the Cheez Whiz — feeding that to my kids with the processed ick was hard enough, so when I was diagnosed with the allergies–there was just no way. But sometimes I miss a good, nostalgic bite of comfort. I modified your recipe to make it gluten-free (celiac on top of the allergies!) and dairy-free (and nut-free) and it turned out wonderfully. I’d make a little less of the “cheese” sauce next time–I had more than enough and just used the extra with some chips and cheese sort of concoction. The whole family loved it–even my gluten-loving husband went back for seconds. Thank you for the recipe!

  367. Trace

    So good. I used 100% wild rice, cauliflower instead of broccoli, half the called for cheese, plenty of crushed red pepper and dijon mustard, and added .75lbs Italian pork sausage. So good!

  368. This was a hit with the family! I used the entire box of Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice (without the seasoning pkg) and reduced the amount of cheese I sprinkled on top but added some fried onions to the top and it added a nice, tasty crunch.

  369. Courtney

    Delicious! I made the recipe as written, but added two cooked and cut up chicken breasts to make it into a whole meal. My husband, who thinks he hates casseroles, loved it!

  370. Made this and it turned out wonderfully! Didn’t have mustard so sprinkled in a little nutmeg. Also added some kale sauteed with garlic and red chili flakes for added veggies. This is definitely going into the dinner rotation!

      1. Lilah S

        Mine was soupy as well. Little more flour or less broth wouldve probably helped. Cooked a few minutes longer and that lessened the liquid. Yummy though! Added Field Roast sausage, YES PLEASEEEEE!

    1. Kathryn

      Just made for the first time. Mine was also soupy and too cheesy. Hard to imagine that! But I look forward to making again with maybe 4 oz cheese. I did not use broth. I also seasoned the rice and broccoli with Baharat (from New York Shuk, thanks Deb!) and it complemented the meal beautifully.

  371. Annette

    I made this last week and was disappointed. While it tasted good, it was watery and not creamy at all.What did I do wrong and how to improve?

  372. Karen

    Oreos! My (evil) mother made homemade cookies almost daily and fresh pies regularly. She was an amazing family cook and, if she hadn’t died much too young, might even have had a blog of her own! I credit her for my (and my sisters’) love of all things related to food and cookery. BTW – I’m making this wild rice casserole tonight to go with roasted duck breast. Thinking of replacing the broccoli with artichoke hearts. Will let you know how it goes.

  373. My grocery store rather unbelievably didn’t have broccoli this week, so I made it with rapini instead – I might even like it better that way than the original.

  374. Rachael Gaedeke

    Just made this for dinner. I used quinoa instead of rice and didn’t add stock or put it in the oven at all. Delicious straight from the stovetop, done in 30 minutes.

  375. Made this exactly as written and loved it as a side. Also make a version as an entree by adding 3 sticks of celery, two ears of fresh corn kernels, and some previously cooked diced chicken. The basic recipe is fabulous just as written, but it also offers so many possibilities for customizing to personal tastes, dietary restrictions, or just using up what’s in the fridge!

  376. Jess B

    Made this tonight and it came out very soupy. We used a brown rice wild rice mix, and twice as much onion as the recipe called for. Could either of those things explain this?

    1. Katrina

      Onion (and most vegetables ) release liquid while cooking, so doubling the onion added some extra liquid to the mix. Next time adjust it by reducing the amount of broth if you are doubling the onion.

  377. Rachelle

    Wow! This is so, so delicious! I made this almost exactly as written — substituting brussel sprouts and cauliflower for the broccoli, (a little less) smoked gouda for the cheddar, and whole wheat instead of AP flour since those are the things I had on hand. I couldn’t stop eating it before I even put it in the oven and my husband claims the leftovers were even better AND he would rather eat this than the beef I made to go with it (high praise). Thank you so much for yet another wonderful recipe. I can’t wait to make this again soon or try the version in your original cookbook!

