Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Broccoli and Cheese Rice

At the grocery store on base (we call it a commissary), they have this hot case full of random, average food.  It might be average but it is still better than most of the other dining options on base, so I usually grab something if I am on base at lunch time.  One thing that I often choose is broccoli with an obscene amount of gooey cheese sauce on it.  It can't exactly be healthy, but it is broccoli, right?

Today, they had clearly taken yesterday's pan of broccoli and cheese and mixed it with some rice to make a "new" dish.  While I didn't have any, it did remind me of how much I love broccoli cheese rice.  I asked the man behind the counter what type of cheese they use (he claims it was American) and realized that I already had all the ingredients in my house.

First, make a pot of rice or grab a bag out of your freezer and defrost it. I used regular, medium grain white rice.

Take one head of fresh broccoli or about a cup of frozen broccoli and steam it however you like to steam things. I usually use a Pampered Chef micro-cooker but I am trying to get away from the whole plastic/microwave thing. Instead, I used a glass baking dish with a lid and about a tablespoon of water. I put the lid on just a teensy bit askew so that some steam could escape. Five minutes to lovely broccoli.  If it isn't chopped finely enough, take it out and chop it some more.

Add about two cups of rice and mix well.

Take five slices of American cheese and put it through and on the broccoli-rice mixture.  We use real American cheese, not processed cheese food, and I'm not sure if that would make a difference in the recipe.

Heat it somehow - microwave, stovetop or oven will all do.  You are just trying to get the cheese to melt, since the rice and broccoli are hot already.

Once the cheese melts, mix thoroughly to distribute the cheese.  I had to throw it back in the oven for a little longer so that the cheese would really spread throughout.

The Verdict

This recipe can definitely use some improvements.  Next time, I will either make a white sauce and melt the cheese into the sauce before mixing it into the broccoli-rice, or I will use a lot more cheese.  It tasted great, but not nearly as cheesy as my taste buds were hoping.  I loved how the green color popped against the white and yellow.

The kids didn't care for it.  They could not figure out why I would ruin good rice by adding broccoli, and cooked broccoli at that.  I was hoping that by keeping the broccoli to rice ratio low, I could convince them that the broccoli was just garnish.  I guess I was unsuccessful.

Broccoli-Cheese Rice, serves 6

two cups cooked rice (fresh or frozen)
one cup finely chopped cooked broccoli
five slices of American cheese, or a lovely white sauce with said cheese melted in

Mix the rice, broccoli and cheese/cheese sauce.  Heat through and mix well before serving.

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