Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Book: The Thanksgiving Visitor; The Bite: Broccoli Cheese Casserole

(POST 2 OF 3)

The Book!
The book, "The Thanksgiving Visitor" was written by famed author, screenwriter, and playwright Truman Capote and originally published in a magazine in 1967. It later became a book published by Random House. The book was re-released under publisher Knoph Books for Young Readers in 1996.

The Thanksgiving Visitor: "Another masterpiece by the great American writer Truman Capote is brought to an audience of all ages. Buddy and his closest friend, his eccentric, elderly cousin, Miss Sook - the memorable characters from Capote's A Christmas Memory--love preparing their old country house for Thanksgiving. But there's trouble in the air. Odd Henderson, a scrawny, freckled, red-headed bully makes Buddy the target of his relentless torment. But Miss Sook only counsels patience and understanding, "He can't help acting ugly; he doesn't know any different," she says. Filled with emotions that are universal to both young readers and adults, this poignant story brings to life what we all should cherish and be thankful for--the gifts of friendship and love. Enchanting illustrations by Beth Peck make The Thanksgiving Visitor a perfect companion for the holiday bookshelf. "

Book Stats:
Genre - Children's, Fiction
Page Count - 37
Target Age Group - 6+
Theme(s) - Thanksgiving, Bullying, Friendship

The Bite
Broccoli Cheese Casserole!
The broccoli casserole is one of the side dishes I am bringing for Thanksgiving. This broccoli side dish is wonderful in flavor and can accompany any meat...not just turkey! Note: Because I was cooking for Thanksgiving dinner, this recipe makes 2 (actually 2 1/2) casserole dishes. If this is too much, just cut the recipe in half. Here is a pictorial step by step guide to making your own. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Broccoli Cheese Casserole:
Approx. 13 heads of broccoli (both small and large) 
1-1/2 Onions
3 Green Bell Peppers
4 to 5 Garlic Cloves
Olive Oil

For the Sauce:
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
4 to 6 Tbsps Seasoned Flour (see recipe below)
4 cups Whipping Cream
2 cups Milk (Note: I had to use milk because I ran out of whipping cream, otherwise it should be 6 cups of whipping cream)
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese + more for garnish
3 tsps Salt
1 tsp Pepper
2 tsps Garlic Powder
2 tsps Onion Powder

Seasoned Flour:
(I generally make "seasoned flour" ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for later use. Typical uses include my macaroni and cheese, oven fried pork chops, my "magic sauce", panko crusted fish or chicken, etc.)
For seasoned flour; mix all below ingredients together and store in the refrigerator.
2 cups Flour
1 tsp each: Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika, Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Dried Basil.
2 tsps each: Parmesan Cheese, Salt.

Chop broccoli.

Place in pot about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Add water enough to cover broccoli.

Salt water. 
Bring water to a boil. Once boiling, let broccoli boil FOR 3 MINUTES.

After 3 minutes of boiling, remove broccoli immediately and rinse under cold water.
Set broccoli aside.

Next, chop the vegetables.

Chop vegetables.

Combine and place in a pot to saute.

Add about 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil and cover to cook vegetables, stirring frequently.

Onions should appear translucent and bell peppers soft.

Chop garlic.

Add garlic to onions and peppers. Cook until garlic is fragrant.

Add mixture to cooked broccoli.

Place in a dish and set aside. Next, make sauce.

Melt butter.

Add seasoned flour.
Note: I already had seasoned flour on hand, so I didn't have to add as much seasoning later.

Stir to combine flour and butter.

Add whipping cream (and milk).
Note: I only used 2 additional cups of milk because I ran out of whipping cream.

Add seasoning.

Bring sauce to a boil.

Add all of the cheeses (Parmesan, cheddar, and cream cheese).

Mix well until cheeses are melted.

Pour cheese sauce onto broccoli.

Add more shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Ready to bake.

Place in preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thick and bubbling.


Broccoli Cheese Casserole!

Broccoli Cheese Casserole!

Broccoli Cheese Casserole!

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