Tasty ‘Rice’ Casserole From Easter-week Leftovers

It does not happen very often at our house, but earlier this week I had a bunch of leftovers in the fridge, and I needed to find a creative way to make use of them. There was some ham left over from Easter dinner, some chicken from another meal that week, and a bell pepper that would need to be eaten soon. I thought back to my childhood and the cooking of my frugal and creative parents. They would often make casseroles with whatever meat and veggies they had on hand, along with rice and condensed cream of something soup, which they always had on hand. I always enjoyed casserole nights as a kid. I now choose not to consume rice or condensed soups, but I think that the basic idea is a very good one. I created my own casserole of leftovers with cauliflower ‘rice’ and a bit of homemade chicken stock for moisture and flavor. This is my basic recipe.

1 1lb package frozen cauliflower
3 cups leftover meat, cubed (I used ham and chicken)
Cooking oil (I used lard)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (or whatever vegetable you happen to have on hand)
¼ cup broth
Seasoning to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 350. Cook your cauliflower on the stove top and allow to cool slightly. To achieve a rice-like texture, grate the pieces with a cheese grater. (Or, alternately, you could pulse them in your food processor – just be careful they do not end up more like mashed potatoes.)

Heat your cooking oil of choice in a large skillet and add the chopped onion and green pepper, cooking until softened. Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with the cauliflower ‘rice’ and meat. Add your preferred seasoning mixture to taste. (I used lots of salt, pepper, some garlic powder, and celery salt.) Pour the mixture into an 8×8 baking pan and sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until heated through. If you want the cheese to be browned, place it under the broiler for a few minutes. The meal was a success at our house – Nick and I finished the entire pan, so I have no more leftovers in the fridge.

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