Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spinach and Rice Casserole

Mmmm…comfort food at its finest!  I absolutely love casseroles, especially ooey gooey creamy ones and this one fit the bill.  If you would have told me that this was healthy or low cal, I would have rolled my eyes at you and certainly would have laughed it off with a “Yah, right!”   But it is and that’s the best part!!

A traditional rice and cheese casserole can be upwards of almost 400 calories per one cup serving.  And most of us wouldn’t eat it as a main dish but a side dish…and adding more to that meal adds even more calories!  This little side dish is so good, you CAN eat it as a main dish, but if you decide to add a protein or salad, you’re still well within a great low calorie meal.

Check out the ingredients below and feel free to add more veggies if you’d like or switch out the ham for chicken or pork.  This would be great with broccoli and squash, too.

2 tsp olive oil
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 container sliced baby bellas
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cups water
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
1 bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of water
1 ½ cups uncooked instant brown rice (Note:  be sure you are using instant as it takes more liquid to cook the other kind…and frankly, I’m not good at math so I don’t know how much you’d need!)
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 cup cooked ham, diced
¾ cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium/large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add water and soup and heat to low boil.

Add spinach, rice, basil, oregano and pepper.  Return to low boil.

Remove from heat; stir in ham, 1/4 cup of the Cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese.

Spread in the baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Let stand uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

We served ours with a salad – it was delicious!

Serves 8 – 1 cup serving
Calories 195 / Carbs 25g / Fat 6g / Protein 11g / Fiber 4g / Sodium 469mg

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