Easy Eats

Leftover Rice Casserole

There’s an entire category of recipes that I hoped to bring back into normal cooking rotation when I wrote Love Your Leftovers.

These are dishes that require double cooking. For example, if you’re crushed for time on a busy Tuesday, it’s completely unrealistic that you are going to cook rice only to cook it again in a casserole. This is true even if the casserole is delicious and you want it.

It probably won’t happen.

Since you guys voted for RICE last weekend, I wanted to share with you this Leftover Rice Casserole, one of my favorite casserole recipes from Love Your Leftovers – .

The key part of this recipe is that you have already cooked the rice! Maybe you had leftover Chinese take-out rice or maybe you do what I do now which is just cook rice in one pound batches and freeze it.

Once you have cooked rice at the ready, you can make dishes like this any day.

Yield
Serves 4-6.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Yum

Leftover Broccoli Rice Casserole

One of my favorite casserole recipes from Love Your Leftovers: Broccoli Rice Casserole with lots of cheese and mild jalapeno heat.

Ingredients

3 cups fresh broccoli, blanched
1 cup milk
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
Salt and pepper

Helpful Equipment

Baking dish
Print Recipe  

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2) In a medium pot, bring water to a simmer and salt it with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Once simmering, add broccoli florets and cook for 60 seconds until bright green and slightly tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

3) In a separate smaller pot, combine cream, milk, and stock and heat over low heat until steaming, but don’t boil.

4) In a larger pot, add oil over medium heat followed by onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Season with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

5) Add flour to a pot and whisk to stir flour into oil. Cook the roux until it is a light tan color, about 4 minutes.

6) Slowly pour in hot milk mixture, whisking constantly as you add it to the roux base. Whisk well and bring to a slight simmer. The mixture should be the consistency of a thin gravy. If it’s very thin, simmer for a minute or two to thicken.

7) Add grated cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in rice and broccoli. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

8) Transfer mixture to casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes.

9) Top with slivered almonds and return to oven for another 15 minutes.

10) Remove casserole and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe slightly adapted from, well, my own recipe in Love Your Leftovers.

Leftover Rice Casserole

The Leftovers Key

Actually, I lied a bit. For the rice I used for this Leftover Rice Casserole, I actually cooked TWO pounds of rice at once. That might sound like a crazy amount, but I know I needed at least three cups for this dish and I needed a lot for a weekday lunch recipe I’m posting soon.

Plus, I wanted to use brown rice which takes 30-40 minutes to cook. You better believe I didn’t want to cook two batches.

Save yourself 40 minutes.

Save yourself 40 minutes.

It would be totally unrealistic to make this delicious batch of brown rice and then make this Leftover Rice Casserole.

It’s called planning ahead and it makes cooking easy!

Vegetable Dealings

I have a problem where I can’t even follow my own recipe.

I changed up this version in a few ways from the book.

1) I added a diced jalapeno instead of just using dried spices. It’s a little extra chopping, but rounds out the flavors nicely.

2) I cut back on the cream and added more milk. To be honest, I did this just because I ran out of cream on this particular day. Using 1 cup of cream instead  of 1/2 cup makes for a much better casserole, but this version was tasty also.

Good veg. - Leftover Rice Casserole

Good veg.

It does help to blanch the broccoli quickly before you put together the casserole.

Just bring a pot of water to a simmer and season it with salt and then dunk in the broccoli for 60 seconds. Then drain and rinse the broccoli with cold water.

You can absolutely use frozen broccoli for this recipe in which case you can just skip this entirely and thaw the broccoli in the microwave in 15 second bursts.

A quick blanch.

A quick blanch.

The Roux and The Sauce

The base of this recipe is a classic cream sauce which starts with a roux. This is really easy to do, people.

Add a glug of oil (3-4 tablespoons) to a pot along with the onions, garlic, and pepper over medium heat. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes and then stir in the flour.

A quick roux.

A quick roux.

Let this cook for a few minutes and whisk the flour into the oil. It’ll form some dry paste and the flour will stick to the veggies and look like it’s clumping. Don’t worry about it.

Not hard. Don't worry!

Not hard. Don’t worry!

Then add your cream/milk/stock mixture. This will mix easier if the mixture is warm (but not boiling).

Whisk like crazy as you slowly add the liquid.

Whisk whisk whisk.

Whisk whisk whisk.

The end result will be a really creamy sauce. It should be like a thin gravy, but if it’s too thin then just simmer it for a bit and it should thicken right up.

