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.
This is my go to version of my own making. However, be encouraged to try new and different flavors and ingredients. Having an abundance of squash and cauliflower leaves/stalks, i decided to substitute. To my pleasant surprise, substituting squash for carrots and cauliflower stalks and leaves for celery and onion is a hit and will be come a regular recipe for us.
1 lb ground beef
1 lb beef sausage
1 cup onions chopped
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos or
1 teaspoon black pepper
Thoroughly mix all ingredients, then place about ¼ to ½ cup of mix in a log shape on a prepared egg roll shell. Roll up properly and tightly, then fry in ½ inch of olive oil heated to a tick less than medium. For best browning do not overcrowd them. I cook 6 at a time in 12 inch skillet. Once lightly browned, turn over. Keep an eye on these, they need to be cooked through, but careful not to burn the shells. Drain on paper towels.
An example of a departure from my standard recipe is using this gorgeous Squash Zucchino Rampicante. I’ve grown a barrel of these and they are huge, so gotta start getting creative.
September’s meal for Refuge Ministries, Mexico, Missouri was an old favorite of ours which was published in the Centennial Baptist Church cookbook shared by Frankie Levingston, the mom of my dear high school chum, Sharie Levingston.
1 lb ground beef (i use our home raised fully grass-finished beef)
2 cups pasta
3 cups chopped tomatoes or 1-15 oz can sauce
1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped peppers (we prefer green beans, okra, or such)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup cubed cheese (use your favorite)
Prepare pasta as per package instructions, drain, set aside. While pasta is boiling, brown ground beef in a large skillet with chopped onions, add tomatoes or sauce, with optional vegetables. Stir to just mixed, then add pasta. Mix carefully then sprinkle about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over top along with the cubed cheese. Replace lid and put on low heat until cheese starts to melt. Serve over bed of lettuce if desired.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Author: Frankie Levingston, Centennial Baptist Church (Mexico, MO) cookbook.
My photos show this recipe multiplied by 10 to prepare enough for the Refuge plus have some meals to deliver to friends and neighbors who are recovering from surgeries.
Hope you enjoy preparing and serving this easy, inexpensive, and tasty dish.
The most recent issue of Rural Missouri carried a short article on composting. I never seem to get around to building a compost pile, but i compost all the time on the fly. I compost straight into the garden or pasture. The less materials have to be handle the better in my book. BUT, on a small scale with limited space for growing plus needing a place to ditch those apple cores and coffee grounds, backyard or porch composting is awesome!
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.
As soon in the spring that i can source good veggies, i start making my Israeli Salad. I eat a whole batch nearly everyday that i can through the growing season until the veggies get yucky again.
My recipe is simple:
1 green pepper chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cucumber chopped
2 tablespoons dried cilantro or parsley (double that if using fresh)
1 teaspoon Real salt (double this if you are sweating a lot and need salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Stir it all up. As with most veggies and fruits – room temperature is best for lovely flavours.