Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole // An Original Take

Last night I found myself standing in the kitchen, iPad in hand, trying to decide what to cook for dinner. In the end, I reverted to my Recipes and Such board on Pinterest. A couple of scrolls later, I stumbled upon the wonderful food blog Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice. The minute I saw this recipe and realized we had all the ingredients, I could almost smell the delicious scent coming from our kitchen about 30 minutes later.

Just a few tips before you begin cooking. Be sure you cook the rice before you reach the point in the instructions that calls for cooked rice. Same story for the broccoli. Although I did not take note of the words cooked broccoli {amateur mistake on my part} and ended up adding the broccoli raw, it still came out perfect. So maybe in the end, this was a mistake turned shortcut.

Instead of using three cups of rice, I ended up using a single cup of rice and two cups of farro, one of my new favorites grains. Although it required a bit more cooking and use of an extra pot and burner on the stove, it was worth it.

One more alteration. Before putting in the oven, I sprinkled a little bit of crushed croutons on top along with the cheese. A few more calories, but after eating this dish, I do not think you’ll care.






4 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing pan
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and a few cracks fresh black pepper
2 + 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 cups cooked rice {or as I used, 1 cup cooked rice, 2 cups cooked farro}
2 -3 cups cooked broccoli florets
crushed croutons


  1. Grease  a 9×13-inch casserole pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large saucepan melt the butter over low heat; add garlic and saute until fragrant. Whisk in flour and cook 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in milk, mustard and season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer 4 minutes, whisking occasionally. Add 2 cups of cheddar cheese and parmesan; stir until  mostly melted; remove from heat.
  3. Stir in rice and broccoli florets, pour into casserole pan, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and crushed croutons over top. Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and lightly golden on top. Allow to set 5 minutes before serving.




Eggplant Dish

When it comes to figuring out what to make for dinner, I’d say about 75 percent of the meals created are done so on a whim by my boyfriend. I don’t think he knew he was this creative with food until he met me and was forced to fend for himself more times than not. He did, after all, have to transition from an incredible Portuguese cook of a mom to me, the daughter who takes after her father in the kitchen [love you Dad]. Granted, I love attempting to cook and learning new techniques and recipes, but I am in no way a top chef.

So the other day in the grocery store, I glance down to see the shopping cart full of eggplant and spinach. Spinach is a staple in our kitchen. It adds nutrients, color and flavor to just about anything – and it is so easy to cook! But we had not bought eggplant in quite some time. My boyfriend [whose name is Hobson, and I think I’ll refer to as H from here on out :)] proceeds to explain his idea for dinner that night. Hearing about it was almost as mouthwatering as smelling it in the kitchen a couple of hours later.

I know you are all itching for the recipe, so here it is. One of a kind.


Eggplant Layered with Spinach and Assorted Cheeses

Serves 2

1 eggplant
1 cup spinach
swiss cheese (block)
goat cheese
olive oil
tomato sauce
1/4 cup wine
grated parmesean cheese
dill weed
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Cut the eggplant into six strips. Depending on size, you may have one extra piece of eggplant. Coat eggplant in flour and place in pan with oil on medium heat. Cook each side until brown.
3. In another saucepan, take spinach and a dash of olive oil and cook in pan on low heat.
4. Take browned eggplant and place biggest pieces on bottom. Layer spinach on each piece. Put next smallest piece of eggplant on top. Layer two thin slices of swiss cheese. Put final large piece of eggplant on top. If you had a leftover piece of eggplant, cut in half. Place tablespoon of goat cheese on top, and cover it with the smaller eggplant. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
5. For the sauce, take 1/2 cup tomato sauce and place in saucepan. Add dried oregano, basil, parsley, and dill weed. Add wine and 1/8 cup of grated cheese. Stir. Keep on low heat until ready to be placed on top of eggplant.