Nice and creamy.

Nice and creamy.

Making the Casserole

Now add cheese. I used about two cups. Go crazy.

Adding cheese.

Adding cheese.

Then add that rice. Again, this rice is cooked but not even reheated or anything. I pulled it straight from the fridge and stirred it in.

Now for the rice.

Now for the rice.

Then stir in the broccoli and transfer it to a casserole dish of your choosing. I like a 2 1/2 quart pan, but you’ll need at least 2 quarts to fit it all.

Ready to bake - Leftover Rice Casserole

Ready to bake.

Bake this Leftover Rice Casserole beauty for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Then sprinkle on some slivered almonds and return to the oven for 15 more minutes. The almonds are kind of optional, but I think they are a nice touch.

Almonds on top of Leftover Rice Casserole

Almonds on top.

Let the casserole cool a bit and serve it up!

Serve this with a little side salad or something and it’s a great meal.

Leftover rice is one of the most versatile things you can have in your fridge. Please don’t let it go to waste!

There are a dozen other awesome leftover rice ideas in Love Your Leftovers.

Do you have any leftover rice uses? Leave a comment!

Broccoli rice casserole: The perfect use for leftover rice! From my cookbook, Love Your Leftovers.

15 comments on “Leftover Rice Casserole

  1. I love rice and beans——any kind of beans, even canned beans. My aunt puts canned tomatoes over rice—-surprisingly good. Rice salad instead of potatoes. So. Texas we eat rice and gravy with a roast—-heavenly.

  2. Not liking jalapeños, I like the one in your cookbook much better. Nick is so right that having frozen cooked rice comes in really handy. I loved this recipe (except for the jalapeños..)

  3. I had already been making more rice (pasta, hamburger, chicken, baked potatoes, etc. etc.) than was needed for just the one meal before I read that blog post a few weeks ago with the rice chapter from your book. I ordered it that day, and I really feel like it has helped me menu plan better (although not as good as I’d like). Anyway, it really is a revolutionary way of looking at the weekly menus, and it is a great way to get dinner on the table fast. I’ve already worked through some of the bean chapter as well as some of the pork (I already had both in my freezer). I can’t wait to get to some more starting at the top (making the big item from which to pull other meals). Gonna try this broccoli casserole over the weekend. Sounds delicious.

  4. Had this yesterday, and the Mixto for breakfast this morning. Delicious. Want to try your ice cream chapter, but wondering if you have a use for all the egg whites. I saw a marshmallow topping, but wondering if you just toss them or have other uses for them.

    1. Hey Cindi, I save my whites and use them in omelets or you can also freeze them and then you’ll have them the next time you need to make a meringue or something. Glad you liked it!

  5. It’s funny you are talking about rice. We just had Chinese take out last night & I don’t like white rice with Chinese food. I ended up saving the carton of rice & was trying to figure put what to make with that small amount of rice. Then I remembered a childhood favorite that my Mother used to make. It’s just room temperature rice (it can be warmed a bit if you like) and she would add sugar & some canned Carnation Milk (sometimes I will use cream). Sweeten to taste. It’s a Southern thing we do. My Mother’s family was poor & this was their treat. For me….it’s a comforting thing!

    1. Hey Ginger, I’ve actually had that kind of thing before also… it’s almost like a quick rice pudding situation. ;)

  6. Will definitely try this recipe, as my husband and I have rice several times a week. I’m thinking of using this recipe in a mash-up with my standard post-Thanksgiving turkey enchiladas suesza recipe. That is, using diced Ortega chilis in place of the jalapenos and (maybe) substituting sour cream for the whole cream (using the more-milk variation you used above to keep it from being to thick). And, of course, adding some shredded turkey or chicken because my husband doesn’t consider a meal “dinner” unless it features protein! (Yeah, I married a caveman, lol!)

  7. I’ve noticed, that this didn’t get the greatest reviews from those who rated this recipe. Any further suggestions to make this recipe pop (fresh herbs, curry, horseradish, greater salt/pepper additions than commonly assumed)?

  8. I’ve made this before ( and loved it!) but I only have cauliflower in the fridge. I think it’ll work fine but does anyone have an opinion? Thoughts?

    1. @carrie white… Cauliflower is perfectly adequate as a replacement. This recipe is quite versatile as it is a delivery system for add-ons. Meats, veg, etc. You should be able to mix-and-match.

Leave a Comment