Organic? Fresh? Why yes, my homegrown veggies are both and in case I wondered; this little caterpillar stuck around until I got these broccoli leaves out of the fridge where I had bagged them and he started crawling along my cutting board. Needless to say, he was sent outside immediately!

This meal began with an inspiration. Potatoes Au Gratin sounded good. I had cheese to use up. I had broccoli leaves abounding, and broccoli goes with cheese and with potatoes. The only problem was that I was out of potatoes. But I always have beans! 

In the morning I placed 2 cups of white navy beans in the crock pot with half of an onion, chopped, the last hunk of ham, chopped, and the last of a carton of chicken broth, along with some water and black pepper. I cooked it on low for 6 hours. (I had soaked the beans in cold water over night first).

Next I layered it in a baking dish similar to a lasagna. The layers went like this: beans, cheese, broccoli, beans, cheese, broccoli, then a final layer of a homemade roux (butter and flour), topped with bread crumbs. (Bread crumbs were homemade from leftover scraps of bread, dried out, and pureed and stored for later…I hope you are all doing this; it’s so easy).

I baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. I came out slightly soupy, but very flavorful and hearty. It was a good use for the broccoli leaves, a good way to use up the ham, and the beans added many nutrients, fiber, and protein.