    1. April Northam

      So you made the broccoli, cheddar, and wild rice casserole….*without* the broccoli, *without* the cheddar and a different amount of cheese, and a different flour.

      Hmm…..sounds like you made a NEW recipe. May I suggest calling it Cauliflower and Brussel Sprout with Gouda Bake?

  378. Jan Matthews

    Made this today using Smart Balance, almond milk and vegetable Better Than Bouillon and it was delicious! Thanks for another keeper Deb!

  379. I made this tonight for dinner. It was delish! I too grew up in a house that never had any of those “good” items you described. I have never bothered with a broccoli casserole but this is different it is natural and wholesome. Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  380. rachael moloney

    Not sure what I did wrong. Cooked the rice fully. Was very runny and had a lot of liquid in the dish. I also felt like it was too heavy. Might remake and make with soy milk. Want to like this as it has all the things I love.

  381. Ashley

    I made this with a few edits.

    No cream or water–just extra butter and chicken stock.
    Instead of just cheddar, I used three types of cheese: white cheddar, sharp English cheddar, and blue cheese.

    My husband said this is one of his favorite dishes I have ever made. Will definitely be making again!

  382. Ali

    Made this tonight. I added some chopped up chicken on top before covering with sauce. Baked for an hour. We all loved it even my picky 7 & 9 year old sons. Thank you

    1. Mary

      Sausage sounds like a great idea. Thanks for that.
      I’ve used left over chicken, added green beans, sometimes corn.
      It’s very adaptable.

  383. Liz Foster

    I am sure that I learned in “Home Ec” the guaranteed-to-have-no-lumps method of making a white sauce. After the butter-flour mixture cooks for a minute, turn off the heat Dump in all of the liquid. Stir. Turn the heat back on and cook. Always makes smooth sauces.

    I’m going to add some cooked chicken to this to make it a whole meal.

  384. allthingclever

    Sorry to repeat a previously asked questions but I couldn’t find your answer. How about using a nice organic frozen broccoli?

  385. I’ve made this a bagillion times! I have a super long commute to and from work (1hr and 45 minutes each way?!) so this is great to come home to (and reheat).

    I usually roast the broccoli instead of boiling because I like the added flavour/can’t stand casseroles that are even thinking about getting watery. I also cover this baby with breadcrumbs and little pats of butter, just because I can.

  386. Shelley Steiner

    grew up in KCMO, with Stephenson’s Apple Farm green rice casserole. It’s essentially this recipe, but uses lots of chopped parsley. It was one of those holiday traditions for many years and updated in the 70’s with chopped broccoli.

    1. Deb Evans

      Oh, I loved that place! And the green rice. I still have their little cookbook! I grew up in Omaha but we made many treks to Stephenson’s!

  387. Mary

    Made this once and it turned out a bit watery. Made it again tonight and roasted the broccoli instead of boiling to reduce the moisture. Solved the watery issue and it was delicious! The only modification I made both times was to add 2/3- 3/4 of the cheese to the sauce and top with remaining plus I added cholula to the sauce for an added kick.

    1. Macy Glynn

      I used raw cut up chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) and just sauteed them after I sauteed the onions (threw the chicken in to brown for a couple of minutes after the onions). It was fantastic.

  388. phyllis

    When I was very young and was visiting my Italian girlfriend across the street, her mother sliced Italian bread and spread real butter on it: thought I died and went to heaven. My mother always had white bread with margarine: yuck. Also, we only had canned veggies, i.e., soggy asparagus, etc.

  389. Nina in Zurich

    After reading a few comments about the casserole being watery, I gave the cooked broccoli a ride in the salad spinner before mixing it with the rice. Try it –this is very easy and eliminates a *lot* of water. Thank you for the recipe, Deb! I and the family really enjoyed it.

