One of the foods I like most in this world is a cheesy rice casserole. Especially as leftovers. Preferably for breakfast.
But cheesy casseroles generally get made by dumping in a bunch of canned soups which makes me fear for my sodium levels. Also, I shiver in the face of that much trans-fat.
Heidi, from 101 Cookbooks, to the rescue (her out-of-print book Cook 1.0 is one I check out from the library every couple of months. I love it). A casserole that is cheesy and delicious and less likely to kill me!
We ate this on (the only) rainy day of the summer and the minute the calendar flipped over to October, I made it again (despite the fact that it was still 95 degrees outside).
Rice and Mushroom Casserole
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
1 TB olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms (brown or white) cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 bunch spinach or chard, roughly chopped (if using chard, separate the stems from the leaves and chop the stems like onions)
1 cup crumbled queso fresco (you could use another semi-soft cheese like feta or even fresh mozzarella or goat cheese)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (if you're using feta, you may want to skip the salt entirely)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Put both rices in a medium saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, stir once, cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease a baking dish (somewhere in the 9x9 range is a good size. I use an oval pan that's about 6 x 12).
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and stir every few minutes until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are slightly brown. Add onions (and chard stems if using them) and cook for another 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the garlic, cook for 1 more minute and remove pan from heat.Add spinach or chard leaves and cook 2-4 minutes until wilted.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, queso fresco, sour cream, salt (if you're using it) and pepper.
Add the cooked rice and the mushroom/onion mix and stir until well combined. Spread half of this mixture into prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese over the rice mixture and then pour the rest of the rice mixture on top of that.
Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and finish it off with the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes more.