Sunday, August 3, 2008

Broccoli and Parmesan Casserole

Here is an easy recipe from Cooking Light again. According to them broccoli is one of the best vegetable sources of calcium. Here it's paired with a b├ęchamel sauce thickened with cheese, which boosts the calcium even more. A short boil of the broccoli preserves the bright color for the dish.

Here is the trick for bechamel sauce. Make sure the milk is hot before you add it to the flour mixture, otherwise it curdles up. If the milk is hot, you will get a smooth sauce. And if you still don't get what you are looking for, just use a hand blender at the end and smooth the sauce out.

If you want, you can use other vegetables instead of the broccoli. Here is how it would substitute per serving:
1 cup of broccoli, before it is cooked is 25 calories.
1 cup of zucchini is 28 calories, so you can just as easily substitute them without worrying about calories.
1 cup of cubed eggplant is 22 calories, so, you can again substitute without worries.
Most vegetables would substitute like this, so go ahead and experiment with different veggies such as mushrooms etc.

If you decide to add more parmesan, keep in mind that each 1 cup of parmesan would add 450 calories to the total of the recipe, so I would use only 1 tablespoon which is around 20 calories and watch how much I'm using carefully.

If you don't have melba rounds basic breadcrumbs would work just as well. It is used to give the dish a little bit of a crunch. As a matter of fact, 12 melba rounds are around 140 calories, so you can use a slice of bread to make bread crumbs and end up with less calories.


8 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 2 pounds)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons diced pimientos, drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
12 garlic melba toast rounds

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook broccoli in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, salt, and dry mustard in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat; gradually add the fat-free milk and chicken broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook for 8 minutes or until it is thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add shredded cheddar cheese and 6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in pimientos and pepper. Add broccoli, tossing to coat.

Spoon the broccoli mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place garlic melba toast rounds in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Combine toast crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle evenly over broccoli mixture. Spray top of casserole lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for about 2 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
Per serving:

Calories: 155
Fat: 5 g
Carbs: 17 g
Protein: 12 g

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