  390. Renee

    I used all wild rice, steamed the broccoli to cut down wateriness, and sautéed 8 ounces of mushrooms and 2 diced stalks of celery with the onions. Also added dash of fresh nutmeg (once across the box grater) and some leftover Parmesan to the sauce. It was popular as the vegetarian main dish at a party. But that’s a lot of dishes to wash, even using the same pan to cook the rice, the sauce, and the final bake\broil.

  391. This is now a Thanksgiving staple at our house. I’m planning to serve it again this year. Do you think it would work if I did everything up to assembly the day before and then put it in the oven to warm just before serving?

  392. Marian

    Confused with the “wild rice blend”. So not just full on wild rice – do you have a brand/suggestion? Couldn’t find any blends at my Kroger! Thanks!

  393. Michelle B

    Would it be OK to use the bag of frozen brocoli (without the stems) from Costco? Thank you in advance, Deb! This looks like another winner. :)

  394. Whitney

    I’m bringing this as a side dish to a friends house tomorrow. I was thinking I could make it a day ahead and skip the broiler part until right before we serve it. After reheating it, of course. Have you made this a day ahead and how did it hold up? Seems like it would be fine. Thx!

    P.S. I grew up on this but my mom used to make it with chicken. Brings back happy memories.

  395. Liz B.

    Made this tonight with double the broccoli and sauce (still with about 8 oz medium sharp cheddar), with shallots instead of onions. I used about a cup of jasmine rice with 1 3/4 cups of water and cooked it on the stovetop (with the shallots) for about 20 mins, then heat off w/ lid on for another 10 (the old-school stove-top method, since I’d already dirtied the pot sauteing the shallots). I erred on the side of slightly less water than usual for the rice in case the casserole released a lot of water as some people commented but it was fine. The sauce could definitely use more mustard/seasoning, but overall I was really happy with this dish! The sauce drapes nicely over everything without absolutely drowning the broccoli in cheese.

  396. I made this and it is delicious. I didn’t have a pound of broccoli, so ended up with 1/3 broccoli, 1/3 cauliflower, 1/3 carrot mix.

    I concur with other users that the amount of roux and cheese could be decreased, and amount of grain increased, with great results.

    I’ll make this again with the changes listed above.

  397. Mb

    Next time 100% wild rice. I used far more broccoli and less cheese but it was still amazing. With a vat of leftovers I made soup. Added three cups veggie broth , heated up, hit with the stick blender and added more cheese. Topped with cheesy croutons. It was fabulous!

  398. Terry

    Just wanted you to know that I make this all the time! I add chicken (cut up cooked breasts or leftover rotisserie) and usually double it to make two casseroles. It’s my fifteen-year-old’s favorite dinner!

  399. Jane

    Has anyone had luck freezing this? I am trying to get better at meal prepping etc with things full of veggies. If you had success, did you freeze before or after baking? Thanks!

  400. So I made this last night and I don’t know what I was expecting, but oh man it blew my expectations out of the water- it was amazing! I practically licked the plate. I can’t wait to have the leftovers, maybe with shredded rotisserie chicken or a fried egg? This will definitely be made again!’

  401. Amelia

    We have discovered that this works really well with roasted cauliflower instead of broccoli! The cauliflower is beautiful and cheap in the markets right now and it’s so so good roasted in this casserole. Next time I’ll add some feta to the cheese on top too.

  402. Jennifer

    Can you make this in advance and then hold before the oven? Wondering if the rice will get too gummy! Serving this with roasted carrots and pork tenderloin. It’s my go-to, prep in the morning, bake when I get home from kid’s practice dinner.

  403. Corrie

    Has anyone tried this with roasted broccoli instead of boiled? Tempted to do so but was hoping someone had tried it and could give me feedback!

  404. The only seasonings my mother used were salt and garlic powder so there were many dishes I never experienced until adulthood. As a teen, I started experimenting with spices which led to years of mockery over the cinnamon in the spaghetti sauce. When I discovered Ina Garten’s pastitsio recipe, I felt so validated. 😂

  405. Melinda Novak

    I just made this because it had nostalgia written all over it. I’m confused about some of the measurements though. The recipe says to use 2/3 cup chicken stock, but couldn’t find where that was supposed to be used. I assumed it would be for the wild rice, but the instructions said to use 1 1/3 cups of water. My rice did seem like it had too much water after cooking. Thoughts? Clarification?

