Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spinach & Rice Casserole

Spinach Rice Casserole ECU

Some recipes just fall into your lap so to speak. Some you search for. Some you google to find and some are discovered on the many thousands food blogs we can now search. You can still scan old cookbooks and newspaper clippings but some recipes are just born. Born out of necessity or overabundance of ingredients, or plain boredom.

This is how this recipe was born.

I was looking for a casserole that would go well with the baked ham that we always serve for Easter. I had decided that I was going to do a baked mashed potato casserole, something I could make a day ahead and just pop into the oven. Then I started thinking about my Dad. My Dad is not a mashed potato kinda guy. He loves potatoes, just not mashed. I could already hear his grumblings in my head when he learned that the side dish would be mashed taters.

So I starting thinking about casseroles that I've made in the past and ways to adapt them to incorporate some of the things my Dad loves. He loves rice. He loves mushrooms and onions and he loves spinach. Now how could I put all those things together in one make-ahead dish and have it be 1) delicious and 2) moist 3) and most importantly, flavorful? I brainstormed a bit and pulled a few things from recipes I've made here and there and came up with this Spinach and Rice Casserole.

Spinach Rice Casserole in pan

I can hardly believe that I got it in one shot.

I nailed it.

This casserole is in a word...awesome. I think the use of the yellow rice really set it's apart from most of the other rice casseroles I've made. The balance of all the ingredients is just perfect. Not too spinachy, not to cheesy. Perfect.

Looks likes there's a new casserole in town.

I think Dad will be very happy this Easter.

Spinach Rice Casserole CU

Spinach & Rice Casserole
see end of post for printable recipe
2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 package (10oz) baby bella mushrooms (chopped)
1 package frozen cut-leaf spinach (16 oz) thawed and drained
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar, plus extra for the topping
3 cups cooked and cooled rice
(I used Goya yellow rice, Spanish style, 14oz box)*see note
1 tablespoon Lawrys seasoning salt
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
Salt & pepper to taste

Oven to 350.

Grease a large casserole dish.

In a large pan over medium high heat, saut̩ the onion in the olive oil and butter until translucent. Add in the mushrooms and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the spinach and garlic and cook for 2 Р3 minutes longer. Add the nutmeg and cook just 1 minute longer. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl stir together the cheese, rice and seasonings. Whisk together the soup and the chicken broth and stir into rice mixture. Add in the spinach/mushroom mixture and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with extra shredded cheese. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.

*If you get the Goya 14 oz rice, you will have about a cup left over.

Spinach & Rice Casserole

This creamy, flavorful rice casserole is loaded with spinach, mushrooms ...

See Spinach & Rice Casserole on Key Ingredient.

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