Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole

It's been a while since I last posted any tasty meal, so here is one we had tonight - brown rice and broccoli casserole.  It took sometime due to the baking process, but otherwise it's a fairly simple dish to make.

As usual, remembered to take a picture when the dish was half way gone.
1&1/2 cup of cooked quick cooking brown rice *
4 dried Shitake mushrooms, diced
1 cup cooked broccoli, chopped *
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
Canola oil
1 14oz can cream of mushroom soup *
2/3 cup water
2 jumbo Smart Dog veggie links, diced*
1&1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

* I used the Success Boil-in-Bag brown rice.  According to the package, one bag is supposed to yield 2 cups of cooked rice, but my estimate is probably 1&1/2 cup or so.  It just didn't look like there were 2 cups of it.  For the broccoli, I used the steam in a bag frozen kind.  It saves some time and makes the whole process just a bit easier.  For the soup, I used Amy's organic semi-condensed cream of mushroom soup.  Well, as for the veggie links, since I'm a fan of substituting ingredients, you get the idea, swap them out with other vegetarian or non-vegetarian protein as you wish.  You may want to cook the raw meat before baking, otherwise you should prolong the cooking time in the oven.

Soak the dried Shitake mushrooms with boiling water in a small sauce pan with lid.  That way the tops of the mushrooms also get moistened and soften, since mushrooms tend to float on the water for their light weight.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F, cook the rice according to the package direction (I used the same baking dish to make the rice so I have one less dish to wash.), chop up the celery and onion.  Heat some canola oil up in a small skillet, saute the onion and celery until they are softened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Take the mushrooms out of the water.  Gently squeeze the water out of the mushrooms but BE CAREFUL!  The water in the mushroom is very HOT, so squeeze them gently under running tap water to avoid burning yourself.  Chop the stems off the mushrooms and dice up the caps.  Add the mushrooms into the onion and celery mixture, let them cook for a couple minutes, then turn the heat off.

Drain the water off the rice bag and pour it into a 2 quart baking dish.  Add in the broccoli, the onion mixture and the mushroom soup.  Use the empty can to get about 2/3 cup of water and pour into the dish.  Add the chopped veggie links.  If they are frozen, thaw them out for easier chopping.  Mix everything well.

Shred the cheese on top of the dish and spread them around evenly.  You can mix some cheese in with everything else; I didn't want too much cheese flavor myself, although my hubby probably disagrees on this one.

Cover the dish and stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Then take the cover off to bake an additional 5 or 10 minutes.  Dinner is served.  The mushroom soup really renders the savoriness to the dish, the Shitake mushrooms add unique flavor, and the celery adds a little crunchiness to a rather soft dish.  Everyone enjoyed the meal, so I declare it's a success!  Bon app├ętit, everybody.