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Enjoy asparagus in this casserole

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Asparagus is a vegetable that you either like or you don't! It's a vegetable that doesn't get a lot of attention, yet it's a very good one. Fresh asparagus is always good topped with lemon flavored butter, Hollandaise sauce or cheese sauce. Most people choose to go with canned asparagus for the convenience of serving it, but if you're fortunate enough to find the fresh, it's worth the time it takes to prepare it!

Today, I'm passing along the recipe for an "Asparagus Casserole", which is a recipe dating back to the 1950's. This is a casserole flavored with a cheese sauce and baked with hard-cooked eggs, saltine crackers, grated cheese, and if you like them, almonds. Good and easy, it's a way that many people will enjoy eating asparagus!

The sauce is made with melted butter, flour and evaporated milk. To get additional flavor, you can use the stock from the canned asparagus for part of the milk. This is cooked until it's thick. This asparagus is layered with crushed saltines, grated cheese, and hard-cooked eggs. You would include the almonds here, if you like them. The sauce is now poured over the entire dish and additional saltine cracker crumbs go over the top, followed by some pats of butter. This is baked until it's bubbly and browned.

I've found that in the recipe, sharp Cheddar cheese makes a huge difference in the casserole. It goes perfectly with the asparagus. The almonds are optional and I normally don't use them, but they give an added crunch to the casserole, if you would like to have it. As for the crackers, use the saltines and make sure they're fresh! I made the mistake once of using stale saltines and it makes a huge difference! Also, don't use anything outside of saltines. While Ritz crackers are good for some casseroles, I strongly recommend saltines for this one.

Sometime ago, I shared another casserole, which was for "Green Rice" that's also good and a creative way to prepare rice. To get the recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/dress-up-the-rice-for-easter

Pick up a can of asparagus and dress it up with this recipe!

ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 medium can cut asparagus or 1 tall can asparagus spears, drained
  • 2-1/2 cups crushed saltine crackers
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 dozen almonds (optional)

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the butter and melt the rest in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir until well blended. Gradually add the milk and cook over medium heat until thick (if desired, part of the milk may be replaced with the stock from the drained asparagus). In a shallow 1-1/2 quart buttered casserole, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the saltines over the bottom. Layer with half of the asparagus, half of the eggs, half of the cheese and half of the almonds. Repeat these layers with the remainder of the ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the cracker crumbs to go over the top. Dot with the reserved 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubbly and browned. Yield: 6 servings.

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