Broccoli Casserole Recipes are one of the few recipes with greens that seems to have universal appeal to children, and are great for introducing broccoli to your child early on. Toddlers are often happy to identify and pick up broccoli "trees". A little girl I know, calls them Christmas trees. She is not far off since the name "broccoli" originates from "brachium" meaning branch.
Recipes for broccoli casseroles are family-friendly. Take broccoli cheese casserole, kids love a cheese sauce, so do adults! In 2008, children voted broccoli as their 3rd most favorite vegetable. Add broccoli florets to your cheese casserole and you have a healthy base. Then, once the taste has been established, variations can be introduced: turn a rice casserole into a broccoli rice casserole.
Often the taste of another food can mask the taste of broccoli... not that broccoli tastes horrid, as vegetables go. It's just that broccoli is a little bland and very few kids would eat it on its own, nor would many adults! But a lot of different flavors go well with broccoli: Cheese, chicken, beef, turkey, rice and pasta to name a few. With broccoli casseroles, you can "spice it up" with an additions scheme. If your kids love rice, go for broccoli rice casserole. Cheese? Make the first broccoli casserole they try loaded with cheese. You can reduce the amount of cheese slightly each time you cook it to make it healthier and healthier.
A friend of mine started a "Switch it up" theme, in order to save thinking time. For example, switch a turkey broccoli casserole recipe for chicken broccoli casserole, and so on. This is also a good way to make the most of a much loved healthy recipe base and introduce variety at meal time.
Texture plays an important role in kids' food likes and dislikes. Your family might like florets "firm" or "mushy", so you need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
The cooking process has a deep impact on the nutrients beneficial to a child's diet. Steaming is better than boiling. Boil broccoli and a lot of its color and half of its vitamins will be lost to the water.
Both florets and stalk can be used despite a tendency to use only florets. If you use the stalk, the little leaves and the end need to go. Once this is done, I often peel the outer layer and cut the stalk into small chunks as it can be a bit tough otherwise.
Here are some reasons why using broccoli in your child diet is healthy:
So introduce broccoli to your kids right away, if you haven't already (or try again) with our recommended broccoli casserole recipes.
While most broccoli casseroles use frozen broccoli, we like this one best since it starts with fresh broccoli.
Do you have a great broccoli casserole recipe - or any way you've managed to sneak broccoli into a casserole recipe without your kids protesting? Please Share!