When Your Taste buds are Broken, Make Broccoli Casserole

I write about food. The way it tastes. The aroma. How complex the flavors are or how much spice it has. It should be so simple, right? Well, folks, I’ve lost all sense of taste and smell. Again. I’ve mentioned how I keep getting sick, ever since Little K was born. Well with each of these colds, the sinus congestion is so severe that I lose the ability to taste or smell for about a week. I’m not talking about muted flavors or only spicy foods getting through. I can’t taste a thing. I can’t smell a thing. I can tell when things are tart (I drink hot lemon water and sometimes the lemon is a bit too much) and I can tell when things have too much heat from spice (just a warm burning sensation), but that’s all I can get out of food these days. I think I’m finally turning the corner because this morning I woke up breathing out of my nose! Halleluiah!! However, still no smell or taste. It usually takes a good three or four days from this point before I’m back on top of my game. But it’s in sight, I’m so glad!

In the way of good news, Little K had his 6 month appointment yesterday and rocked it! Shots? No problem. Sitting on his own? Pretty much got it. Eating solids like a champ? Oh yeah.

While my nose is recuperating, E has been giving me his review on how things taste. I’ve taken to grilling him while he’s eating. “What is the strongest flavor?” “Do you taste any cinnamon” “How much does the nutmeg come through? HAHA, trick question! There isn’t any nutmeg!” He’s been doing pretty well, and managing to enjoy his meal despite the interrogation room atmosphere. So for Valentine’s Day we decided to skip going out for dinner, since I couldn’t appreciate it anyhow, and stay in. I was going to make E something tasty! Mexican, he said. So I went through my recipes and discovered, no matter which way I played it, we didn’t have everything I needed to make a good taco or enchilada or Mexican lasagna. So I said, how about we pick something from across the pond, Spanish Chicken. Great, he said. So I get all my ingredients ready – like a good chef – and look in the freezer for the last ingredient I needed: chicken. Aaaaand…. no chicken. GAH! Finally, I gave up. We’re having No Name Steaks Salmon. It’s good, easy to make, and I don’t need any other ingredients. However, I figured I could at least make him a yummy side dish. One of E’s favorite cookbooks is Make It Fast, Cook It Slow because it’s something he can always make and it’s good, familiar food. So I rifled through it and found Broccoli Casserole. Seemed easy enough and likely pretty tasty. *Famous last words.*

Broccoli Casserole

Overall: two-star

Beautiful, green broccoli.

Despite an easy prep, the unfortunate texture and flavor knocked this recipe down several notches.

Ease to Prepare: five-star

Simple prep, using easy to find ingredients. It also used fresh items. Nothing canned, which is a notorious red flag for slow cooker meals.

Instructions: five-star

Mmm, yummy yummy cheese. I never thought you could go wrong with delicious cheese like this.

Very straightforward and easy to follow recipe. No complaints.

Food: one-star

There you have it, folks. Our first one star rating. The beautiful crisp, fresh broccoli had withered away to a brownish green gloppy mess. When you can’t taste something, you really realize how important the texture is of your food. Somewhat grainy, yet soupy – not a combination I’m looking for. E said the flavor was similar to what you’d get with your typical cheese whiz and frozen broccoli dish. He had no clue that I had used “fancy” cheeses like Parmesan in the dish. He also said that every once in a while he got a hint of a “spoiled” flavor, almost like old milk. Eeeesh! Not something I’m striving for here! I was kind of surprised, because I don’t know what could have given him that flavor. Maybe the way the cheese cooked down, or somehow the way the milk and the veggie broth played together? I don’t know. E actually wasn’t able to eat his whole portion, and instead opted to give it to the one person who could dispose of a poor-tasting dish with no qualms: Super-Stuffed-Sinues Gal! (Like that? It took me all day to come up with it. Catchy.) I can get past the texture, and for the aforementioned reasons, the flavor wasn’t a problem for me.

I think I cooked this just a hair too long, but nothing that should have ruined the dish.

The author, Stephanie, said her kids gobbled it down. I think it could be an ok dish for some little kiddos, though I wonder why not just go the cheese whiz and frozen broccoli route – save a buck or two. (I do recognize that her recipe is gluten-free, so there’s that…)

Clean up: three-star

A pain to clean out the crock pot, as usual, but otherwise an easy clean up.

 Cost: two dollar

I gave this an extra dollar, simply because E said it tasted so much like cheese whiz broccoli. I used lots of Parmesan and some brick and Gouda cheese, plus the fresh broccoli. If you get the same flavor, for less cost -and don’t need to be gluten-free, why not do it.

I know, I know. This is typical of a slow cooker recipe. I tell ya though – I have had some good slow cooker recipes! I’ve got a couple in mind that I’ll try next to show you, you can have a good slow cooker meal. Word of warning though: Don’t serve your Valentine a crock pot meal. Especially one that tastes like “old milk.” (Chunky, lemon milk anyone?) That’s not going to win you any sweetie of the year awards. Luckily my sweetie has agreed to a do-over when I can taste and when the crock pot is safely stowed away.


2 responses

  1. Hi, Krystal…they make liners for crockpots now, you should check them out! No more pain the rear scrubbing when the cooking is done. I believe the ones I bought are from Reynolds Wrap…you just toss them out when you’re done. The only other suggestion I can make is that perhaps the Gouda made that awful taste, and perhaps adding the broccoli halfway through so it wasn’t mushy? Loved it, keep it coming!

    • Thanks for the tip Sharon. I’ve definitely seen those liners before, my mother in law uses them a lot. I hate to add to the plastic in our landfills, but I suppose the water it takes to clean the crock pot doesn’t help either. Could be the Gouda – which would be a shame since it’s one of our very favorite cheeses – maybe one of the other suggested cheeses would have better results. Regardless, it’s a dish I won’t be making again!

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