An excellent non meat recipe. But meat can easily be layered on and consider other vegetables. Pictured here, I used sliced zucchini from my garden and added ground chicken breast from pastured poultry raised by my friends at Pigeon Creek Farm.
Cheese and Rice Casserole (Riso e Formaggio)
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked regular rice (or barley or couscous or any combination thereof)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon red pepper sauce (optional
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion (I used green onions)
1 medium green pepper, chopped (optional)
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat water, rice, salt, mustard, red pepper sauce, and pepper to boiling, stirring once or twice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. (Do not lift cover or stir.) Remove from heat. Fluff rice lightly with fork; cover and let steam 5 to 10 minutes.
Layer half the rice mixture in bottom of greased 11 x 7 x 1 ½ inch baking dish. Top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (and 1 cup vegetable if desired); repeat. Whisk together 4 eggs and 2 ½ cups of milk then pour over rice mixture. Sprinkle with ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese. (Casserole can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point.) Cook uncovered in 350°F oven until set; 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares.
Sometimes a stumbled upon recipe in a catalogue or magazine or flyer really resonates with your family and it becomes part of the regular menu lineup. This casserole is one such that i found probably 20 years ago. The beauty of it, is that it is easily modified to accommodate your own tastes and whatever you have on hand (within reason of course!)
The original recipe is pictured way below, but the one i made yesterday included my home raised green beans and home grown grass finished ground beef. For chopping the vegetables i use a mini food chopper and even chop the green beans if i’m preparing for Sunday’s meal with Allen’s 98-year-old Aunt June. She has lost her teeth and can’t keep track of dentures – so it is what it is.
Family sized version:
2 lbs grass-finished ground beef
1 medium sized onion – chopped
3 medium sized carrots – chopped
1-2 cups Asian long pole green beans – chopped
1 24 oz jar of Eden Organic tomatoes (normally i use my home raised tomatoes, but i’ve already run out!) Eden’s brand is excellent, but, honestly, to open them, i either need my stout son, Dallas, to do it, or i go get my long handled Channel Lock pliers. It’s really ridiculous.
2 cups of your favourite cheese, divided – 1 1/2 cups to stir into veggie/beef mix, 1/2 cup to top off the casserole. Or stir in 2 cups of cheese to melt – whatever your choice!
Brown the ground beef in a 4 quart pot and add all the vegetables, including the tomato sauce, throw in maybe a tablespoon of salt (check your tomato sauce – it may already have salt in it – i try to use straight tomatoes) and a teaspoon of black pepper -whatever suits ya, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add 1 1/2 cups of your favourite cheese and stir to melt.
Once the mix is ready, pour into a 9×13 inch pan, level it off, then top with biscuits. I make my own, but you can buy some to use. Then sprinkle about a cup of shredded cheese on top. Then add a sprinkling of parsley, basil, or oregano if you like.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375 F for about 28 minutes until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden brown. This makes 6-8 servings. Takes about an hour to make and bake, but if there are leftovers, it’s still a time saver. What does it cost? that will totally depend on the quality of ingredients you purchase.
Time to clean out the frig! There were some leftover green beans, but i added another 10 oz bag, had some organic carrots that were starting to get soft, so sliced them thinly to steam. Browned 1 1/2 lbs of home-grown grass finished ground beef, added about a cup of organic chopped onions and let simmer. Earlier, I had thawed out an ice cream bucketful of cooked tomatoes I had cooked up from tomatoes friends and neighbours had given us last summer, so that needed using. All the players fell into place to make this dish and it is one of our favourites.
1 lbs grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup organic chopped onion
15 ounces or so of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce or juice – whatever you have
20 ounces total of green beans or carrots, or okra, peas, whatever – although we don’t particularly like broccoli in this dish
Stir in about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat together and simmer until thickened consistency, then pour into an 8×13 inch baking dish. After arranging biscuits and cheese on top, bake at 350ºF for 27 minutes.
Adjust ingredients to match your crews’ hunger level!
1 3/4 cup of flour
1/3 cup organic butter
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Real salt
Mix these together, then add about 3/4 cup of milk from grass fed cows to make a soft dough. Roll out thinner than usual, then cut and arrange on top of casserole as pictured (or just however you want to – make a smiley face!). Then scatter another cup or so of your favourite cheese and sprinkle with oregano.