My broccoli rice and mushroom casserole is always a hit at dinner.  Whether I am entertaining at home or taking a casserole to a party or event – everyone always asks for this recipe.

•    4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for casserole dish
•    4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•    1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
•    1 small or medium onion, chopped
•    ¾ cups diced, fresh celery
•    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
•    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
•    1 ½  cups chicken stock
•    4 fresh broccoli crowns, steamed and rough chopped (or 1 packaged frozen broccoli, thawed and drained)
•    4 cups shredded Cheddar-Monterey blend
•    3 cups cooked rice
•    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Butter the casserole dish.

Steam the fresh broccoli and set aside.

Make the rice per instructions.  NOTE: I use instant rice but add chicken stock instead of water to give it extra flavor!

In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter.  Add the mushrooms, celery and onion and sauté for about 4 minutes.   Sprinkle the flour over this mixture.  Over medium to medium high heat, whisk together until golden in color. Cook until the flour browns. Add garlic, garlic powder, cayenne pepper.

When the flour is cooked, slowly add the chicken stock and stir to remove any lumps.  The mixture will start thickening.

Add the heavy cream and cook until thickened.

In a large mixing bowl, add the rough chopped broccoli and rice.  Mix 3 cups of the cheese to the rice/broccoli.

Pour mushroom sauce into the bowl and mix.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour everything into the buttered dish and top with remaining cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 20 minutes.