California Swiss Casserole

 

At work, I feed about 400 people each day and I try to have as little repetition as possible in my vegetables during the week, so I have to get creative and come up with different, less common recipes. The inspiration for this casserole came from one of my grandmothers, who always made her broccoli casserole with Swiss cheese. This is more of a “mixed vegetable” casserole. If you don’t have the fresh vegetables on hand, you can substitute 2 bags of California Blend mixed vegetables, available frozen at most supermarkets. That’s where the name of this recipe comes from.

California blend is a common foodservice vegetable blend of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots that I’m sure you’ve had, or seen, at catered dinners, luncheons, etc. Usually, the vegetable blended bags contain “less than superior” cuts of vegetables with a lot of stalk and stem, so I try to make this with fresh vegetables whenever I have time to plan ahead.

  • 2 heads broccoli, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 1# bag of baby carrots
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 can Cream of Celery soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced onions
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 cup French Fried Onion pieces (like you put on a green bean casserole)

Cook broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in a pot of lightly salted simmering water for 10 minutes or until tender but still colorful. Drain. Add the onions and Swiss cheese to the vegetables.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, flour, soup, milk, melted butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and mix well. Fold in the vegetables.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased (I spray with PAM) 9″x13″ pyrex baking dish.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with the French fried onions and bake 10 minutes more, until casserole is bubbly and onions are browned.

 

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Caramel Apple Crisp

A couple of weeks back, my sweet tooth kicked in late one night, so I went in search of something to make. I found some really fresh Granny Smith apples, so I decided to whip up a “crisp”. A crisp is like a cobbler; the difference is the top. You could easily make this a cobbler by topping with a dough crust.

  • 5 ripe Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, toss all above ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly into an 8″x8″ glass baking dish.

CRUMBLE:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup butter, softened

Mix together ingredients in a small bowl and top the apple mixture with the crumble.

CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • 1 14oz packaged of individually wrapped caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 1 5oz can evaporated milk

Combine caramel candies and milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has a smooth consistency. Spoon the mixture over the crumble top of the crisp and bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the apple mixture is bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Serve with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream!