Broccoli Cheddar Casserole
- 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets $1.99
- 8 oz. medium or sharp cheddar, shredded $2.39
- 4 cups cooked rice (white or brown) $0.67
- 1 small yellow onion $0.32
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 3 Tbsp butter $0.30
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
- 2 cups milk (2% milk fat or higher) $0.60
- ½ tsp salt $0.02
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika $0.03
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
- Freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
- Roughly chop the broccoli florets into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Combine the broccoli, about ¾ of the shredded cheddar, and the pre-cooked rice in a large bowl. stir until they are evenly mixed. Save the remaining cheddar for sprinkling over the top of the casserole.
- Begin to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic.
- Add the butter, onion, and garlic to a small sauce pot and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and transparent (2-3 minutes). Add the flour and stir until a paste forms. Continue to stir and cook the paste for about two minutes, or just until it turns a light golden brown.
- Whisk the milk into the butter and flour mixture. Turn the heat up to medium. Continue to whisk the mixture as it heats, allowing it to reach a simmer, at which point it will thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Season the sauce with the salt, smoked paprika, cayenne, and about ten cranks of a pepper mill. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if desired. The sauce should be heavily seasoned because it will be spread out over the broccoli and rice, which contain no seasoning of their own. Make it just a bit saltier than you’d prefer if eating the sauce on its own.
- Pour the sauce over the rice, broccoli, and cheese, and stir until everything is evenly coated in sauce. Coat an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dish with non-stick spray, then spread the casserole mixture evenly in the dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheddar.
- Bake the casserole for 35-40 minutes, or until you get some light browning around the edges and on top. Divide into six portions and serve.