Sunday, June 7, 2009

(non)Hamburger and Rice Casserole - May 2009

Sorry for the late post - but I really wanted to share this recipe as it is my absolute favorite family dish. When I was a kid, we probably had the meat version of this once a week, and now in my own home, we have this version pretty much weekly as well. When I stopped eating meat, there were a lot of recipes that I just gave up on, but this one I have worked hard to replicate. It is so successful that sworn meat eaters gobble it up, and one time, a particularly picky eater (who will remain nameless) actually picked out the "meat" and left all the veggies.

So, here we go:
Ingredients -
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cups frozen Morning Star Veggie Crumbles (or 1lb ground beef)
+ 1/4 cup hot water with some salt and pepper added
1 28 oz can of chopped stewed tomatoes
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)

Preheat your oven to 350 deg (but our oven runs hot...probably close to 400 on a normal oven). Heat the 1/4 cup of seasoned water and add to the veggie crumbles. This is necessary because it adds liquid to the casserole that would otherwise be there if you were using real meat.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, then saute the onions till clear. Add about 1 tsp of chili powder to the cooking onions. When the onions are slightly translucent, add the veggie crumbles and their "juice" along with the remaining chili powder. Heat through, then add the canned tomatoes.
some brands of tomatoes seem to have more liquid than others. If things look "soupy", there's too much liquid, and you need to take some out. If it just looks nicely moist with some extra liquid around the edges, you're golden.

this is why my cast iron skillet never stays seasoned...but I LOVE cooking in it, plus I am slightly anemic, so this is one way for me to get extra iron. I only use this skillet for tomato-based dishes, so the others are nice and black.

Once the tomato juice starts to bubble, add the chopped bell pepper and the cup of brown rice, mix well, and bring back up to a boil. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and place in the preheated oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven, and uncover dish. Spread ~ 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese over the top, and put back in the oven, uncovered for ~8 minutes to melt the cheese. It should come out bubbly and gooey and yummy looking. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Best served with a dash (or 4) of Tobasco, and a nice, cold beer.

Please excuse the messy table, but this really is something we eat at least once a week, as is evidenced by the lack of 'presentation'. Also, it's great for lunch - either cold or heated up and Sedge will eat more of this than anything else I make.


  1. unfortunately, my bubbly, yummy pic got cut off in the post. click on it for a delicious view.

  2. Looks yummy. Got to love Morningstar. I am wondering, though, why you transfer to a casserole dish?

  3. I guess it's habit since that's the way my Mom did it. She must have used a non-oven safe skillet. The other reason is it's easier to put in the fridge in a casserole dish than a heavy, handled cast iron skillet.

  4. It /does/ look delcious... in fact, I wish I had some for lunch right now. (It's a bad idea to look at this site when you're hungry...)