Saturday, January 23, 2016

Easy Chorizo Rice Casserole

Making the Greek style turkey and feta rice casserole for one of the recent cooking challenges reminded me of how much I love simple casseroles. They're hearty, easy to put together, and relatively healthy depending on what you put into it. Since it's been pretty cold lately, and since I didn't want to deal with going to Trader Joe's so close to the holiday weekend, I decided to make a chorizo rice casserole this week mostly with things from our pantry.

For this casserole, I used:

- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 1 can Rotel
- 1 can diced green chiles, drained
- 1 can corn, drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 package of soy chorizo
- a few scallions, chopped
- quite a few handfuls of Mexican shredded cheese

We've had a lot of these cans for a while, so I'm not sure exactly how much everything cost, but when I'm making something with mostly pantry ingredients, I care a little bit less since all of those things are basically sunk costs. Also, the Trader Joe's soy chorizo (which is basically a pantry ingredient as it lasts for months in the fridge before expiring) has tons of flavor, so you don't even need to add any extra spices.

The basic process for making the casserole is simple. Cook the rice (we used the rice cooker), and while the rice is cooking, combine everything else (except the cheese) in a skillet. I don't think the order really matters that much, but depends more on how crunchy you want the onions and scallions to be. I let it cook down until a lot of the water was gone, and then added the rice and mixed it all together well. After that, I added a handful of cheese and stirred that in. All that was left was putting it in a greased baking pan and topping it with several more handfuls of shredded cheese, and then loading it into the oven to bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. So easy.

This casserole was really good, and I'm not sure why I never thought to make it before. It's perfect for the middle of the winter, healthy, hearty, warming, with a good balance of vegetables included. Unfortunately we're now out of soy chorizo and aren't sure how well-stocked TJ's will be since we're still in the middle of a blizzard, but hopefully we'll be able to get more soon so we can make this again!

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