Broccoli with cheese sauce is a delicious, homemade, and healthy way to get this reformed picky eater to enjoy roasted broccoli.
Growing up, I hated broccoli. I also hated pretty much most veggies except carrots, celery, and peas. Of all the veggies I hated, broccoli was the king. The top of the hit list. The persona non grata of greenness.
Well, I’ve grown up a bit, I’ve matured, and I’ve realized my parents served this veggie hating kid vegetables in the worst possible ways. We had things steamed, or even worse, frozen vegetables that were then microwaved. Thank god our family dog liked vegetables because that made life bearable for me.
Had my parents simply built a time machine and were able to see into the future that someday their daughter would love vegetables roasted in a cast iron skillet, why I think life might have been easier for everyone.
The good news is, you don’t need a time machine. You have this knowledge now. Hopefully, you also have a cast iron skillet. And if you come across a sad cast off skillet at the thrift shop, consider refurbishing it back to its intended glory.
I have also included air fryer instructions for those of you who love your air fryer like I do. I will happily make this broccoli with cheese sauce in the skillet or the air fryer depending on the day and the toddler’s level of persnicketiness. Opening my oven when he is feeling adventurous is always a gamble, so I lean towards the air fryer on those days. When he is willing to be chill and stay out of the kitchen when I’m cooking, using the oven on a cold day is a delight.
Every single person in my family prefers their broccoli cooked to a different doneness. Jack, wants it raw. Whatever, I don’t need to battle over broccoli. If he is willing to eat it, he can have it however he wants. Bennett prefers it slightly crispy, Troy wants it a bit crispier, and I want mine nearly burnt. Using either a cast iron skillet or the air fryer allows you to remove individual portions during the cooking process to fit everyone’s’ preferences.
Most days, I prefer my broccoli plain; just roasted with olive oil and a pinch of salt. I don’t make homemade cheese sauce every time I serve broccoli, but from time to time it is a fun treat.
I can’t go back and change the childhood battles I had over eating “little trees”, but I can save you the hassle. PS, your kids might secretly “pin” Broccoli With Cheese Sauce on your board “Things My Kids Wish I Knew They Liked”.
Broccoli With Cheese Sauce
Broccoli with cheese sauce is a delicious, homemade, real food, and healthy way to get this reformed picky eater to enjoy roasted broccoli.
- 1 head broccoli, organic if you can find it and afford it
- 1 sliver butter (optional)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese extra sharp gives the best flavor
Preheat your cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat.
Once the skillet is hot to the touch, add the sliver of butter and let it melt completely.
Add the broccoli, olive oil, and salt (to taste). Stir to combine, and place in the oven on the top rack with the broiler on high. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
Cheese Sauce Instructions
Meanwhile, put a small saucepan on the same burner where you had the cast iron skillet, and melt 2 tbsp of butter until small bubbles appear.
Add the flour, and whisk quickly to incorporate. Stir often, while letting the butter and flour brown until it becomes a light caramel color.
Add a tiny bit of milk, and whisk quickly to combine. Once the milk is fully incorporated, add the rest of the milk slowly, whisking the whole time. Allow it to cook for a few minutes, whisking occasionally.
Add the shredded cheese to the pot, and stir to combine. Once the cheese has melted, remove the pan from heat, and continue stirring for another minute. By this time, the oven timer should be about ready to go off. Stir the broccoli, and set the timer for another 5 minutes.
When the broccoli is nice and crispy, remove from the oven. Plate it, and drizzle with cheese sauce.
Air Fryer Instructions
Set the air fryer to 390 degrees.
In a medium bowl, toss the broccoli with the olive oil and salt.
Add the broccoli to the air fryer basket and set the timer for 10 minutes. Shake the fryer basket after 10 minutes and check for your preferred level of crispiness. If you’d like it crunchier, return basket to air fryer and check every 3 minutes until it meets your “crunchy” standards.