Category Archives: healthy

Mexican Style Brown Rice Casserole

As I have worked harder on my weight loss, I have fallen into the habit of doing meal prep of 2-3 meals a week on Saturday or Sunday. It saves me money as well as keeps me on the straight and narrow – meaning keeps us from going out to eat. I wanted to share a new recipe I found and made this week that is extremely easy to throw together but tastes delicious and has a lot of nutrients.  Casseroles are perfect for a busy family because you can throw it together and bake.  I often have left over rice from the batch I make in the rice cooker so this was a great way to use it up.

I am going to write it out as I prepared it, but you can go to the site for the original recipe.  It has a few mistakes or typos or something so you can take that and play with it as you want.  This is my interpretation.

Mexican-Style Brown Rice Casserole 
Serves 6
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 oz Wegman’s mild salsa
  • 16 oz organic frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup organic mild cheddar cheese
  • 15 oz can organic refried pinto beans
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 1.5 cups cooked brown rice (mine was a combo of short grain and jasmine)
  • 10 oz organic frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Coat a 2 qt glass dish with EVOO.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine rice, salsa, and cumin.  Spoon 1/2 of rice mixture into a prepared baking dish and spread to cover the bottom of dish
  3. In a large bowl combine refried beans, black beans, corn, cilantro, and chili powder.  Mix well and spread bean mixture on top of the rice layer.  Smooth with rubber spatula.
  4. Squeeze excess water from thawed spinach.  Sprinkle evenly over bean layer.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese.  Top with remaining rice mixture and smooth.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Place casserole in the oven and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.  Cut into 6 pieces and serve.  
I served mine with a little salsa on top instead of the suggested sour cream and had a salad on the side.  My husband had his with some roasted veggies we had left over.  This meal is incredibly filling because of all the beans and corn in it.  It’s really awesome comfort food.  The serving suggestion is to add more vegetables, but you could easily grab some tortillas and wrap these up as an amazing burrito or have a smaller serving (maybe half of one serving) with a side of eggs for a healthy and different breakfast.  
I also like these types of casseroles because they are very easy to play with to make different variations.  I already have been thinking of making a fajita version that substitutes the spinach with a layer of sauteed peppers and onions.  

Week of January 14th – Meal Planning

Another week and another batch of meals.  I’m getting back with the meal planning after the crazy holidays and being out of town.  I’m also really working to be better with prep with the hubby back in town.  I did decide that I am going to modify how I meal prep.  I am going to do two meal preps a week instead of one big one.  The man and I get really bored with meals and just need a lot of variety.  So here is this week’s meals we have planned so far:

Orzo and Chickpea Salad – one note – I made this sans mint since neither the man or I are super crazy about it.  it was still delicious.  I served it over a bed of romaine lettuce and green pepper. (vegetarian)

Crockpot Pinto Beans – Haven’t tried this one yet but it did finish in the crockpot this morning…excited to have with rice and salad.  I love beans for protein, fiber, and all the other nutrients. They are SO filling and as I’ve mentioned before – I love love them on the vegetarian diet.  I may grab some wholly guacamole or DIY some to go with these and some corn a la one of the reset meals. (vegan)

Spinach and Bean Stir Fry – This one is from a cookbook I have at home.  Have not cooked it yet, details to come.  (vegan but the serving recommendation from the book is to have with boiled eggs so it’s a vegetarian meal)

Salad – Basic tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell pepper, mushrooms…whatever we want thrown in a container.  I made a greek vinaigrette from the Ultimate Reset guidebook and we eat it with that.  This is a good lunch and I have some fruit with it.  How I get to my veggie servings, especially if I’m having beans and rice for dinner. (vegetarian or vegan)

I also bought a ton of fruit – strawberries, pineapple, banana, and oranges to have as snacks or as dessert.  Shakeology in the morning of course…it keeps me sane as I try to get out of travel mode.

Food Favorites: Eat Drink Smile

I found my new favorite food resource – Eat. Drink. Smile.  She has a meatless section and so far everything I have made has been delicious!  I have had to make some mods due to ingredients and availability…but in general love them.  I find that people that make vegan/vegetarian meals that are not vegan/vegetarian tend to make more filling meals.  Granted, it’s only been a few months of me even living in this world so maybe I should shut up 🙂  But I find her meatless section is full of stuff that I just love.  So far:

Black Bean Jambalaya – AMAZING.  Like seriously.  I didn’t use the hot sauce and instead added a few drops of liquid smoke.  Served it with bob’s red mill gluten free cornbread and it tasted way too delicious to be full of healthy ingredients.  This recipe is vegan but nobody will complain…trust me.

Eggplant, Mozzarella, and Rice Bake – Really really filling…more than I thought it would be.  I didn’t use the saffron – I balked at the cost of it (it’s like $20 for 5 pinches).  But it was fine without it.  Just remember if you use brown rice to cook it in the pan longer (about 2x as long) to make sure your rice isn’t crunchy.

Giant White Beans with Goat Cheese and Pesto – I don’t really live close to Trader Joe’s so I used regular old white beans.  To make it more like what she did, I chopped up 2 medium tomatoes and added them to the layers.  I then added more goat cheese…because who doesn’t love goat cheese???

I am thinking of the list below for the next few weeks:

Cabbage Au Gratin – comments mention adding zucchini to it…which sounds yum

Butternut Squash with Blue Cheese and Spinach

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna – because the 3 most delicious words in the English language are in the title

One of the things I have learned most about being a mostly vegetarian is that hearty meals are not so hard to find.  The main thing to do is to use hearty veggies and beans to beef up a meal.  An extra side of roasted veggies does wonders and don’t be afraid of grains in moderation 🙂  Also – fruit is the BEST dessert!