Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Broccoli, rice and cheese seem to have a natural affinity for each other and this recipe has been around in one form or another for years.  But you know what?   We never had it at our house when I was growing up.  I remember having it at church potluck suppers, and I know my friends had it at their house, but this was not one of my mother’s  side dishes. Other popular meals that my friends had were Shake and Bake Chicken and Hamburger Helper, but nope, not us.  I felt so deprived!   And even to this day, as a grown-up,  when I hear or read about broccoli and rice casserole I still get that “left out” feeling.  So I decided to take the bull by the horns and just make it.  With all the people who have made this dish over the years, how hard could it be?

Success!!

Success!!

I know that some people used “Cheez-Whiz” to make this dish real cheesy, but that, too, had been denied to me.  So I followed the path I know and used a cheddar cheese.  You can make this with fresh broccoli if you precook it sightly,  or as a time saver use frozen broccoli florets.  The type of rice you use can vary according to your taste.  I used long grain white rice, but you could use a wild and white rice combination, brown rice, or any other variety of rice.

The finished casserole was indeed cheesy, and had a good proportion of broccoli to rice, so I didn’t feel that it was too heavy with carbohydrates.  It’s filling and satisfying, and goes well with most any meat or fish, or serve with another vegetable and a salad for a meatless meal.

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BROCCOLI AND RICE CASSEROLE

Yield:   Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium onion, dicedIMG_6520
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup rice ( long grain, brown, or other)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 medium head broccoli, stems trimmed, and cut into florets; or use 1 (14 0z.) bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 can ( 11 oz.) cream soup, i.e., cream of chicken, mushroom, or celery
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F.

1.  Saute onion in 2 T olive oil;  when onion is translucent stir in rice.  Cook and stir for 2 – 3 minutes more.  Add 2 cups broth, bring to a boil, decrease heat and simmer about 40 minutes with the lid on.  Stir a few times to prevent sticking.

2.  Meanwhile cook (or thaw) broccoli, but not completely.  You want it to be on the crisp side.  Drain off any liquid.  Mix in the soup and pepper.

3.  Add the cooked rice and 1/2 cup cheese.

Mix rice into broccoli mixture.

Mix rice into broccoli mixture.

Add the cheese and mix in.

Add the cheese and mix in.

Transfer to a baking dish that has been prepared with non-stick spray.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350*F.

So good!

It may be April 1st, but this dish is no joke!  😀

SOURCE:    Adapted from The Casserole Connection

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Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

Brown Rice Pilaf

In my attempts to add more fibre and whole grains to our diet, I’ve turned to brown rice.  Brown rice is unpolished rice, with only the husk removed.  Up until fairly recent I did not cook brown rice because it seemed to take a long while to cook.   Now, however, there are several ways to get this wholesome grain into your diet without the time involved in cooking it.  It is available in a package as pre-cooked and only involves heating it up in the microwave (such as Uncle Ben’s).  This same company also makes a boil-in-the-bag brown rice that only takes 10 minutes to cook.  With this kind of convenience, there is no reason to avoid brown rice any longer.

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This recipe for rice pilaf using brown rice included two additional ingredients that I particularly love:  mushrooms and leeks.  Nuts may also be added such as almonds or pecans, providing a little additional crunch.  Rice pilaf is a great go-with served with just about any kind of meat or fish, or as a side dish in a meatless meal.  Using the rice as a base you can add whatever additional ingredients suit your fancy and turn out a dish that is nutritious and enjoyable all rolled into one.

BROWN RICE PILAF WITH ALMONDS

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.8 oz.) package pre-cooked whole-grain brown rice, or a bag of boil-in-the-bag brown rice
  • 2 tsp. olive oilIMG_0142
  • 1 medium size leek, sliced white and light green parts
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Cook the brown rice according to package directions.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat.  Add the thinly sliced leek and the mushrooms and sauté for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

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Add 1/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Stir in the almonds, salt and pepper.

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Stir in the cooked rice, and stir to blend.

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Transfer to serving dish.

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice

Turn your kitchen into a Chinese restaurant.  Why order take-out when you can order in!  With this recipe you can make your own version of shrimp fried rice.

