A couple of years ago, I shared a recipe for fresh steamed broccoli with lemon -- not cheese -- sauce. When I don't have fresh broccoli on hand or I want to serve something a little fancier, I pull out a recipe my mom used to make called Broccoli Au Gratin. The name may sound intimidating, but the recipe is really easy to make. Au gratin is just a French word that means to sprinkle food with bread crumbs, grated cheese, or both and then brown it in the oven.
Instead of fresh broccoli, this casserole uses a 16 ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli that's cooked according to package directions. While the broccoli is cooking, crumble enough Ritz crackers to equal 1/2 cup crumbs -- about 13 crackers. The easiest and neatest way to do this is to put the crackers in a plastic bag
and crush them with your hands.
When the broccoli is almost done, bring a can of undiluted cream of chicken soup to a boil over low heat.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the grated cheese until it's melted.
I use 98% fat-free soup which has less sodium than regular soup. For that reason, I stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt when I add the cheese.
Thoroughly drain the broccoli, stir it in the soup mixture and spread it in a greased casserole dish.
Most recipes call for cracker crumbs to be combined with melted butter or dotted with butter, but not this one. It doesn't use any butter. I actually prefer it this way because the crumbs won't be soggy when you reheat the leftovers. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs on top
and bake the casserole at 350° for 30 minutes.
My mom served Broccoli Au Gratin with a variety of entrees, but I especially like to serve it with Microwave Tuna and Noodle Parmesan.
No matter what you choose to serve it with, the recipe is a nice alternative to steamed broccoli. It's also an easy, tasty and inexpensive way to dress up an ordinary package of frozen chopped broccoli.