Healthy comfort food
This past week called for something in this category. I waited for inspiration to come over me, nothing did
When in doubt, consult the cookbook your Mom used the most when you were a kid. Within a few minutes thumbing through the casserole category, I'd found the perfect thing.
Not entirely healthy as it was, but I could fix that
The original, of course, called for a cream of mushroom soup/sour cream combination to hold it together and give it a creamy texture. Also included were handfuls of cheese, piled on top and baked until it oozed onto the oven floor.
Alas, when you know better, you do better. So I played with it a bit
I used a combination of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt as a binder, with more grown-up tastes for flavor. Mushrooms, onions, and roasted garlic were sautéed with spinach and mixed through the rice.
Gruyère and Parmesan sprinkled on top, not for the effect of melted cheese but instead for the tasty finish it would bring.
The spice was kept simple: some Herbs de Provence, a bit of salt and pepper. A few whole wheat bread crumbs sprinkled on top.
This is a recipe that could go so many ways, depending on the mood of the day or things in your cupboard
I could easily imagine veggies being thrown in, or your favorite meat for protein, any cheese to dot the top, your favorite blend of spices. Maybe you like a creamier blend to hold it together? Double the cottage cheese/Greek yogurt potion? How about a different grain combination?
It's hard to go wrong.
ps: I'm featuring this recipe as part of our low-cost meal series. Although I did do some upgrades here, mostly because of the type of cheese, but even in its simplest, most economical form, it's absolutely delicious.
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~ Adapted from Sugar ‘N Spice (United Methodist Church Estherville, Iowa)
Mushroom, Rice, and Spinach Casserole
- 3/4 pound ~ 8 ounces brown mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 medium onion, well chopped
- roasted garlic
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 x-large eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- fine grain sea salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan/Gruyère cheese combination
- 16 oz spinach
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free if you're avoiding gluten)
- Herbs de Provence for sprinkling on the top
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F
- Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside. (The pan I use is slightly smaller than a classic 9x13 baking dish - just grab for something in this ballpark)
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in a glug of olive oil sprinkled with a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt.
- Stir every minute or so, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and browned a bit.
- Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent.
- Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute and remove from heat.
- Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and sea salt.
- Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in a large bowl, stir until well combined and then turn out into your prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle the bread crumbs on top, and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more, or until hot throughout, and golden along the edges.
- Sprinkle with the Herbs de Provence, and the remaining Parmesan