Broccoli casserole is one of those old-fashioned dishes that most people love. If, like me, you have a large accumulation of cookbooks, you begin to notice that many cookbooks, especially church books, have recipes for it, a staple of many a potluck dinner.

While people appreciate new recipe ideas, sometimes you want a dish that makes your taste buds remember an old flavor. That doesn’t mean you can’t update those old favorites a little.

Use a different variety of cheese, perhaps a nonfat version if you prefer. Select wheat cracker crumbs, and instead of cream of broccoli or mushroom soups, try cream of onion or cream of asparagus. Try making it in the slow cooker, and if you are bringing it to a potluck supper, just find an electrical outlet and it will stay warm as long as needed.

So, when you need to bring a casserole to the table, any table, try mixing something old with something new.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at