Friday, February 18, 2011

"Mexican" Brown Rice Casserole

Aaron has been craving Mexican-style food for a while now. Maybe he wouldn't call it a craving, but he has been asking for it. I've missed Mexican-style food since restarting my Weight Watchers journey. Most Mexican-style dishes I make have some kind of cheese in them. Cheese is rather high in PointsPlus value, unless I use lowfat or no-fat cheese. I don't like using no-fat cheese, and I like A LOT of cheese, so Mexican has been off the menu here for a while.

At my meeting this week, I read the weekly pamphlet and was delighted to see a Mexican-style meal that didn't require no-fat cheese. In fact, the ingredients are pretty basic, and the preparation looked super-easy. The recipe did not disappoint me. It was flavorful, reasonably filling, somewhat kid-approved, and has made for good leftovers.

"Mexican" Brown Rice Casserole
From Weight Watchers - 8 PointsPlus per serving
Serves 6

1 spray cooking spray
4 c. cooked brown rice
1 1/4 c. fat-free salsa
1 tsp. ground cumin
15 oz. refried beans
10 oz. frozen corn, thawed
4 oz. canned green chili peppers, mild, diced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
10 oz. frozen spinach, or collard greens, thawed and set to drain in a strainer over a bowl
3/4 c. lowfat shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. cilantro, fresh, chopped (optional, for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375.
Coat a 2-quart rectangular, round or oval baking dish with cooking spray

In a large bowl, combine rice, salsa and cumin. Spoon 2 cups of rice mixture into prepared baking dish and spread out to evenly cover bottom of dish.

In another large bowl, combine refried beans, corn, chili peppers and chili powder. Using a rubber spatula, scrape bean mixture on top of rice layer and smooth out top.

Squeeze out any excess water from spinach or collard greens and then spread on top of bean layer; sprinkle with 6 tablespoons of cheese. Top with remaining rice mixture and smooth out top; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Place casserole on a large rimmed baking sheet to catch any spillage. Bake until heated through and cheese is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro (if desired), cut into 6 pieces and serve.

I skipped the cilantro, but I'm sure the dish would be good with it. I didn't bother with the large baking sheet because I could see that the casserole wasn't going to overflow. I think I will use more spinach next time. This casserole also would make fantastic burrito/enchilada filling. And one last note, this casserole would be great for sports gatherings/tailgating.

Buen provecho!

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