Broccoli Rice Casserole and Cookie Fail

Happy Wednesday!  Hope you had a fantabulous hump day! Work was blah and dinner was blah, but we went for a walk since the sun was shining so that was nice 🙂

I started my day with some oatmeal – have I told you that I LOVE oatmeal?!? All kinds, regular cooked, baked, overnight/cold, etc., etc.  This morning I had regular rolled oats and mixed in some chopped dried apricots, chopped pecans, shredded coconut, flax seed, honey, and cinnamon.  It was delish!

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Had leftovers for lunch – more Italian Sausage Fried Rice! And for dinner it was randomness as we call it in our household. I had no plans for dinner and nothing ready to be cooked so randomness it was.  Noah had leftovers and I had a humble “antipasto”/adult lunchable plate.

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It was tasty, but I was hungry again after our walk so I had some Sunshine Chips from NatureBox.  Those things are delicious! If you’re not familiar with NatureBox you should definitely check them out.  (Let me know if you’re interested as I can do a “refer a friend” and you’ll get $10 off your first box). Very tasty treats!

We went to Hawk Meadows Park for our walk and did a loop around the gravel/paved trail.  The grass and dirt trails through the woods were very wet!  We saw nine deer out in one of the adjacent corn fields, but they were too far to get a photo.  Very cool though!

The sun was shining and it was beautiful out (albeit a little chilly!).

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Check out these guys – just chillin’ in the middle of the corn field.  Why wouldn’t they think it was a pond? At least they had the whole place to themselves!

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Sunday’s dinner was a Broccoli Rice Casserole.  This was a very easy meal to put together and the leftovers have been tasty. A girl at work told me about a trick to use with broccoli.  Instead of discarding the woody stems when you cut off the florets, use a veggie peeler and shave off the tough outer layer.  What you’re left with are very tender stalks of broccoli.  I just chopped these up and threw them in the casserole with the rest of the broccoli. Waste not, want not!

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Here’s the recipe for the casserole:

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Broccoli Rice Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt (I used season salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 C shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 head of broccoli – cut into florets; peel stems and chop – about 5 cups
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice – I used a combo of brown and wild rice
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded/chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Paprika

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray, set aside.

2. Put the flour and broth into a large saucepan and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil; continue to whisk until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the Cheddar cheese and whisk until melted.

4. Add the broccoli florets and stir to coat.

5.  Toss the rice and chicken in a large bowl. Pour in the broccoli-cheese sauce and mix well.

6. Spread the mixture in the casserole dish and top with the Parmesan and sprinkle with Paprika (really just for color).

7. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling and hot, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 2 to 5 minutes more until top is lightly browned. Serve hot.

Adapted from: Food Network Chicken Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

And last but not least…Cookie Fail!  I also made oatmeal raisin cookies on Sunday.  Tried this recipe – but subbed honey and agave nectar for the maple syrup.  I’m not posting a recipe as I consider them to be a failure! The texture was soft and a little chewy, but almost bread-like. Not bad, just not exactly what I’d want in a cookie.  And the flavor was pretty blah.  I don’t think these were sweet enough for a cookie at all.  I’m going to try them tomorrow morning warmed up with some milk on top – like baked oatmeal! We’ll see.

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Good night! Tomorrow’s Thursday, which means it’s almost the weekend! Yea! We’re headed to Detroit on Saturday for some dinner with friends and a 5k on Sunday! Super excited!

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