Isn’t it amazing how the memories of a certain dish can take us back to a certain place and time? I mean, I know in reality I am a grown woman who drives a minivan with 4 kids and a husband, 2 dogs and a cat, but as I sit here and think of broccoli cheese rice casserole, I can instantly recall being 8 years old (my daughter’s age eek!!) playing in my room after church, waiting for my mom to get lunch on the table. Ham, broccoli cheese rice casserole and carrot souffle is one of those meals. Sunday lunch or supper worthy. A meal that evokes contentedness and makes your inner child smile and remember that simple joys are never that far away. The best thing about this meal is that it is easy as pie to prepare but will have your family sitting happily around the table in no time flat. Hold the fights. Hold the ipads and ipods and hold the phone. Nothing but yummy in the tummy and happy smiles around the table (for as long as there is food on the plate, after the food is gone I can’t promise anything). Now, I encourage you to try these two dishes with a baked ham but of course, this is a free country and you can make them with whatever main dish you want. I will be honest and say that I can eat just these two sides and they are the main dish. The combination of the textures and savoriness of the broccoli cheese casserole with the sweetness and smoothness of the carrot souffle is like nothing else.
Hold the phone my friends…dinner is served
Broccoli cheese rice Casserole
2-10 ounce boxes frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 cups cooked rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Cheddar cheese soup
1- 8 oz. jar of Cheez Whiz
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 roll of Ritz crackers, crushed
salt, pepper and Tony’s to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Thaw your broccoli in a colander. If you are in a hurry, you can run it under some water to help it thaw a little better. Make sure it is drained well. Cook your rice in the rice cooker (or however you cook your rice…I don’t understand any other way…rice cooker is the first appliance I learned to use after the toaster lol!). Stir the drained thawed broccoli and hot steamed rice together in a big bowl. Pour soups and Cheez Whiz over the broccoli rice mixture. Stir well to combine . Add salt, pepper and Tony’s to taste Stir in 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Pour this into a prepared (greased) 9 x 13 dish. I let my kids help by letting them crush the cracker crumbs over the casserole once it is in the dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the cracker crumbs.
Bake in 400 degree over for about 20 minutes or until all hot and bubbly and delicious looking.
Now, there is a story behind this carrot souffle. My mom made me a recipe book when I got married. It included this recipe, which is one of her favorites at Piccadilly. Yes, you heard me. Piccadilly. I love Piccadilly. Big Daddy loves Piccadilly. Our kids, every one of them, loves Piccadilly. When we go to the mall, we go eat at the Piccadilly. It is not just a restaurant to us, it is an event. It is a tradition. Big Daddy and I have been best friends since we were little. We grew up across the street from one another. Our moms were best friends and worked together. When our dads would go hunting on Friday nights, our moms would take us to Piccadilly. When they moved to Broussard, we would go visit them and guess where we would go eat at least once? You guessed it. Piccadilly. So naturally, this recipe was a must make for me when I got that special cookbook. I made this for one of the holidays when we first got married. It was sooo good. But, it involved quite a bit of prep work and once I had babies, I was not a fan. So when baby 3, Madame Toot, came along, we were blessed with 2 13 year old angel that came to our door one day with offers to baby sit. They were THE most precious girls I had ever met and they knew just what I needed at that time in my life. They took over and allowed me to get away. I needed to get away. 3 kiddos ages 3 and under…I had to get away. But it was so hard. These two angels made it seem less hard. And since then, they have become a part of our family. And of course, the woman who gave birth to these angels, has been and always will be my fairy godmother. And she can cook to boot. Boy can she. She taught me to make gravy and she taught me how to make this awesome carrot souffle. These 3 ladies (those 13 year old girls are now young women in college) are so special to us. We have spent holidays with them and they are a part of our family. Lisa made this for one of the holiday meals we shared and it has been a mainstay ever since. Her recipe is so much easier. It used canned carrots and comes together fast. It is kid friendly and just all around amazing. This recipe will become a favorite at your house too. This carrot souffle always reminds me that sometimes the most perfect things come to you by surprise. And that blessings come in many forms…I mean canned carrots? Bleck!! But not in this dish…this dish turns canned carrots into the tastiest of side dishes. Sweet and wonderful without being too complicated. Like the surprising family we found in those two little girls who showed up at my front door. Turned into so much more sweetness than I ever expected. Carrot souffle…same thing. So try it, you will be so glad you did.
Our precious girls with the kiddos…so much sweetness I cannot handle it
My fairy godmother and I…how I love that woman
1- 16 ounce can of carrots, drained
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat drained carrot and melted butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a souffle dish or a round Corningware dish (My fairy godmother made sure I got my own souffle dish several years ago but I used a 1 quart round Corningware until then). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Once it cools some, sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top before serving. Get ready for your kids to ask for seconds of carrots. It is that good!!
Sweet, perfect carrot souffle…
Me and my two angels, all grown up…I love these two girls and I am so proud of them