There are times when I am searching through my freezer and pantry at the last-minute trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat to come up with a yummy meal for my family. Sometimes I just don’t want to get out of my comfy lounge clothes or my girls are covered in dirt playing in the backyard and cleaning us up and going to the grocery store for ingredients just isn’t going to happen. This is how this recipe came to be. I will sometimes buy spiral hams and smoke them. There is always tons of ham leftover that I cut up in chunks and freeze for soups, omelets, and meals like this beauty. I had the ham, I always have cheese, I had rice, I had frozen broccoli so I thought it all sounded good in a casserole. My girls love broccoli (as long as it’s cooked) so I get off easy with that vegetable. You could easily leave it out or cut it into tiny pieces if you or your family is not a fan of the healthy green trees. I’ve made it 4 or 5 times now and honestly, I don’t measure anything and it probably tastes a little different each time, but I’ll do my best to write it all out for you.
1 1/2 – 2 C Ham- precooked and cubed. I use smoked ham that has been frozen and thawed. I don’t heat it up because the casserole will go into the oven.
2 C uncooked Rice- I use Basmati rice. I’ve used a mixture of brown and white rice in a pinch before which was nice too.
1 large bag steamable broccoli
2 C chicken broth. I used LB Jamison’s low sodium chicken soup base mixed in 2 C boiling water. You could use canned broth or bullion cubes dissolved in water.
2 C milk
1/4 C Heavy cream ** see note below
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 small – medium onion diced
2-3 garlic cloves- minced. I used Gourmet Garden’s garlic because I was lazy today.
2-3 C shredded cheese. I like sharp cheddar
Salt/Pepper to taste
Prepare rice per package directions in a large pot, but only cook for about 1/2 the amount of time and then remove from heat.
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan and add in onions and saute’ for a few minutes over medium heat. Add in garlic and then flour and make a rue. Stir for a few minutes and then add in Milk and Heavy Cream, chicken broth and about 1 1/2 C of shredded cheese. Add in plenty of salt and pepper and stir to blend. Sauce will thicken up a bit.
Steam the broccoli in the microwave, but only for about 1/2 the amount of time called for on the directions. I did mine for 4 minutes. It’s ok if the broccoli is still a little cold. It will continue to cook in the oven. If desired, chop the broccoli into smaller pieces.
Mix the cheesy sauce mixture, ham, and the broccoli into the pot of cooked rice and mix thoroughly. Add more salt, pepper and cheese and mix well. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 oven safe pan. I like to add even more pepper and cheese to the top. Bake uncovered in a 375 Degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
**I did not have any fresh heavy cream left in the fridge so I used a couple of cubes of frozen heavy cream that I keep on hand in the freezer. Just melted it in the sauce mixture.
Hope you enjoy this little throw together casserole! It’s a keeper!