The official blog of the Lung Institute.
When I was younger, I was always thrilled to go over to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. I especially remember the anticipation of smelling all of the wonderful decadent food throughout the house and my utter eagerness to devour everything in front of me. What I always looked forward to the most was the freshly baked broccoli and cheese casserole that my grandmother had prepared personally. One slice of this dish and my entire family would feel right at home.
Some years later, I asked my grandmother what was in the recipe (bad idea on my part.) “Now that is a family secret that I’m not quite ready to share with you,” she would always tell me. She eventually did pass along the recipe to me, and I happily make it for my kids now with a few healthy additions. All week long we’ve been sharing oxygen-rich recipes for you to try at home, and I would love to share this wonderful casserole with your family. But first, here are a few ways to make this dish as healthy as possible:
- The Broccoli
This yummy green vegetable contains a large amount of chlorophyll. When eaten, the chlorophyll allows the blood to transport oxygen to the cells. Naturally, this makes broccoli a good choice to add to your food arsenal.
- The Cheese
Cheese is not necessarily unhealthy for you, and it can be adapted for any diet. Cheese provides the body with much-needed nutrients like protein. Be sure to use low-fat shredded cheddar cheese for this recipe as it will decrease the level of sodium that you take into your body.
- The Crackers
By using multi-grain wheat crackers, you will be providing your body with not only delicious goodness but with several important nutrients as well. Multi-grain crackers contain fiber-rich bran that helps with your digestion and reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These crackers also increase your vitamin B levels and provide an excellent source of iron for healthy red blood cells.
The Recipe: Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- 3 heads broccoli, cut into florets
- ½ cup fat-free butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups crushed wheat crackers
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 13 x 9 – inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add broccoli florets to a large heavy-bottomed stockpot of boiling water. Cook for 3-5 minutes, drain broccoli from the water and set aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour until well-combined, then whisk in milk, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and 1 cup of Cheddar cheese. Reduce heat to simmer and continue to whisk until sauce simmers slightly around the edges and has thickened slightly, then stir in sour cream.
- Arrange broccoli in casserole dish and pour cream sauce over broccoli. Top the dish with cheddar cheese and crushed crackers.
- Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.
- Serve warm.
Not to brag about my grandmother’s cooking, but to this day, no other casserole has compared to that of her famous dish. I encourage you to share this meal with your friends and family! It is even good for those suffering from a lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you are looking for a way to help your loved one breathe just a little easier, then you may want to consider stem cell therapy. By using cells from your own body, your disease can be treated and healthy tissue can begin to grow in your lungs. Contact the Lung Institute by calling (800) 729-3065 and see if it is right for you!