If you’re like me and don’t have any money/quiver in terror at the thought of having to prepare a dish for other people (except for your boyfriend who has to eat what you make before he goes to work in the evenings or he starves), this dish is perfect for you. So, you can relax and focus on what’s really important: Removing things in your medicine cabinet because you know your friends are snoopy.
I make this side dish every time we host a medium-to-large dinner party or holiday dinner in our apartment. It doesn’t take long, which is always nice when oven space is at a premium. It’s generally really cheap to make, tastes delicious and is subject to oohs and aahs when unveiled to a crowd.
I stole this recipe from my boyfriend’s mom. She makes it on similar occasions, but she puts carrots in it too. I skip the carrots because then there’s room for more cheese. It has no name, other than that “cheesy broccoli thing”, but my friends have tried to make “Pillsbury broccoli delight” catch on.
This is a perfect potluck side dish as well. I made this for my very first potluck and it turned out great, although while it was baking I made a frantic phone call to my parents asking what the general potluck etiquette was when it came to getting your dish back because my dishware was new at the time and I wanted it back. My mom assured me when I was leaving the host would wash it for me and give it back, which is exactly what happened. Phew. She also suggested adding pretty shapes.
Baking dish (red Kitchen-aid dishware is the most impressive)
3 tubes of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (keep each of these in the fridge until the last second. This means when the recipe calls for one tube, you go get one tube out of the fridge and leave the rest in there or it will be a big sticky mess)
1 block (the big package!) of cheddar cheese, the older or sharper the better, grated
2-3 big heads of fresh broccoli, chopped into pieces
And it goes like this:
1. Lube up the baking dish with a thin layer of cooking spray, paying extra special attention to the corners and the sides.
2. Spread one tube of crescent roll dough across the bottom of the dish, and squish together the little dotted lines on the dough with your fingers.
3. Bake this layer for 8-10 minutes or so at about 350, until reasonably cooked.
4. Cover the first layer of cooked dough with broccoli pieces.
5. Spread the cheese over the broccoli, filling up all of the nooks and crannies (especially the crannies).
6. Cover with another tube of crescent roll dough, stretching it out as much as possible to cover all of the broccoli and cheese. Pinch the seams in the dough together with your fingers.
Here’s where we get fancy! I’ve served this plenty of times without the shapes on top, but I don’t think I’ll do it any other way after doing it with the shapes the last time.
7. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray.
8. Roll out the last tube of dough onto the parchment paper. Pinch together the seams yet again to make one smooth sheet of dough.
9. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place them on the dish.
You cannot ball up this dough and roll it out again, it just doesn’t work no matter what you do. Do you see the tiny, mangled, ugly star in the bottom right-hand corner up there? That’s what happens when you try to recycle the dough. Just never try. Maximize the amount of shapes you can make to the best of your ability.
Bake the entire thing as long as you can in the middle of the oven at about 350. You need to keep it in the oven a while to make sure the broccoli cooks and the cheese melts, but you don’t want to burn the top dough layer. I’ve found it usually takes between 15-20 minutes, but if your dough layer isn’t too brown yet – keep going. If you didn’t bake the bottom layer first, you need to keep it in the oven until the top layer just can’t take it anymore.
10. Impress your friends! Also, you can add shredded chicken and make it a meal.