Hidden-Vegetable Rice Casserole

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I love tax season. When we got together, Justin and I agreed that our tax returns were to be used for something that we want but wouldn’t otherwise splurge on or have the money for. It was the one time of year when we wouldn’t have to consult one another before making a large, possibly nonsensical purchase. This year Justin is buying a BBQ that he’s been eyeing (he’s really excited about the built-in deep fryer) and I’ve made a few smaller purchases, including a blender and a food processor.

Last night I tried out my food processor, for the first time, to help throw dinner together. I am always trying to get the kids to eat more veggies. Especially Gavin – he hates almost all vegetables – so I like to sneak them in where I can. Gavin loved this casserole and sped through two large bowls before claiming to be full. Win!

We had 1/2 of a fully cooked ham in the fridge and I got Justin to dice it for me.

20150310_171701Then I processed bell peppers, grape tomatoes, and spinach. *I pureed mine so I could hide it well; but you can use your own discretion as to how you want yours.

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The ham was sauteed in a lightly oiled pan.

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Then I added the veggies and heated everything through. **At this point, you can reduce the sauce a little, if you like, but I left it as it was.

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Combine the ham and veggie mixture with cooked whole grain brown rice. Pour into a baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray and top with cheese.

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Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.

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Serve hot.

Hidden-Vegetable Rice Casserole

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Ingredients:

1/2 of a fully cooked ham, diced

1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded

1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and seeded

1 orange bell pepper, quartered and seeded

1 pint of grape tomatoes

2 handfuls of baby spinach

1 c uncooked whole grain brown rice

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Pour rice and stock into a large pot with garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

In a food processor, use the “pulse” button to process the peppers, tomatoes, and spinach until it reaches your desired consistency.*

In a large skillet, saute ham in a little extra virgin olive oil until heated through. Add the vegetable mix and simmer on low about 10 minutes.**

Add the cooked rice and stir to combine well.

Pour rice mixture into baking dish.

Top with cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Serve hot with crusty bread.

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