  406. Jane

    I’d never heard of broccoli until I met my husband and it’s a staple on their Thanksgiving table! They use the recipe on the Pepperidge farm stuffing crumbs bag. I think it’s fine – not really anything stellar but not a bad dish. I’m excited to try this version though! I think they could use a shake up…

  407. foodie librarian

    My 8 and 11 year olds fought over this, and I had to hide the husband’s portion so he’d have dinner when he got home from working late… so I think that tells you everything you need to know!

    Also, I couldn’t get my hands on raw wild rice, so I had to sub in a microwavable brown and wild rice mix, skip the 50 minute cooking portion and I fried it up for a few minutes with the onion. It made for an awesome quick dish, but I’m looking forward to using raw wild rice next time. For science.

  408. Chris

    Denied food list: Pop Tarts, white bread, chips, and most anything not filling enough to satiate four hungry, active, free range children running around outside all day. On Easter, instead of hiding candy my mom hid treasures from the banned food list like Frito Lay products for me (and a jar of pickles for my older brother?). He must have eaten an entire jar in one sitting once and wasn’t full so it got tossed on the banned list.

  409. Okay, well this was freaking incredible! I added sautéed mushrooms, just because I had some in the fridge that needed to be used. We ate an embarrassing amount in one sitting.

  410. Robert

    I”m wondering if anyone has made this a day ahead. I’m concerned that the cheese sauce will become too thick and that it won’t be gooey/cheesy as it should… I’ll give it a try and report back.

  411. Linda Huntzinger

    Made this last night for family dinner – SO GOOD! Everyone loved it. FYI-I used mustard powder. I also accidentally put most of the cheese in the sauce, so it just had a bit of cheese on top, but it was delicious and nobody knew but me!

  412. Ila

    On my youth’s Denied list: a no-recipe dinner of cold pickled Baltic herring in a big bowl of crème fraïche greened with snipped chives, and hot boiled potatoes, which I adored at a school friend’s table. My mother abhorred pickled anything.

  413. Sharon

    I love your blog and your recipes. So many times I would love to print them out but you do not have a “print” on your recipes. Any way you could add that choice? Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving

  414. Helen

    Can I comment on a recipe this “old”? Because this one is amazing! I absolutely loved this dish and already have plans to remake it again soon. Thank you!

  415. Beth

    Thanks for a delicious dish. I see there are so many comments on this recipe that mine is just one of hundreds. But I must tell you how happy I am with how this tastes. My husband and son loved it. Very nice!

  416. This is a dish I have tasted in its numerous forms at a million potlucks but have never made for my family. Honestly, it never impressed me. Until I was inspired by Deb Perelman (who else?) with her own version of a wild rice and broccoli casserole. It is amazingly delicious! Thank you, as always, for creating so many amazing recipes.❤️

  417. Emily

    Long time follower, first time commenter. Made this tonight, and followed the recipe exactly. SO GOOD! Growing up, my dad was a health nut, and my mom…not so much. So we had both healthy wild rice dishes and broccoli cheese casserole with velveeta and ritz crackers on the regular. This recipe combines the best of both worlds. Thanks, Deb!

  418. Deborah

    My best friends mom would make City Chicken. My mom didn’t. I loved it and would beg to stay for supper. When chicken was more expensive than veal (can you believe it!) She would take cubes of veal and put them on a stick coated with a flour breadcrumb mixture and pan fry them. Add a bit of water when browned with a lid just in until tender then crisped up a bit with the gravy. So delicious.

  419. Jill Anderson

    Your son should come live with my husband and son. Both are picky eaters. I, on the hand, would love to eat at your house…. every day! And I can cook and I do dishes. Let me know when you’re ready for a swap!

