It’s been almost a month since I picked up my last delivery of CSA vegetables and I’m still working my way through the box. It’s surprising how much easier it is to keep vegetables in the fall than it is in the summer. I’m using the same refrigerator to store them, but they seem to last forever without the heat outside the door. Even the spinach I was sure to use first in the summer has become indestructible. The leaves of winter spinach are much thicker and remain crisp almost a month later.
Last week I set my sights on the head broccoli, which was as fresh as it was when I received it four weeks ago. I decided to make a recipe with only what I had in the house. I had a lot of things in the house, including the makings for vegetable stir fry, but instead I decided to use the rice to make yet another cheesy casserole.
I had in my mind a recipe for Broccoli Cheese and Rice from Cooking Light that I had made before, but that required Velveeta. I wanted to see if I could make something as good without that famous cheese. The ingredients I chose for my Iron Chef challenge included the broccoli, rice, milk, fat-free cream cheese, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and of course the bacon that seems to be showing up in all my recipes lately.
I steamed the broccoli, cooked the bacon and rice (separately) and made a cheesy, creamy sauce with the milk, cream cheese and cheddar. Then I combined it all together and let it meld into one in the oven. As you can probably guess from the ingredients, it was as comforting as a casserole can be.
Which made me wonder, after I had eaten a very large serving, just how many calories I had ingested. I put the recipe through the recipe analyzer at Calorie Count and at Fit Watch and came up with two answers within a hundred calories of each other. Calorie Count told me that it was about 300 calories and 13 grams of fat. Fit Watch told me it was a more diet-friendly 216 calories and 8 grams of fat. My guess, even though I’m not sure Calorie Count figured the bacon in, is that that site is closer to right.
Comparing it to the Broccoli Cheese and Rice, a side dish, which comes in at 137 calories for 8 servings and 4 grams of fat, the estimates I received don’t seem too far off, since I calculated for 6 servings. In any case, like the Cheesy Chicken Casserole I made a few weeks ago, this won’t be a regular in the rotation for health reasons, but it’s good for every once in a while.
I have lots more healthy options waiting in my crisper, including beets, carrots and more Brussels sprouts. I don’t think any of those go too well with cheese sauce and the bacon is nearly gone. I promise to make something healthy again soon.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Posted by Catherine Lanser at 6:45 PM