Go Green With Cheesy Asparagus Casserole

April 22 is Earth Day, a day when we recognize our beautiful planet and all the wonderful things it provides us.  Many people celebrate Earth Day by picking up trash from our beaches and parks, or by planting trees or flowers, but not everyone has the free time (or yard space!) to take on such large Earth Day projects.  For those people, take heart—you can do your part for Earth Day in the comfort of your own kitchen!

Your kitchen offers a wealth of opportunities to help the environment, from what you cook, to how you cook it, to how you clean it up.  For starters, take a look at the type of food you buy.  You can go “greener” by choosing local foods that are in season.  Because they’ve endured fewer pollutants and have not traveled great distances, these foods have smaller carbon footprints than imported foods.  Take a look at your local farmers’ market for fresh spring produce like asparagus, blueberries, cabbage, and mushrooms.  Also keep an eye out for onions, broccoli, and bananas, which tend to have low levels of pesticides—and fewer potentially harmful agents for your family to ingest.

Once you have your ingredients ready, think about how you cook your food.  One-pot meals, such as soups, stews, and casseroles, use less energy than complicated meals that spread across the range top.

After you’ve enjoyed your meal, you can go even greener during the cleanup.  You can reduce food waste by starting a composting bucket, which will turn your cooking scraps into rich compost, great for helping plants and flowers grow.  You can also reduce waste by packing leftovers in reusable containers, then eating them for lunch or dinner the next day.

We don’t think your family will have any leftovers when you cook this amazing springtime recipe!  Not only is our cheesy asparagus casserole a one-pot dinner, but it features seasonal, low-pesticide ingredients such as asparagus and onions, making it the perfect Earth-friendly meal.

CHEESY ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

4 tbsp butter, divided

1 pound asparagus, chopped into 1-in pieces with Kyocera’s Nakiri vegetable cleaver

1 medium onion, sliced with Kyocera’s Santoku knife

2 tbsp flour

1 cup milk

3 ounces cream cheese, softened (1 cup plus 1 tbsp)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tbsp of butter.  Add asparagus and onion, cooking 3 minutes or until lightly crisped.  Pour vegetables into an ungreased 1.5-qt casserole dish.

To make the sauce, warm an additional 2 tbsp of butter in the empty skillet.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Gently whisk in milk, breaking any lumps, and heat until thickened, stirring frequently.  Add cream cheese and cook until melted.  Add salt, pepper, and cheese.  Mix well.  Pour sauce over vegetables in the baking dish.

In the empty skillet, melt the final tbsp of butter and mix in the breadcrumbs.  Pour topping over casserole.

Bake uncovered 40–50 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and lightly browned.



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