I am a planner. Some people (not mentioning any names here, but I’m calling you out…) say that I’m a control freak. I prefer the term “prepared”. I just find that things seems to flow better if I know what to expect. There is comfort in it. By the time this post publishes, I will be on a work trip to Canada. My husband and kids will be home by themselves. Because I’m me, I want to have some things prepared for them to eat before I leave. It’s just easier for everyone if they don’t have to think about it. Plus it makes it less likely that they will default to pizza every night that they aren’t eating boxed macaroni and cheese. My husband is a getting to be a much better cook because he’s had to take over a lot of the initial meal prep with our work schedules, but when the cat’s away, the mice will play. (Which is a really gross cliche to put on a food blog.)And speaking of making sure my family is taken care of, I decided to take my blog writing on the road today and worked from a coffee shop this morning. The boys are with their dad and we brought the girl with us because she’s been wanting to get back there and play in their super cool kid area. The coffee shop is known as the town’s living room. We chose a table near the kids’ area, got her a muffin and a chocolate milk that she won’t eat or drink until much later because she already had 3 breakfasts and really just wanted to play. There were a couple of women sitting at table near us. One of them was slightly younger than the other, but if someone had said that they both had grandchildren, I wouldn’t be surprised. Except, I kind of feel like neither of them had ever had kids since they started loudly talking about how terrible we are for bringing our child to a coffee shop and not spending time with her. One of them looked like an old church lady. She would lean forward and whisper something to her companion who would comment outloud about how neglectful we are. It makes me crazy. I feel the need to justify myself and my choices. But it doesn’t matter. They wouldn’t get it. And now they are talking about child psychology. I just can’t even.
Anyway, back to this casserole. The recipe specifically says to make it in two pans. This is so that you can throw one of them in the freezer for another time. Which is perfect if you are trying to take care of your family long distance because you have to do things…like work. This is also one of those recipes that is easy to change up based on whatever your food preferences are. Doing low-carb? Use quinoa instead of rice. Hate kidney beans? Use something else. Don’t feel like going Italian? Use Chorizo or breakfast sausage or chicken sausages of whatever sort, use vegan whatever…I don’t know. (I’m still shaking my head about those ladies.)
A note: when baking this, keep it covered. If you don’t keep it covered, the rice won’t cook. Someone at my house learned this the hard way when he was cooking the second one or something else similar. (Aren’t you glad I don’t name names, sweetie?) Seriously, though. DO NOT try to cook it uncovered unless you like crunchy burnt rice (and no one does).