Sunday, September 26, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole

I invented this recipe myself when I lived in my first apartment in college.  I have always enjoyed cooking and cooked a fair bit in high school, but I really got into it once I was responsible for all of my own food.  This is a good recipe to modify based on your own likings, leftovers, and current pantry holdings.

I served this with the rest of the buttery biscuits that I made to serve with the Tuscan White Bean Soup.

Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole
1 box Uncle Ben's wild rice
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cannelini/white bean/navy beans, DRAINED & rinsed
1 broccoli tree, diced up to be bite-size, about 2 cups (use as much of the stem as you like, in a casserole it's easy to sneak in lots of stem along with the florets)
some frozen spinach, drained & chopped - I include this whenever I happen to have some in the freezer
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I always use white cheddar)
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan
1/8 stick of butter
1/3 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
cheese to sprinkle on top

Here is everything you need all together!

1. Make wild rice according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 350.
I like Uncle Ben's wild rice because it comes with a seasoning packet which is very delicious.

2. Mix together cream of celery, the drained & rinsed beans, and the shredded cheese.

3. Saute onions in butter for several minutes until they start to get a little bit clear.  Add minced garlic for a minute until fragant.  (Don't add the garlic right away.  I've noticed when I cook the garlic too much it loses its flavor and I don't taste it in the recipe.  Also please use a bit of butter instead of olive oil, the butter really adds a nice rich flavor to this casserole.)

4.  Stir in the onions and garlic with the bean mixture.

5. Chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces and mix it into the bean mixture.  If using spinach make sure it's chopped up small and well drained (otherwise it will make the casserole too liquidy).  Then mix it into the bean mixture.
I throw out the giant piece of stem, but then cut up the rest that I left attached to the florets. You need about 2 cups.

6.  When the rice is done add it to the bean mixture and mix well.
I mixed everything at once.  Oopsies.

7. Sprinkle in your desired about of cayenne pepper.

8.  Spray a large casserole dish* with Pam and press the mixture into it.  Top with a bit of extra shredded cheese and bake it in the oven for at least 25 minutes.  Cover the casserole with foil for the first 15 minutes to make sure the broccoli is able to cook through before the cheese on top burns.  Leave it in the oven until you see the edges bubbling.


*Since I am only cooking for two when I make this I usually split it into two 8x8 casserole dishes and freeze one of them for later.  So it doesn't get freezer burn I put foil on the top of it and press it down so the foil is touching the food.  Then I either put it in a freezer bag or put the dish's lid on it if it has one.

I like to eat this casserole with Natural Lays potato chips.  They add a nice crunchy texture to the creamy casserole.  I don't bake the casserole with them, but just crumble them up on each serving.  That way they don't get soggy with leftovers.  My boyfriends likes to use the chips as "tiny plates" (his words) instead of crumbling them.

At Target the Natural Lays are in the chip aisle where they belong.  But in Jewel they are hidden in the organic/natural food aisle. Here is what the bag looks like:


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