Monday, May 19, 2008

Delicious Breakfast Casserole Recipe Using Stockpiled Groceries

Now that I've been clipping coupons, shopping sales and playing the Grocery Game, we have a pantry full of quick-cook rice and pasta. They make good, quick sides and a great lunch for a picky toddler, but I do like to mix things up every now and again.

I've found that variety is key to making eating at home preferable to eating out.

Jackson, my almost 2-year-old, helped me find a recipe that used up two boxes of rice and provided us breakfast (and lunch) for several days. Nope, our little Jackaroni isn't some culinary protege. But he does like to do what toddlers do -- get into everything.

This weekend, he was pulling cookbooks off the shelf and a recipe I'd clipped ages ago tumbled out. I decided to cook up a batch of Ham & Asparagus Brunch Bake for our Sunday breakfast. The recipe came from Uncle Ben's but I tweaked it a bit. My notes are at the end of the recipe, marked with asterisks.

This recipe was a hit with my family because unlike so many breakfast casseroles, it doesn't include eggs. (We don't eat eggs; just don't like 'em)

Ham & Asparagus Brunch Bake

2 packages Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice Original*
1 lb asparagus, cut into pieces
2 cups ham, chopped**
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 cup cheese, shredded***

1. In large saucepan, prepare rice mixes according to package directions, adding the asparagus to the rice mixture during the last five minutes of cooking.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 11 X 7 1/2" baking dish.
3. When the rice has cooked, remove saucepan from heat
4. Add ham, bell pepper and onion. Mix well.
5. Place mixture in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until mixtures is heated through.

* I only had one box of Long Grain & Wild Original Recipe Rice, so for my second box, I used Uncle Ben's Country Inn Broccoli Rice Au Gratin. These two rice dishes have different cooking times -- 25 minutes and 10 minutes -- so I had to cook them in separate pans. I mixed them together in the casserole, and I really like the creaminess that the au gratin rice gave the dish.

** I think this would be delicious to make if you have leftover ham, but we didn't. But I did have some thick-sliced deli Virginia baked ham. I cut that up in cubes and added it to the dish. I think bacon or country ham would also work nicely. Really, any meat that you prefer.

*** I combined mozarella and freshly grated parmesan cheese and baked it until it was slightly browned.

The meal was delicious, and we had a lot of leftovers, enough for all three of us to have it again for breakfast, brunch or lunch.


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