Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole

I put a poll on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago asking my followers what kind of recipes they were looking for right now. The options were main dish, dessert, side dish, and appetizer. Side dish was the unanimous winner! That is one thing I’m always looking to change up too so I was happy that I got to make this Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole that reminds me so much of Texas.

Growing up in East Texas, this is one of those dishes that you’d find at every potluck and on every holiday table. Year round! Us Texans really like to put cheese on just about every savory food you can think of and broccoli is no exception. The broccoli rice I grew up with was full of processed cheese and sometimes canned cream soup. It was good but I definitely wanted to freshen things up with my version.

The homemade creamy cheese sauce is perfection! It’s very easy to make and isn’t that much harder than opening a can of cream soup. You mix fresh broccoli florets and cooked rice into the cheese sauce then top with a crunchy breadcrumb mixture. My kids who usually choke down broccoli absolutely loved this! My daughter said this is the only way she will eat broccoli from now on. Ha!

My Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole is such a great holiday side dish because it will go with any main dish like ham, prime rib, or turkey. Serve with chicken any time of the year for a complete meal too. I hope you enjoy another little piece of my Texas heart with this easy, delicious side dish!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Dec 17-26: rice, butter, flour, sharp cheddar, white cheddar

Southern Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • Servings: Serves 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

6 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut small
2 cups cooked rice
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup gruyere or white cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11×7 (or similar sized) baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

Make topping by combining 2 tablespoons melted butter, panko and parmesan in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Add ¾ cup of cheddar and ¾ cup of gruyere then stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add broccoli and cooked rice to the cheese sauce and stir until combined.

Transfer to baking pan and sprinkle remaining cheddar and gruyere cheese to the top. Pour chicken broth over the top. Cover tightly with non-stick aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and sprinkle breadcrumb topping evenly over the casserole. Place back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until brown.

Notes:
1. Make sure broccoli is cut into small bite-sized pieces so that it cooks through.
2. If needed, turn on broiler after 10 minutes to get topping browner.

Cowboy Crescent Bites

I was recently trying to remember the appetizers that I grew up eating in Texas and thought of sausage balls. Remember those? They are made of just three ingredients: Bisquick mix, cooked sausage, and cheddar cheese. They are pretty good but I thought I could do better. I have to say that my Cowboy Crescent Bites don’t even compare! They are loaded with so much more flavor and are still so very easy!

The combo of cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapeno all melted together totally reminds me of queso! If you know me at all you know that queso is my FAVORITE. I have the best recipe for it here.

This recipe makes 32 little cups of deliciousness which is great for holiday family gatherings. The filling could even be made ahead of time then assembled with the crescent rolls when you’re ready to bake. Also, the crescent rolls that come in one big sheet work best but if you can’t find them just pinch the seams together before cutting into squares.

Make these for Thanksgiving and everyone will fall in love (with you AND the food)! You’ll be making them again and again for all your holiday gatherings. I definitely will be! Y’all know that I love simple recipes that are BOLD with flavor. This is my new favorite appetizer and I love that it was inspired by my Texas roots!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale Nov 19-Dec 2: crescent rolls, sausage, cheddar cheese, cream cheese

Cowboy Crescent Bites

  • Servings: Makes 32
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

2 tubes crescent rolls
½ lb ground pork sausage
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ teaspoon each: garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, salt
Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Cook and crumble sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Drain on paper towel-lined plate. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine sausage, cream cheese, cheddar, jalapeno, half of the green onions, and spices.

Roll crescent rolls out, pinch seams together, and cut each sheet into 16 squares. Place squares of dough into mini muffin tins. Place a small spoonful of cheese mixture onto each square.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crescent rolls are golden brown. Remove and garnish with remaining onions.

Filled with ooey gooey cheese and sausage! Yum!