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Archive for the ‘Casserole’ Category

This one-dish rice gratin tosses a handful of ingredients together and transforms them into a warm, comforting complete meal.  Flecked with beautiful bits of spinach (or whatever greens you have on hand), the top bakes into a gooey, cheesy crust with crunchy sprinkles of toasted pine nuts.  I took a bite out of the corner to “test” the results and, next thing I knew, Rice Kernel and I each had a fork in our hand and a forkful of rice in our mouths!

Spinach Rice Gratin, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups leftover/pre-cooked white or brown rice, room temp
1 1/2 cups cups well finely chopped spinach (or chard or kale, or a mixture)
4 ounces diced ham, crumbled sausage, or firm organic tofu, crumbled
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Grease a 10-inch round baking dish (or equivalent) with a bit of olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl combine the rice, spinach, and protein. Stir in the onions and pine nuts (reserving a few for garnish) and olive oil. Now stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, and salt. Fold the eggs into the rice mixture, pour into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is set. Garnish with remaining nuts.

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Just as quick as Hamburger Helper, but far more wholesome and delicious!

Cumin-Scented Eggplant, Beef and Pasta Casserole

Ingredients

1 pound meium shells, small penne or elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1-2 pounds ground beef (depends how much meat you like)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup frozen peas
6 ounces cheese, shredded (2 cups), divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well and transfer to a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and toss well.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cumin and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and cook until no floury taste remains. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and simmer until thickened, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the macaroni, milk/cream, parsley, peas and 1 cup of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large ceramic baking dish about 2 inches deep. You canserve as is or, for a cheesier finish, sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes. Scatter the scallions on top and serve.
Make Ahead The unbaked casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking

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Usually we pair eggs with bread or potatoes, but who says rice wouldn’t be delicious?  Slightly more dense than a strata with bread, this is substantial and hearty.  Pair with a salad or extra vegetables for a complete meal.

Rice Quiche

Ingredients

2 cups cooked white or brown rice
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup cheese, Cheddar or Mozarella work well
1/2 cup egg whites (or 4 whole eggs)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 ounces ham or sausage
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup vegetables, such as frozen peas, spinach or zucchini, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. In a bowl, mix the brown rice, egg, and cheese and pour into an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients, pour onto the rice crust, and bake until the eggs are set, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing

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An unexpected vegetable in a traditional savory pie.  Mild and aromatic, cooked fennel offers a sweet, mild anise-like flavor to the pie. 

Chicken and Fennel Pot Pie

2 small heads fennel, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2-3 cups cooked chicken, (store-bought rotisserie for ease)
1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium storebought
1 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup frozen baby green peas
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives or parsley
1-2 tablespoon cooking sherry, optional
Homemade or store-bought puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen


Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan. Add fennel, onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, about 6 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add peas, corn, herbs, sherry, and chicken and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
  5. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

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A twist on the usual plain rice side dish – this one speckled with beautiful, colorful, garden-fresh vegetables and baked until piping hot. 

Instructions

1 small onion, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
1 small onion, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 large bunch or swiss chard and/or kale (can substitute 1 package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped)
1 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
2 eggs
2 cups shredded cheese, your choice, plus extra for top, optional
4 cups cooked rice, brown, white or wild (cooked in stock, preferably)
1 teaspoon chopped scallion greens, basil or cilantry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray or butter a large casserole dish.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute onions with a drizzle of olive oil and red pepper until translucent.  Add the greens and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.
  4. Add the cheese, rice, basil and vegetable mixture and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with extra shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.

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