It was really cold this morning. Okay, it was really cold for southern Florida. Anyhow, as I was driving to work and planning dinner – what? isn’t that when you plan dinner? – I was in the mood for something warm and comforting.
Time for a casserole.
I didn’t really feel like putting a lot of time, effort, or money into this one. Yeah, cold weather makes me lazy. (Make that lazier.) So I mentally went through what was in the pantry, and got an idea.
Cheesy Rice Casserole
I used a round, two-quart casserole dish with a lid. Sauté two ribs of celery, one medium onion, and one large head of broccoli, all chopped. (Use any combination of vegetables you think will taste good together.) Add about three or four cups of cooked white rice and stir it all up. Eyeball the amount to make sure it will fit in your casserole dish. Over that, pour about two cups of a basic white sauce, and stir gently to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix about two cups of shredded cheese, one cup of cottage cheese, and a little bit of water to thin the cottage cheese.
Put half the rice mixture in the casserole, and layer with half the cheese mixture. Add the rest of the rice, and spread the remaining cheese mixture evenly over the top. Heat through in the oven or microwave, and then run it under a broiler to brown the top.
Basic White Sauce
In a sauce pan, combine two cups cold milk with three or four tablespoons of cornstarch, and mix well. Salt to taste. Heat the milk slowly, stirring constantly. Be careful not to heat it too quickly, or you will scorch the milk (ask me how I know this). Add any additional seasonings you desire.