I love broccoli. I know. I’m one of those strange people that has loved veggies from childhood. We always had a large garden when I was a kid, and it was a big part of how our parents provided good, healthy food for a family of four children on a single income. To this day, my siblings closest to me in age will sit and eat veggies from the pot in the kitchen at our mom and dad’s home while we chat away. I was happy to see our sons carrying on this tradition the last time we visited as they reached into the pot for some beets, and I showed them how to take the skin off and munch away. Those are the moments that make me realize that we must be doing a little something right.
Anyway! On to today’s recipe to share! The crockpot has become my best friend this autumn to keep healthy meals on the table with all of the activities and such that fill our schedules. I shared a little bit about my meal planning strategy in this post (along with my Spanish style rice recipe), and it’s become even more important as I’m making more home cooked meals since our schedule change. Believe it or not, I’ve actually lost weight this past month, because I committed to not falling back on take out – even when we get busy.
This makes a large batch of rice, because, well frankly, I like leftovers. I don’t eat sandwiches or salads much, so having leftovers that I can reheat for lunch is really important for me. Whole grains, organic and all natural ingredients, and little to no preservatives keep me running strong and not feeling hungry throughout the day.
Healthy Broccoli Rice Casserole
3 c. long grain brown rice
3-1/2 c. organic chicken broth (stock) – I love Whole Foods 365 brand
1/2 c. organic milk, 2% or higher – skim just will not do
1-1/2 medium onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the flat of your knife
1 bay leaf
1 bag of frozen organic broccoli florets
shredded cheddar cheese for serving
Toss the rice, chicken stock, milk, onion, celery, smashed garlic and bay leaf into a large crackpot set on high. Pull the frozen broccoli florets from the freezer and leave them on the counter or convenient space. Cook the rice mixture for 2-2-1/2 hours. Fluff the rice with a fork or large spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the broccoli florets. Serve in 15 minutes topped with shredded cheddar cheese.
OR after stirring in the broccoli florets, turn the crockpot to “keep warm” or lowest setting and serve in a couple of hours with shredded cheddar. This method works perfectly for us if we have an evening activity and I need to be able to serve dinner immediately when we get home.