This dish was inspired by a recipe I read on an American cooking website a few years ago. I had to convert the dish back into real food, however. Real onion instead of onion powder, real cheese instead of slices of plastic cheese, and I threw in some vegetables to make it a bit healthier.
You can add whatever vegetables you have in the crisper. Sometimes I will also throw in some kidney beans and some chilli or paprika for a different taste. Also, a splash of wine is always a welcome addition. If you prefer, use ready made passata or pasta sauce in place of the paste, tinned toms and herbs.
1 cup uncooked brown rice
olive oil for frying
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 carrot, diced
1 zucchini diced
approx. 3/4 cup frozen peas and corn
handful of mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp each of dried oregano and basil
1 tin tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheese
- Boil rice according to packet instructions (This can be made ahead of time).
- Defrost peas and corn in a bowl of boiling water
- Brown mince. Remove from pan and drain in a colander
- In a little oil, sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini until softened. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a further two or three minutes.
- Return mince to the pan and add peas and corn and stir in the tomato paste, herbs, tomatoes, sugar and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly, the vegetables are cooked and the and flavours have developed.
- Stir in rice. Pour into a gratin or baking dish and and top with cheese. (You can make the meal ahead to this point leaving off the cheese. It can be frozen or reheated later).
- Bake at 200°C (390°F) for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.