Apparently it won’t stop raining till tomorrow, and after three straight days of non-stop rain, I’m desperately hoping that the sun will shine once more, and flood the city with its light and warmth.
Meanwhile, I’ve been taking refuge in my apartment, now that the central heating is finally back working again, and between bouts of freelance writing and reading the cookbooks my dear friend Marina sent over for my birthday, I’ve been cooking.
Quite a lot, in fact, because cold, rainy weather warrants that I be in the kitchen, hovering over the spicy shrimp curry that’s simmering on the stove; feeling the warmth when I open the oven door to pull out the freshly-baked lemon cornmeal cake; or simply chopping endless loads of vegetables in a way that actually mimics a workout at the gym.
As we move from fall to winter, it’s only natural that our bodies crave warmth and food that fills us in the most satisfying way.
There’s a need to push the cold away and top up with hot, delicious food. But not just any food; I’m referring to food that is homemade and cooked with healthy, wholesome ingredients. Food that is fresh and full of taste.
Casseroles are a big thing here in the US, and I’m starting to understand why. Casseroles are symbols of undeniable comfort and warmth.
They are easy to bring to together, and often require very little hands-on cooking time.
Plus, they involve baking in the oven, which means that the house gets warmed up even if it’s cold outside.
Here’s a casserole that I made that fits the bill – it’s filling, comforting (think of the rice!), delicious (think of that cheddar!) and most importantly, healthy (broccoli!). Plus, it’s such an economical dish that you can easily whip up for a crowd without breaking the bank. How does that sound to you?
Have a go at it, make it for lunch or dinner, and then you can always thank me later : )
- 4 cups of broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 5 teaspoons of gluten-free all purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk
- ⅓ cup of greek yogurt
- 8 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 4 cups of cooked white long-grain rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil
- When water starts boiling, blanch broccoli florets in water for 5 minutes or until knife tender
- As broccoli florets are being blanched, place a small pot over medium heat and mix the flour with ½ cup of milk until combined
- Bring heat down to low and add the remaining 1½ cups of milk, greek yogurt and 6 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese and mix well until you get a homogeneous mixture
- Pre-heat broiler and grease a 1.5 quart casserole dish
- Mix the cooked broccoli florets with the rice and the cheese liquid mixture until ingredients are evenly distributed
- Place mixture in prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces of shredded cheddar
- Broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Serve warm sprinkled with fresh chopped spring onions