Friday, September 7, 2012

Mexican Rice Casserole!

Missy, here. We talked about casseroles earlier this week, and I promised to share one today. I saw this on The Pioneer Woman on Food Network the other day and decided to make it. Of course, I didn't have some of the ingredients, so I did my own version. Still, you can check out the original recipe for Mexican Rice here. The recipe was for a side dish. But I didn't have chicken to grill to go along with it so decided to turn it into a main dish with some ground beef.

Original Ingredient List:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 whole large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups long grain rice
  • Two 14.5-ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, such as Rotel
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 to 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (more if needed) Note: I only used 4 cups chicken broth which was one box (it probably could have used 5)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar (I mixed cheddar and 4-cheese Italian since my cheddar ran out)

I didn't have Rotel tomatoes but suggest you add them for flavor.
I added 1 pound lean ground beef.
I accidentally dumped in two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes (as seen in the photo) so had to fish some out! :)

Heat oil, then add onions and garlic, cooking for a couple of minutes to soften onion. Add ground beef and cook until browned. I use 93% lean beef so never have to drain anything off.

Then stir in rice and lower heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes.

Next, add tomatoes and all the spices. I broke up the tomatoes with my the Pampered Chef tool that I love for breaking apart my beef. I think it's officially a potato masher!

Now add the chicken broth. Like I said, I only used 4 cups because it looked like so much! It was fine, but when I reheated leftovers, it was a little dry. So I'd suggest 5 cups broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer (covered) about 10-15 minutes. Ree's recipe said to cook until rice is not quite done.

Pour into a casserole dish (I used a 9x13 non-stick sheet cake pan). Sprinkle with the cheese. I do believe I used more cheese than the recipe called for! I just made sure it was covered nice and thick. :) I guess when talking about cheese, "sprinkle" isn't something in my vocabulary. Better choices would be dump or drown or deluge!

Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. It's ready when cheese is nice and melted.

We ate this for dinner and then had a ton of leftovers. It'll feed an army!


  1. Okay, I'm definitely making this! YUM!!!! I'm a sucker for anything with rice. I love things like this. And I think my kids would totally go for it. Bonus!

  2. Virginia, I had to smash up the tomatoes so they'd be pretty much invisible to get my son to eat it. The kids liked it!

  3. FOUR cups rice? You're right - that's enough to feed an army!

    I think I'll cut this in half, even for my crew...but it looks delicious.

    Missy, we don't - well, one of us doesn't - do chunks of tomatoes, either, so I give them a whirl in the blender before adding them to a recipe.

    I also don't do Rotel (even though I love the flavor) because of the chemical citric acid in them (same chemical as in MSG). So when a recipe calls for Rotel, I use a can of Hunt's tomatoes and either a can of green chilies or I chop up some frozen peppers (Anaheim, jalapeno, whatever I have in the freezer).

    With our family's schedule, having something that can be reheated is a plus. Between work, school and whatever else people have going on, we rarely have all six of us home for dinner, but they'll pack leftovers for the next day's lunch or have them for a late night snack.

    I'll have to add this to next week's menu.

  4. Jan, thanks for the idea to just add peppers.

    There are 4 of us at home. I think only 3 of us ate the casserole the first night. I'm trying to remember how many other servings we got out of it. I'd guess about 10. And there's still 1-2 servings left! When you take into account that a couple of us had seconds, I'm thinking this will feed 12-14 people a large serving. So you may want to make the whole thing if you want leftovers for lunches. :)

    1. Let's see if I count my husband as 5, then that is just about right for us! :D

    2. Your hubby has a big appetite Virginia?? :)

  5. This sounds yummy, Missy. I'll have to give this one a go.

    1. You know, Mindy, I think your Mexican casserole would have more flavor (the one using the enchilada mix). I could always toss in a packet with this recipe.