Spinach Parmesan Rice Bake, or Cheesy Rice with Mixed Veggies

Well, this is my last post before I head off to Los Angeles, California for a Christmas week with my family. My sister has rented a house at Manhattan Beach, which I’ve never been to before, but I am confident that our time will be a good mix of fun and relaxation. She and I are both “spreadsheet organizers” so we have put together quite a few options of eating and activities possibilities that we may or may not get to. Perhaps more eating opportunity options are listed, as those are so easy to think of…

Ok, on to some content rather than babbling. I’ve known about Kittencal and her recipes for a long time from her submissions to Recipezaar which later became to Food.com, and had success with several of her recipes. She was one of the original food internet people that I started gathering recipes from. This one she has for a spinach parmesan bake I’ve had printed out for quite a while (since when I still lived in Chicago…), but it never made it to actual execution until now as it serves 8 people for dinner or a party of 16 at a potluck where it is a small side. That makes it perfect for sharing the indulgence during any winter potluck get together though, and no one is going to see anything during the sweater season…!

This is my adaption. It would be easy to add other veggies or diced meats to the dish as well- the second time I made this and didn’t have any spinach, so I just threw in a steamed bag of mixed veggies from the freezer- I show pictures from both batches I made, the latter of which I dub “Cheesy Rice Bake with Mixed Veggies”.

Her original recipe uses 3/4 cup of melted butter during the mixing of the spinach, rice, etc. but I reduced it in the recipe I listed below as the cheese and milk (I used skim) already is going  to add fat. I used her amount with spinach and it was pretty rich.

Also, maybe F gave me a hard time about how much fat is in the dish when he had the Spinach Parmesan Rice Bak version, even though I thought it was tasty (though ok, admittedly a little oily, and it had a harder time holding together when hot). But, then when I made it with mixed veggies in the Cheesy Rice with Mixed Veggies version, I didn’t use melted butter at all in it and I thought it was a little dry if it isn’t warm and you aren’t eating from the center part (although the flavors are still good). So I think the amount I listed below is a compromise between the two (I have fixed what I shared below, versus what I actually did!).

I also upped the 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper because I wanted a little more heat. I doubled the amount of onion and then did a sauté of the onions so they are sweet and caramelized, and I threw in the garlic too to make it fragrant, but you can follow her original and  mix them in raw until oven bake time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 cups cooked rice (will be using cold rice)
  • 2/3 cup diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of butter and separately, 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese or swiss cheese or a mix of the two (or other cheeses of your choice). I used a mix of cheddar and monterey jack
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) of shredded parmesan cheese: 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese for creating the dish, and another 1/4 cup for topping
  • 3/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • seasoning salt (to taste or can use white salt)
  • 3 eggs

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice and then set aside to cool in the fridge, or use leftover rice from when you went out/got delivery and had Chinese…
  2. Steam the frozen chopped spinach, and press out as much moisture as possible. Or… saute a bag of fresh spinach (though as you’ll see, this will make the final product a little bit more oily- but still delicious. Just leans towards more guilty pleasure. I was ok with this.). Or use a mixed vegetable bag around the same size in ounces and steam in the microwave… whatever suits you.
  3. Optional: Sauté the garlic and diced onion in a saucepan with the 1 tablespoon of butter on medium heat until fragrant and caramelized- the onions should become translucent.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 11 x 7″ baking dish.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the sauteed onion, cooked spinach or mixed veggies, cold rice, milk/cream, melted butter, and cheeses (the 2 cups shredded and 3/4 grated parmesan, saving the last 1/4 cup of grated parmesan for topping). Mix and season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste, keeping in mind to over-season by a bit as the eggs will dilute the flavor. Add in the beaten eggs and finish mixing everything thoroughly. I show both versions, one with spinach and one with mixed veggies below.
    spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole
    spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole
  6. Now, transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
    spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole
    spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole
  7. Bake uncovered or covered for 25 minutes or until set (over baking will cause a heavier denser texture if you prefer a lighter texture then bake just until set). Save the roof of your mouth from being burned by waiting at least 15 minutes before eating. You will want to eat this warm while its gooey. For the mixed veggies version I added a little more color by sprinkling some chopped chives and parsley on top at the end.
    spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole spinach parmesan rice bake vegetables casserole

As you can see, it’s a cheesy creamy rice casserole indeed. And, it’s even better the next day reheated as leftovers as it gives it a chance to solidify a bit more in the fridge over night. Now make this and share the comfort with your friends to get rid of it, or you will end up coming back to eat all the leftovers!

Thanks Kittencal(the recipe itself is at http://www.food.com/recipe/kittencals-spinach-parmesan-rice-bake, but her own blog/website has many more recipes you may want to search/browse).

Her notes share that “This is a wonderful easy side dish to chicken or meat and any leftovers freeze wonderful, it may also be baked in a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate and cut into wedges, this may be doubled but I would still only use one package or spinach or maybe 1-1/2 packages adding in too much spinach will overpower all other ingredients, prep time does not include cooking the rice — FOR FREEZING prepare recipe as directed but do not bake, wrap pan in plastic wrap then tightly in foil and freeze, to serve thaw over night in refrigerator, remove wrapping bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until hot. ”

How so very motherly, even in the way she writes to share her recipe on a website right?!

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Comments

  1. Mark Albert says:

    I earmarked this recipe to make for a future potluck event. It looks delicious and a bit like something that people may not have tried before. Thanks for sharing.

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