Nice to have but not necessary
- a rice cooker
- a whisk (if not, use a fork to mix the tomato paste and water)
1 lb/500 g ground beef
3/4 cup/ 175 mL chopped onion
2 cups/500 mL mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 can (5.5 oz/156 mL) tomato paste
1/4 cup/60 mL water
1 tsp/5 mL oregano
4 Tbsp/60 mL butter
1/4 cup/60 mL flour
1 1/2 cups/375 mL milk
1 1/2 cups/375 mL shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups/375 mL cooked rice
2 Tbsp/30 mL butter
3/4 cup/175 mL rice cereal, crushed
Preheat oven to 350F/180 C.
Cook the ground beef in a large skillet until no longer pink.
Spoon into a baking dish.
Add the onions to the skillet.
Cook until they begin to soften.
Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are very soft.
Spoon into the baking dish.
In a small bowl (or glass measuring cup), whisk together the tomato paste and water.
Add the oregano.
Pour this into the baking dish, and mix everything well.
In a medium saucepan, melt the first amount of butter.
Blend in the flour, stirring.
Gradually stir in the milk.
Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens.
Remove it from the heat.
Add the shredded cheese to the saucepan.
Stir until the cheese melts.
Stir in the cooked rice.
Spoon over the meat in the baking dish.
Melt the second amount of butter.
Stir in the crushed cereal.
Sprinkle over the casserole.
Bake until hot and bubbly (about 20 minutes).
- Use canned mushrooms instead of fresh.
- Use any flour in place of the whole wheat flour.
- Use a non-dairy milk substitute like soy milk or rice milk.
Ideas for making this recipe your own
- Experiment with different spices instead of (or as well as) the oregano. How about thyme, or basil?
- Use another cheese instead of the Cheddar. How about mozzarella?
- Instead of using crushed rice cereal, try making crumbs out of soft wheat crackers, or toasted bread, or whatever you can think of.
- Plan ahead to have leftover cooked rice in the fridge to use in this recipe!
- To crush the rice cereal, put it in a paper or plastic bag, and use a rolling pin to gently turn it into crumbs. Or put it in a shallow dish, and use the flat bottom of a drinking glass to crush it.
- To make ahead and freeze this dish, stop after you've spooned on the cheese and rice layer. Cover tightly with foil and seal tightly in a large freezer bag. To heat, thaw it completely. Make the butter/crushed cereal topping and sprinkle it over the casserole. Bake until heated through (about 45-60 minutes).
Serve this dish (and any of my hamburger casserole recipes) with
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