You know that favorite aunt that always sends you recipes for the easiest and most delicious homemade salads, casseroles, cookies, cakes and more? Are you, like me, wistfully shaking your head no ? Don’t have one either? Well no worries, because Kate McDermott’s latest offering, Home Cooking is like having that beloved relative right by your side. Guys, I’m loving this book! It’s full of simple, down-to-earth, family-friendly recipes and little bits of culinary advice that make cooking at home much less stressful and much more yummy. Which makes both Kate and her book entirely deserving of some serious Famous Friday treatment. Her Easy Cheesy Rice and Beanies (really with that title, how could I not feature it?) is a perfect example of basic weeknight cooking that tastes anything but basic and I have a feeling that once you try it, it’s going straight onto your regular rotation. I know it will be for me!!
To those of you who are pie bakers, it may seem strange that I’m featuring a book by Kate McDermott about regular everyday food because she is world renowned as a master pie chef. One day when I have some real free time, I just want to work my way through her bible, Art of the Pie. But for now I will have to content myself with Kate’s take on home-cooked meals and believe me when I tell you—this is no hardship!
Home Cooking spans the gamut between breakfast foods—can’t wait to try her Sunday Brunch Banana Pancakes and Maple Almond Surprise Muffins, lunch specials like Make-Ahead Layered Salad, treats like biscotti (which I’ve already made and will post soon) and Tiny Chocolate Chippers (which I’m dying to make) and a wide range of dinner options like Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie, Oven-Baked Beef Stew and Deep-Dish Ricotta Potluck Pie. Don’t they all sound amazing? Plus, the book is full of heartwarming family stories and anecdotes, glossy color photos and kitchen (and life) tips from someone who knows what make people tick…and what they like to eat!
Which brings us to this super-duper, one-pan dinner rice casserole—total comfort food. Not only is it easy to prep and make in advance, but it’s also vegetarian and gluten-free, which makes it a great party choice, dare I even say it twice in two days, but as an extra main for Thanksgiving?
Tender brown rice, softened onions and garlic, earthy black beans, just the right amount of spices all coated in a light but still decadent cheesy sauce with that crusty top—YUM!!
Think mac ‘n cheese but with rice and beans instead! It’s so simple and so good!
So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Home Cooking—I promise you’ll want to do more cooking at home if you do, which I guess is the point! Ha ha! And while we’re at it, this book would make a great holiday gift for the cook in your life—never too early to start that shopping, right?!!
Anyway, have a great weekend and eat something yummy with someone you love—we’re off to finally see our youngest in college—can’t wait to hug and kiss and feed her!xoxo
Home Cooking’s Easy Cheesy Rice and Beanies-Famous Fridays
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus the 40 minutes for the rice to cook; Bake Time: 40 minutes
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 ½ cups water or chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
2 large onions, cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup freshly grated Swiss cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained and patted dry
1. Add rice and water or stock to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
2. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a 9-inch square metal pan or baking dish and set aside.
3. Heat the 2 tablespoons butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the onions are softened and starting to get brown edges.
4. In a medium bowl, mix all 3 cheeses together and set aside about ½ cup.
5. In a large bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs and then use a whisk to stir in the milk, mustard and salt. When that’s combined well, add in the large bowl of cheese, the onion mixture, the beans and the rice and mix well together. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly. Sprinkle the reserved cheese all across the top evenly.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. If you want neater servings, let it sit for about 10 minutes, before serving. Otherwise, just go for it!
7. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days and reheated in the oven or microwave.
Note: Recipe adapted from Home Cooking by Kate McDermott. I tinkered with some of the proportions and cut the nutmeg.