Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

6:00:00 AM

This past weekend, we celebrated my daughter's birthday. She set the menu. She wanted rice and broccoli because "We need to eat a balanced meal, mom." But because this mama was cooking all the dishes for this birthday celebration with the extended family, I decided to combine the rice and broccoli into one dish. The little princess gave me permission, of course! This Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole turned out so yummy and creamy--definitely fit for a princess's birthday.

Here's what I used:
2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
6 cups broccoli florets, steamed until just tender
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place uncooked rice into a 9x13 baking dish. In a medium sauce pan, heat up stock and evaporated milk on low heat--don't allow to boil. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery and saute until onions are translucent. Add the flour and cook until the flour is golden, about a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk mixture to the onion mixture and stir until there aren't any lumps. Turn off the heat. Add the sour cream and half of the cheese and stir until combined. Dump this mixture onto the rice in the baking dish. Stir and then cover the casserole dish with foil. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, stir, and then cook for 30 minutes more (still covered with foil). Stir in steamed broccoli . Mix together the bread crumbs and the remainder of the cheese and spread on top of the casserole. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are golden.

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