Slow cookers are one of the most versatile cooking tools in your kitchen, able to bring to perfection everything from savory chili to pulled pork. You can also make any type of casserole in your slow cooker, including one built around broccoli and rice. Prepare your ingredients in the morning and throw them in the slow cooker, and you'll have a bubbling, rich casserole to serve for dinner at the end of the day.
Select fresh or frozen broccoli florets for the casserole. If you purchase a fresh broccoli bunch, cut off the fibrous stem and cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, ideal for cooking in a casserole. As for rice, you can choose just about any type of quick-cooking rice, such as white, brown or Spanish rice. You might also want a source of protein, such as chicken or beef chunks, or even firm tofu.
Include flavorful additional ingredients in your broccoli and rice casserole. Aside from the staple salt and pepper, you can include seasonings that will complement your main ingredients, such as dry mustard, onion powder and garlic powder. You could also include fresh ingredients like diced onions, crushed garlic, sauteed mushrooms, diced bell peppers, or even jalapeno peppers if you want more spice. Fresh herbs such as thyme, chives and rosemary can add fragrance and even more zest to your casserole.
Choosing a Binder
Choose binding ingredients to keep your casserole together. This could be a simple tomato sauce or a can of creamy mushroom soup. If you are a cheese fan, you might want to use an Alfredo sauce or other creamy cheese sauce. If you are adding beef to your broccoli and rice, you could mix soy sauce and sweet and sour sauce with a little cornstarch on the stove to create a thickened sauce for an Asian-themed beef and broccoli casserole.
Pour all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and mix well. Add just enough water, which the rice will absorb, to cover the ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook the casserole on high for two to three hours, or on low for five to six hours. If you used any meat in your casserole, insert a food thermometer to make sure the meat has reach the proper internal temperature to be safe to consume. If you want a crunchy topping, transfer the casserole to a baking dish and add bread crumbs, crackers, French-fried onions or croutons to the top of the casserole. Place the baking dish under the broiler in your oven for about five minutes.
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