Fried rice is typically made with rice that has been pre-cooked and allowed to cool so that it will fry and not steam when added to the other ingredients of the dish.  So left over rice that is dried out is ideal.  If that is not available, cook some rice in advance and let it become cold, and some what dry.

Shrimp, rice, egg, and lots of veggies.

Shrimp, rice, egg, and lots of veggies.

Fried rice usually includes eggs, meat or seafood,  vegetables, peppers, spices and soy sauce.  Extra flavor is gained by the  addition of onions, scallions and garlic.  A wok is the cooking utensil of choice but a large non-stick skillet works equally well.

This shrimp fried rice is full of vegetables and makes 4 generous servings, so you’ll need a large skillet at least 12 inches wide or a large wok. Be sure that you do not over cook the vegetables, they should be crisp-tender.

Although the recipe states that it makes 4 servings, my husband and I were able to devour most of it with only a small dish left over.  We loved it and I can’t wait to make it again.

SHRIMP FRIED RICE

MAKES:    4  SERVINGS

Have all ingredients prepped before starting to cook.

Have all ingredients prepped before starting to cook.

  • 1  1/2  cups water
  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8  ounces peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups stringless snap peas  ( I used asparagus in mine. )
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into  1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, chopped

1.  Combine water and rice in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to med.-low and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 – 12 minutes.  Allow to cool, but stir occasionally to prevent clumping.  Spreading the rice out on a baking sheet is helpful in cooling it quickly and preventing it from clumping.

2.  Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.

3.  Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add eggs and cook, stirring to help break into smaller pieces, until just set, about 45 seconds.  Transfer to a small bowl.

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Eggs cooked just until set.

4.  Add another 1 teaspoon canola oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink  1 1/2 – 2 minutes.  Transfer to a plate or bowl.

Saute shrimp until pink and just cooked.

Saute shrimp until pink and just cooked.

5.  Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons canola oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.  Add ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in snap peas, bell pepper, carrots, and scallions; cook stirring, until tender-crisp, 3 – 4 minutes.

A colorful combinations of vegetables.

A colorful combinations of vegetables.

6.  Stir in the rice and the reserved egg and shrimp;  cook, stirring until heated through, about 1 minute.  Gently stir in the sauce mixture and remove from the heat.

Add in rice, shrimp and egg.

Add in rice, shrimp and egg.

YUM!   So good.

YUM! So good.

SOURCE:    Eatingwell.com

Pineapple Jerk Chicken and Rice

I made this dish for the very first time just a few days ago, and it came out so good I must tell you about it.  Normally I steer clear of dishes that I think will be very spicy.  From what I know about jerk seasoning, it is quite “hot”  since Scotch Bonnet peppers are usually  amongst the ingredients.  But on reviewing the ingredient list on the bottle of jerk seasoning marinade I became convinced that it would be OK.  So I purchased the suggested brand:  Lawrys Jerk Marinade, and proceeded with the recipe.

This is a one-dish meal featuring chicken breasts, pineapple, black beans, cilantro, onions and the jerk marinade served over brown rice.  It goes together quickly once you have everything prepped.   Mr. D.,  a person who likes spicy foods, was very complimentary when he tasted it.   It does have some heat to it especially with the jalapeño  chile in it, but I could tolerate and even enjoy it, so I know I will be making this dish again.

INGREDIENTS 

SERVES    4

  • 2 cups brown rice,  or 2 bags Boil-in-Bag brown rice, such as Uncle Ben’s
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile–stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 fresh pineapple cut into 3/4 inch pieces  (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup jerk marinade, such as Lawry’s
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1.  In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes;  drain.  If using bagged rice, cook in boiling water 10-12 minutes, as package directs.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeño and cook until the onion is browned, 7 minutes;  transfer to a bowl.

3.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the same skillet and increase the heat to medium-high.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the pineapple and jerk marinade and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 2-3 minutes.

4.  Stir in the onion mixture, black beans and cilantro; cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper and serve over the rice.

SOURCE:   Every Day with Rachael Ray