Just like fried rice, cheesy baked rice is my go-to for a swift dish that can easily convey random ingredients into a kid-friendly meal. This recipe is for mushroom and broccoli cheesy baked rice, but you can use the basic method with anything, from chicken and carrots, to cheesy fish baked rice, to leftovers in your fridge… the sky’s the limit!
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup blanched broccoli florets
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup thickened cream
2 tablespoons butter
3 bay leaves
Dried parsley (or any herbs you have available)
Salt and pepper to taste
The above list makes about 3-4 ramekin servings, depending on your personal portion preference. My kids are light eaters, so on most days, my bowls aren’t filled to the brim (as per pictures).
Start by melting the butter in a pan, and sautéing the mushrooms and broccoli florets. Once softened, pour the chicken stock in, along with the bay leaves, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and a pinch of dried parsley. Let that simmer for about 7-8 minutes before pouring the cream in. Mix well, and add 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese in, stirring consistently to ensure no lumps form. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl, remove the bay leaves, and leave aside.
Preheat your oven at 200 degrees. Prepare your ramekins by brushing each one with melted butter. Fill each with rice, ensuring that you press the rice down as you go along to leave room for the fillings. Spoon the creamy mushroom and broccoli mixture into the ramekins, and top with the remaining grated cheese. Sprinkle some dried parsley onto each. Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese has melted into a golden brown.
How super easy is that? I wasn’t kidding when I said we make this pretty often, and some days I just leave a spread of cooked ingredients out for the kids to choose what they’d like to top their cheesy baked rice with. Here’s our guilt-filled chunky sausage bowls from a few nights ago, taken with my shoddy phone camera because the kids (and myself) were in too much of a rush to eat!
Note: for a thicker cream sauce, you can mix a little flour as you melt your butter when you first start cooking the cream mixture. Keep stirring until the lumps have dissolved, then proceed with the rest of the above recipe steps from there.
Happy eating, little tummies!