Recipe – Rice & Cheese Bake

Here’s a little something I baked up yesterday. It’s a basic recipe for a casserole-style dish that has a grain, some cooked vegetables and a cheese/egg/milk mixture binding it all together. It made a great mid-week meal and enough left-overs for lunch on Saturday.

Here’s the ingredients and cost. It was a little pricy given the fresh vegetables and cheeses, but very satisfying. We didn’t need to serve anything else with it:

Amount Ingredient Cost
3 cups Cooked grain $0.67
1 .lb Spinach/Greens – frozen is fine $1.99
2 Eggs – lightly beaten $0.24
.5 cup Milk $0.25
.5 cup Scallions/onions – diced finely $0.30
1 Tsp. Salt $0.01
1 Tsp. Worcestershire Sauce $0.05
6 Oz. Feta cheese – squeeze dry and crumble $2.22
.5 cup Parmesan Cheese – coarsely grated $1.44
8 oz. Mushrooms – diced finely $1.79
$8.96
Serves 4 $2.24
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Be sure the grain you want to use is fully cooked and cooled, but not cold. Put it in a big mixing bowl and sprinkle with the salt.
  3. If you need to blanch your greens, do it first so they have time to cool. Be sure to squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can so the dish doesn’t get soggy/watery.
  4. If you are going to add mushrooms, and/or if you are using onions instead of scallions, cook them to soften and get them to release any excess water. When softened, stir into the grains.
  5. Beat eggs in a medium sized bowl, then stir in the milk. Mix in Worcestershire sauce and beat well. If using scallions instead of onions, stir them in now.
  6. Add greens to the milk mixture and mix thoroughly. You want the greens to be broken up and coasted with the milk mixture, not in big clumps of green.
  7. Sprinkle feta and Parmesan into the milk and greens, and really mix the stuff up. You want the cheeses to be evenly distributed and totally coated with egg and milk.
  8. Pour the milk and cheese mixture over the grains and stir it all in until each grain is coated by the cheese and milk. This is important so you don’t end up with lumps of gummy balls in the casserole. You want the grains to be separate.
  9. Take a baking pan (I used a 9×9 brownie pan), and grease it or spray it with non-stick spray. Spoon the gran mixture into the pan and gently smooth it out. Don’t mash it down into the pan.
  10. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take foil off and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top looks “set”. Allow to cool for 10 minutes so it will set up before serving.

Cooking notes:

  • I used red cargo rice for my grain and it was fantastic. Flavorful, not at all gummy (like brown rice gets) but still very tender. You could substitute other medium to soft texture rices (white rice, yes, black rice, no), or any soft wheat, like farro, frekeh or coarse bulgur.
  • I had a bag of baby spinach which I chopped, blanched and squeezed dry, but you could easily use chard, young kale, or some other kind of fairly tender green. Collards would be too tough unless cooked before hand.
  • For the milk, use any kind, from non-fat to cream. I used buttermilk because I have a big carton I need to use up. Milk with fat will give you a nicer texture than non-fat milk.
  • If you want a fluffier casserole, add one more egg and 1/4 cup more milk.
  • The Worcestershire sauce is optional, but it adds a really nice subtle taste.
  • If you don’t have or like feta, you can substitute any other similar crumbly creamy cheese.
  • If you have pre-grated Parmesan, use 1/3 of a cup or so.

Do you have anything similar you like to cook?

Anglachel

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Posted in Anglachel, Food

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