Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wild Rice Casserole

The last time I made this was February. I liked it okay but I thought there was a lot I could change about it. I hadn't planned on making a casserole this week, and I definitely didn't want to make one during the warm summer months. I'm hoping to reduce my oven usage significantly until.....whenever it gets cold. :-) But the last few days have been really crazy for us in terms of scheduling--especially with the end of the school year approaching! I haven't made a menu yet--eek!--and last night I asked Graham what he wanted for dinner tonight. Occassionally when he picks, he'll pick a base or a meat and I'll come up with something. Last night, he didn't tell me what he wanted, so this morning I just took out some ground beef with the hope of being inspired at work today.

Nope! During my free time today, I couldn't find anything that sounded good to me. So, I decided to tackle a casserole I made a few months ago and see if I could make it a little more exciting.

I'm still not in love with this casserole. While I think it was better than last time, I'm still not totally impressed. I think it's church potluck good, but not necessarily family dinner good, if that makes any sense at all. You'll have to try it and tell me what you think.

Wild Rice Casserole

1lb. lean ground beef (80/20 works best)
1 package (6.2 oz) long-grain and wild rice mix
1 can condensed roasted garlic & mushroom soup
1 T. olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz) (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil and cook beef over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occassionally, until brown. Drain off fat.

Meanwhile, make rice mix as directed on package.

Stir in rice mixture, soup, milk, and pepper into beef. Spoon into casserole.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and mixture is hot.

Notes:
  • I liked the texture that the onion added. I think it gave the casserole a nice flavor that it wouldn't have otherwise.
  • The olive oil infuses a nice flavor into the beef. I never make this without it.
  • Adding vegetables like mushrooms or onions will give the casserole a wholeness that it's missing; using just COC soup helps the casserole stick together, but it can't stand in place of vegetables.

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