KAREN’S KASSEROLE RECIPE
This casserole is the easiest dish to make, along with being absolutely delicious and pretty healthful, to boot! [Note: Little grammar lesson here–Foods are healthful; people are healthy.] And it’s 100% my own recipe!
I’m not even giving it to you in standard recipe form here because it’s basically one that you can dump anything into. But there are two absolute musts—the base and the topping.
I make it for just Mr. X and me, and it’s so delish that we eat it for a few meals in a row, so I’m assuming it yields about six good-size servings. You need no side dishes, other than perhaps a small basic salad, which is always a plus for any good-for-you meal.
So, here’s what you do, and in what order:
First, microwave instant brown rice. [Note: Brown rice is excellent for you, while white rice is one of the worst foods you can eat.] I make the four servings amount. While the rice is “cooking” for about nine minutes, I gather the rest of my ingredients. And several are from cans, which is okay, especially if you use organic ones, as I do. (The foods inside—not the cans themselves. Obviously.)
The basic “throw-in” ingredients, that I never make this without, are:
Cans (all regular size ones):
Diced tomatoes (including the liquid often.)
Black beans (I promise, you really don’t taste the beans, and they add sooo much healthfulness to it!)
Corn (I often use frozen corn instead of canned, and microwave the bag while the rice sits for those extra five minutes when it’s done.)
Chunks of mozzarella
A bit of sea salt (we like Himalayan pink)
Chopped onions (we love them, especially the tiny crunch they add throughout, but as with many of the other ingredients in here, they’re optional)
I always use leftover chicken for myself, but leave it out for Mr. X’s portion. With the many ingredients, the dish gets so big that I have to use two casserole dishes, anyway, so this way, I make one vegetarian and one for my carnivorous self. (And, because of the two surfaces, we get double the delicious topping, which we’ll get to in a moment.) [Note: You can use turkey or pork instead, or a mixture, but red meat would make this a whole different dish, one for which I cannot vouch.] He likes it better without the chicken, especially with so much else going on in this casserole.
I basically just dump everything in there, and mix.
But the second best part (the best is yet to come) is that I get to use up all the tiny bits of leftovers that we inevitably have, which would otherwise be wasted! I’ve throw-in: cooked spinach, salsa, pico de gallo, tomatoes, carrots, cheese remnants, black-eyed peas, red sauces, and vegetables. It’s really the most satisfying feeling.
I mix everything, except the chicken, in the big casserole dish, and then put half of that mixture into the smaller dish. Then I add the chopped chicken into mine, and get ready for the pièce de résistance.
And that is…putting a layer of fried onion rings on the tops! OMG! That makes it sooo delicious! (And, of course, it’s the only ingredient that I’m sure is not good for one’s health. But this little bit of heaven is sooo worth it!) I make sure to cover every inch of the top with those crunchy little treats. And even if you have a serving or two of the casserole to microwave later, which means the onions are no longer crispy, they still add so much flavor. [Note: The store brands of these are just as good as the famous one in the red plastic tub.]
I cook the casseroles in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, and we’re good to go.
And that’s the whole shebang!
So, the next time you have leftover chicken, or just a lot of little leftovers and instant brown rice, I say go for it. And think of me as you enjoy my Karen’s Kasserole!!!