The Pittsburgh Food Diaries: Cooking a Casserole.

Casserole. It’s not really an attractive word. In fact, it often conjures up memories of horrible family dinners shared over meals gone very, very wrong. Well, Monday night, for some reason, I decided to make a casserole. (Actually, I do know the reason. I wanted something inexpensive and simple to make, and something that would leave few dirty dishes behind. In case you were wondering, this meal was neither simple – my own fault – or easy on the dishes.)

Here comes Pinterest to the rescue. Again. I decided to make a chicken and rice casserole, but with a little bit of a Mexican twist.

Ingredients: cooked brown rice, shredded chicken, corn, black beans, Greek yogurt or sour cream, green chiles, chunky salsa, grated cheddar + Monterrey jack cheese, and cilantro.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients (except for cilantro) in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to casserole dish and top with extra cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy. Preferably with a margarita on the rocks, no salt.

Serve With: A fruity and spicy Rioja or Tempranillo.

ricebake-3Now, for the entertainment value. The recipe calls for 4 cups of cooked brown rice. It took me only a few moments after I dumped 4 cups of uncooked rice into (non-boiling) water to realize my grave error. Not only did I end up with approximately 12 cups of brown rice, but it took forever since I didn’t have the patience to wait until my water had reached a rolling boil. Long story short, I burnt a significant portion of the rice. Good thing I made extra. Next time, I’ll be using Uncle Ben’s instant brown rice. I should also note that the mountain of dirty dishes is still sitting in my sink. Oh well, at least dinner was delicious!

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