Cold nights in the city call for comfort food! I know comfort food has a rep for meaning full of fat to store for the winter, but with the right ingredients, you can have your comfort food guilt free! I bring you.. Vermont Vegetable casserole!
Now, I call this VT Veg Casserole, because of the Vermont white cheddar cheese I use to sprinkle on this dish.. plus loads of vegetables!
Click on the recipe to enlarge and print out!
First, you will need 5 small plates full of steamed broccoli, corn, spinach, cut green beans (a few of my favorite things) and however much of the Vermont white cheddar you want to use. You can always use less/more or substitute for other veggies you are using too! Recommendation: I love bell peppers, but they DON’T taste so well with this dish as their sweetness over powers the casserole. Save them for another night.
Next, you are going to want to cook a quarter to a half of a box of whole wheat elbow pasta that will be sprinkled on top of the casserole. This adds a nice crunch when you bite into the dish… using just bread crumbs are not good enough!
Warning!!! People who hate creamed textured items prepare yourself for the next image (I have a few friends who fear mayo, sour cream type substances and I think there are a lot of people out there who do). Now, you can always omit the cream of mushroom substance from a casserole, but I think it adds great flavor and gives the casserole texture. You can be simple and use Campbell’s 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup (which is what I used this time) or you can be fancy and make your own (delicious recipe coming soon for mushroom creme fraiche).
Honestly, the most efficient way to combine the vegetables and cheese with the cream of mushroom is with your hands. Also, kids would LOVE this part of the cooking process (just as long as you don’t let them get out of control with their messy hands and start a food fight).
The Paula Deen part. Yes, I’m sure Paula Deen would go crazy over this part as it looks JUST like one of her crazy creamed concoctions, however I think she would be heartbroken to hear that the only fattening bits of this recipe are the cheese and that the cream of mushroom is only 98% fat-free. Don’t forget, use moderation with your cheese! Spread the elbow pasta over the vegetables and sprinkle a touch of bread crumbs on top. Add rosemary, a pinch of salt and some ground pepper for flavor! (Note, the kids may not like the rosemary, so omit if necessary.. they will like it when they are older 🙂
In the oven you go!
Voila! 20 minutes later, I give you Vermont Vegetable Casserole! Leftovers are great for lunch the next day too! Bon appetit!