  420. KWADE

    Highly recommend! Worth the little extra time. The chemical laden version was a favorite during my childhood. This is the comfort casserole of my dreams! I used 3/4 broccoli and 1/4 cauliflower because that’s what I had. This is indulgent but not too rich. Love the crispy top. I followed the recipe exactly (except cauliflower) and true to Smitten Kitchen it’s spot on.

  421. Stacy

    We devoured this last night! I forgot to use the broth in the cheese sauce and subbed leftover farro for the rice because I needed something quick. It turned out great. Thank you!

  422. Annie

    I made this with Trader Joe’s wild rice done in the rice cooker, and stupidly did not check it before mixing it into the casserole; it wasn’t done. I also think the cheese sauce could be reduced by half (and I love cheese!). Next time I’ll try a more reliable rice (likely the Near East that someone mentioned). Other than it being soupy with chewy rice, it was tasty.

  423. E

    This looks awesome. Any suggestions for something to use in place of the mustard (or should I omit altogether) ? I have a similar picky eater problem. I have no children…. it’s me. Thank you for your fabulous recipes !

  424. ASL

    Made this with barley because that’s what I had and it was delicious. You’d be ok with 2/3 the quantity of cheese sauce though it was delicious (and extremely cheesy) as is.

  425. Kate Haralson

    This is a great quarantine recipe because of the shelf stable ingredients and substitution options. Was able to use the ends of a couple pieces of cheese, mixed in some cauliflower rice with basmati rice to clean out the freezer, and used dried garlic instead fresh. Delicious and really comforting. Thank you!

  426. Joy

    Love this. I double it every time. I’ve tried it with frozen broccoli (definitely not as good but much faster if you’re in a hurry) and I don’t bother with the onion and butter with the wild rice. I’ve thrown in leftover chicken and even added carrots. The sauce is tasty and versatile for other casseroles. I sometimes add crushed kettle chips and wheat germ on top – adds a nice crunch. (Don’t judge me. I have three kids.)

  427. Louise Clark

    This looks amazing. Really want to make it tonight, but only have half the amount of rice. Do you think I could sub the rest with spelt grains? Would that change anything I’d need to do with the cooking time or amount fo liquid? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Spelt definitely takes longer to cook, but would be delicious here. Check the cooking time suggested on the package. You can also soak it for a while and that might even up the cooking time with rice.

  428. Grace (Ravenswood, Chicago)

    Delicious! I turned this into a one pot meal using my cast iron skillet:
    – broiled 2 chicken breasts first (slice through the middle so they cook faster), then set aside to cool before dicing. You could use leftover rotisserie chicken as well.
    – saute onions a bit, then continue with the cheese sauce instructions
    – used thawed broccoli florets and precooked basmati & wild rice that I had in my freezer
    – stir it all up and pop in the oven

  429. Lauren

    As soon as I tasted this I was reminded of something sort of similar we had growing up. The rice was always boxed rice pilaf served on the side. The sauce was cream of something soup. And on top of the broccoli sat giant chunks of boneless skinless flavorless chicken breast that inevitable were still a bit raw I think the center when the rest of the dish was done. This is way better. Cooked it, loved it. Served alongside tilapia fillets with a tomato bruschetta style topping.

  430. Dayna

    I made this for dinner last night and it came out perfect! I didn’t have any onion so I left that out, and it was still full of flavor!

  431. Laura S

    Really delicious and enjoyable. I think I will do a full cup of rice next time to fill it out a bit more – I did this as a vegetarian main dish, and could have used a wee bit more bulk. That said – I will definitely make it again. So cheesy!

  432. nancy g visconti

    Well….look’s like I have to be honest about this recipe. I followed it exactly first off.
    It’s a lot of work for a ‘not so great’ result.

    IF I were to make it again , I’d roast the broccoli! Putting it in boiling water is wrong. I found that out when I cut into it to serve. Tons of collected water at the bottom of the dish. YES! I drained it well before hand. This also diluted the cream sauce…..what there was of it.

    All in all, Just make a cream/cheese sauce & add what ever you like….This was a BIG DEAL & should have been a NO big deal. Sorry……

  433. Lisa

    No such thing as a casserole in our home growing up. I envied my neighbor who’s mom made fried bologna sandwiches🤣 My mother was an extraordinary cook with the amazing ability to use leftovers to make an incredible frittata ❤️ She had such a gift. Luckily my SIL created a family cookbook. But there are just some things that will never be the same. This is probably true for many!

  434. Amy Clough

    Wow. This was delicious. If you like chicken divan then this is your new favorite side dish. Served this with a roasted chicken and it was fantastic. I read the comments and so used less sauce and less cheese. It was amazing.

  435. Vicki

    This sounds delicious! Quick question – the recipe calls for vegetable/chicken broth but I can’t see any mention of it in the instructions. Where would you add it in?

  436. Ok just got home from vacation and wanted something that was “home cooking” but also green and semi healthy (didn’t plan for the cheese part). Saw this on SK Instagram as I was scrolling for ideas and I love the idea of a broccoli rice cheese cassy but have only successfully made one one time (by Donald Link from real Cajun – somehow it did not come out as good the second time). It’s all of my favorite things. This was super yummy and indulgent. I think next time I would third or halve the cheese/cheese sauce and it would fix my craving for broccoli cheese and rice without being quite so much cheese (“trying” to lose weight over here ha). Also growing up my mom often made us broccoli in American cheese sauce soooo now I’m tempted to be really bad and try this same vibe but with American cheese sauce and a little cheddar or parm on top….

  437. Jessica

    I made this a couple days ago to have throughout the week for lunch. Delicious! Thank you for another great recipe, Deb!

  438. Juka

    delicious! I did 1.5 lbs broccoli and 1/2 cup manoomin wild rice. I soaked the wild rice in 2X homemade stock for about half an hour, and it cooked while I sautéed the onion in OO, and added broccoli to it. Once the broccoli was cooked, made the sauce–by which time the rice was fully cooked. Dumped the rice in the pan with the broccoli, topped with the sauce and added some more cheese and then topped with remaining.

    Delicious. Husband asked, what is this!

  439. Gillian

    I love this recipe. I’ve made it several times and my kids love it.
    HOWEVER, can you do me a little favor? Can you please put “divided” next to the butter? I keep making the rice with all the butter, and then doubling back to make the roux. 🤣
    Grateful for a warm cheesy dinner for tonight!

  440. KAY

    I made a half batch of this as a kind of Thanksgiving tryout and oh, oh my, I should have made a full batch. This was so delicious and will 100% be on the Thanksgiving table this year!

  441. Wow, I’m sorry you had such a childhood. While my Mom was careful to serve meals that were as healthy as possible (1950’s-70’s), they included her own riff on pizza, American chop suey, fried chicken, and hot dogs, beans (canned) and kraut on Saturdays. And while the kids’ access was limited, there was always junk food around. I can’t think of anything in my friends’ houses that I missed, but plenty of things I didn’t want-sweet potato casserole with marshmallow, green bean casserole, many other casseroles-I was always fine with the main ingredient by itself! And I’m more flexible now-the wild rice/broccoli/cheddar sounds good.

  442. AnnaB

    Making this for Thanksgiving this year…curious if this can be made ahead (or if parts of it can be done ahead of time)? I would love to do my cooking in advance as much as possible!

  443. Leigh Ann DeWitt

    I want to make this for Christmas. Could I put everything together day before and bake Christmas Day? Thank you for posting such wonderful recipes!!💕

  444. Kassie

    Made this for a weeknight dinner tonight and it was delicious! Used what I had to make this without a trip to the store (roasted frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix and used oat milk rather than regular). Both swaps worked well! Highly recommend for a vegetarian main.

