Two reasons this recipe is not accompanied by a photo of the dish: 1) I was really hungry when I made this and we ate the casserole before I could secure photographic evidence of this dish. And 2) this dish is really, really ugly. So ugly that if I have kids, I don't think there is any way in hell that I will convince them to try this because you look at it and say "wow - this is one ugly, healthy looking dish."
Fall is in the air here in Minnesota - even if the thermometer keeps claiming that the temperatures are in the 80s. (I'm writing this on September 15th ... by the time this actually posts, it probably will be chilly out.) But the days are getting short, the nights are significantly cooler and dammit, the grill is getting ready for hibernation, it's time for me to be making casseroles!
I found this at EatBetterAmerica.com. This site is sponsored by the good folks at General Mills and while I'm not a slave to labels, General Mills is headquartered up in the Twin Cities and are also the people currently associated with the Jolly Green Giant.
My oldest nephews and I had a close encounter with the Jolly Green Giant this summer when we were on vacation. Why would a giant man wear such a short tunic? The world may never know ...
Now that your mind's are firmly in the garden gutter - here's the recipe.
"Healthified" Spinach & Rice Casserole
adapted from EatBetterAmerica.com
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 medium carrots, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup chopped celery - 3 stalks
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups water
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
2 boxes (9 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (**next time I'm going to omit, I kept getting dried rosemary stuck in my teeth - not very attractive)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup diced cooked ham
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (3 oz)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water and soup; heat to boiling. Add spinach, rice, Italian seasoning and pepper; return to boiling. Remove from heat; stir in ham, 1/4 cup of the Cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Spread in baking dish. Cover with foil.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Let stand uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
A thought - this would be good with some diced cooked chicken. Also - the recipe called for reduced fat cheese? I said screw that and used the full fat stuff ... considering how much goes in it (not a lot), I'd rather forgo the additives and fill my body with good stuff. All things in moderation, right?