Dinner · Food

Broccoli Potato Casserole

There are three things you should know about my husband’s mama.  She doesn’t believe in margarine or skim milk, she loves to fry food, and everything that comes out of her kitchen tastes good.

After each of our children was born, she called and asked what food we wanted when she came to see the baby.  Without exception, my husband asked for this casserole.  If she knows we’re coming to visit, she makes up a big dish of this casserole to send home with us.

This is comfort food at it’s best.

A couple years ago, I worked up the courage to ask her how she makes it.

She gave me some loose instructions, and I wrote down her every word.  It took another year for me to work up the courage to actually attempt it.  I was amazed at how well it turned out!

It even passed the test for my husband.  I was rewarded with his beaming smile and affirming, “That’s incredible.  It tastes exactly like my mom’s.”

The next time I made it, I was careful to measure everything and write it all down so I have an actual recipe and don’t have to guess.  This is definitely a plus when replicating a meal your husband’s mama served him as a boy.

When I make this, I make two pans, one for dinner and one to freeze.  The process is simple, but time intensive, so the following recipe is for a double batch.  You won’t regret it.  🙂

First, brown some ground beef.  Drain the grease, and add some garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

browned ground beef

Rinse, chop, and steam some broccoli (in a BIG bowl).

bowl of chopped broccoli

Add in cream of celery soup, cheddar soup, the seasoned beef, French fried onions, and shredded cheese (I did put in the cheese, I promise).

IMG_1557-0
Line your pan with Ore Ida crispy crown potatoes.  I’m usually an off-brand shopper, but in the words of my mother-in-law, “They have to be Ore Ida.”  (I promise not to tell if you try a different brand.  If you do, please let me know how it turns out!)

Ore Ida Crispy Crowns, 30 oz bag

9x13 pan with potatoes lined the bottom and sides

Bake them so they get nice and crispy, then spread in your filling mixture.

Partially baked casserole to freeze

If you’re freezing a pan, this is the time to wrap it up and stick it in the freezer.

Remember to label your casserole with reheating instructions:

Broccoli Potato Casserole reheating instructions: Thaw in fridge overnight. Bake @ 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes uncovered. Top with additional cheese and fried onions. Bake 5 more minutes. Enjoy!

Then return your other pan to the oven, reduce the heat, and bake some more.  Add the remaining French fried onions and cheese the last five minutes of baking.

Then put on your comfy clothes, and let the warmth of this dish envelop you.

forkful of broccoli potato casserole

Broccoli Potato Casserole (makes two 9×13 pans)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef (lean is good if you have it, but not-so-lean works)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3-4 medium-ish broccoli crowns
  • 2 cans condensed cream of celery soup
  • 1 can condensed cheddar soup
  • 2 (6 oz) cans French fried onions (12 oz total), divided*
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 16 oz), divided*
  • 1 1/2 (30 oz) bags Ore Ida brand crispy crowns (roughly 45 oz total)

*The French fried onions and cheese are both added to the filling AND sprinkled on toward the end of baking.  This means that if you freeze a pan, you will have leftover onions (half a can or 1 1/2 cups) and cheese (1/2 cup) to save for topping the pan that’s in your freezer.

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground beef and drain the grease.  Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and cook one to two more minutes.
  2. Rinse and chop the broccoli (I use all of it, but you can just use florets if you prefer).  Put it in a large glass bowl with about two tablespoons of water.  Cover in plastic wrap and steam in the microwave.  (5-7 minutes first, then about 3-4 minutes more; it should be starting to get soft, but not limp)
  3. To broccoli, add all condensed soups, seasoned beef, one can of French onions (3 cups), and 3 cups shredded cheddar.  Mix well.  If desired, you can make this mixture ahead of time and store in the fridge until you are ready to complete the casserole.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Line two 9×13 pans with crispy crowns and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. When potatoes are finished, divide filling mixture evenly between the pans and spread over the potatoes.
  7. If freezing a pan, wrap it in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, label with instructions, and freeze.
  8. Reduce heat to 400 degrees and bake remaining casserole for 18-20 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle with half a can French Fried onions (about 1 1/2 cups) and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  (You will have leftover onions and cheese to save for the frozen casserole.)  Return pan to the oven for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve hot.  And while wearing pajamas.

Notes: This recipe is forgiving.  If you need to substitute a different “cream of” soup, it should still be tasty, just with a slightly different flavor.  (I want to throw in a cream of mushroom next time for one of the celery cans.) The amounts of beef and broccoli are adjustable.  It also microwaves very well the next day.  If you manage not to eat it all the first night… 😉

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