  445. Steph

    We cooked this for a family of lots of teenagers and really enjoyed it. I did do some adaptations: instead of whisking in flour, I did a scoop of instant grits (because I love when casseroles are super hearty and we live in Georgia!). Also did half brown rice and half white rice instead of wild rice (it was already cooked and in fridge, so warmed it up in big pot w/ some broth), and crushed up a small amount of Ritz crackers to sprinkle on top. Super yummy and stayed flavorful for filling leftovers. Love all of your recipes, thank you!

  446. Emma

    This was so delicious! Next time, I will roast broccoli instead – I think the boiling of it made it a little more water-logged for my liking. Also – could use more kick. Highly recommend serving with some hot sauce. We enjoyed this with salad & honey mustard dressing. YUM!

  447. shannon stoney

    We were denied nothing: TV dinners, Kool-aid, Cap’n Crunch, Velveeta. But it was the 1950s and 1960s. This was my mother’s “cooking.” Meanwhile, my grandmother was growing organic vegetables and grassfed beef and eggs, which my grandfather brought to our house on Tuesdays. So it all evened out.

  448. Lisa Kelso

    I’ve made this twice. Once exactly as written. It was delicious but a little too much sauce per square inch of broccoli for me. The 2nd time I doubled the broccoli but followed the rest of the recipe exactly. The family preferred it with more broccoli. Either way, though, it’s a keeper.

  449. Nan Luck

    Even though I burnt the butter of my first roux, my second roux was buttery cheese, with pinch of cayenne, deliciousness. 😊 Broiling for the toasty top, perfect. Thank you, as always, for your magical recipes.

  450. Niki

    This was a delicious and cozy dinner for two vegetarians. I made this exactly as the recipe stated and it came out just perfect. I saw some reviews saying theirs came out wet and soupy and I was a bit worried mine would too, so when I was making the cheese sauce, I made sure to reduce it down to a nice thickness before I put the grated cheese in. I feel like that prevented it from coming out soupy. I finished it in the oven in a cast iron pan and it set up beautifully as a casserole. Served it as a main with bread, a green salad and it was plenty filling. We had a little leftover too.

  451. Cara

    Yum! My mom never made this growing up (although she did make tuna noodle casserole with cream of mushroom soup). But my best friend’s mom used to make something similar called Doria which was a casserole with Japanese white rice, broccoli, a bechamel and white cheese (Swiss or mozzarella?) on top. I LOVED it.

    Quadrupled the recipe and used half broccoli and half cauliflower (Wegmans frozen, thawed and drained), 100% wild rice, and added a few sautéed mushrooms. Apparently wild rice expands a lot more when you cook it than wild rice blend… I used 3 c cooked rice per casserole and had tons left over which I will freeze. And, in case anyone is wondering, a quadruple batch made about 7 cups of cheese sauce total; I used about 1 2/3 c per casserole.

  452. Margaret K.

    I, too, was denied all those foods by my German dietician mother…but oh, the delicious bakery she provided! I first made this several years ago at Thanksgiving when I needed a side for my son’s gluten free girl friend. (I subbed regular flour for gluten free flour in the sauce). IT WAS DELICIOUS! I’ve made it often since then…this last time I added chicken, mushrooms and used half and half because I didn’t have any milk. It made the perfect meal!

  453. CK

    My family, whose tastes run to the bland, loved this, but I felt like it was missing something. It could be I didn’t use enough broccoli. I just eyeballed it, did not weigh it, and I did notice the broc soaked up flavor better than the rice. but as it was i felt like the only really flavorful part of this was the cheese melted on top. i thought the sauce could have used more cheesy flavor, rather than less, as some have suggested. also, i got A LOT of dishes dirty for this. rice cooker plus sauce pot, plus casserole, and since i roasted the broc, as some suggested, that added another one. (there was too much of it to roast in the casserole dish). i probably would not make this again, but if I did, it would be to use up leftover rice that I already had.