Monday, August 15, 2011

Garden Delight Brown Rice Casserole

Well it looks like I need to change the date on my camera!

The life organizing, finance crunching, meal planning, cooking bug has crept back in on me. It's rooted in concepts way to vast to explore in one one blog, particularly when I have limited myself to 10 minutes to spend on the computer before I go to bed (part of that whole organizing thing). But lets just say for now, that out of an interesting convergence of spiritual issues, ethical consciousness, healthy endeavors, and family matters have all come together to form this exciting new cocktail: The Garden Delight Brown Rice Casserole (pictured above).

You know me and meal planning. I love to hunt for recipes, pick them out, try new things, plan ahead. I have trouble making dinner on the fly or even going to the grocery store before I know what I'm getting. And that's where I'm trying to grow myself right now. I'm currently on the hunt for good base recipes that I can go to at any time where I can draw from an economical source of staples I usually have on hand, but swap out the revolving door of fresh ingredients I have coming through my kitchen by Dandelion Organic Deliveries to create fun new flavor combinations. Garden Delight Brown Rice Casserole is my first attempt and a successful one at that for such a base recipe. It's called "Garden Delight" because you can use whatever seasonal or sale vegetables you happen to have on hand and the possibilities are as wide as you can imagine. See recipe below, and if you want to be a good sport, send me you're ideas for veggie combos you feel inspired to try.

2 cups uncooked brown rice (you could also try white, jasmine, wild rice or even barley)
2 cups water
2 cups broth (chicken, beef, or veggie - I used homemade chicken stock)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups onion, diced
6 to 12 cups of fresh chopped veggies (I used crookneck summer squash, pattipan squash and diced carrot because that's what I had on hand)
Salt & Pepper
Fresh herbs or dried herbs (your choice here too, I used fresh basil leaves)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used medium tillamook cheddar, you could also try swiss, gruyere, jalapeno jack, mozzarella)
4 eggs lightly beaten
3/4 cup Parmesan (Romano or Dubliner would be great options)
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring water and broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add rice. Lower to a simmer. Cover and cook until rice is done.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add additional vegetables, salt and pepper to taste, and saute until crisp tender. Remove from heat.

In large mixing bowl, combine rice, vegetables, 2 cups shredded cheese, and egg mixture. Stir to combine all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased glass baking dish. Spread mixture out evenly. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Dot with butter (this will help create a nice golden crunchy top).

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Casserole is done when the top is golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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