Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cheesy Black Bean and Rice Bake

One of my favorite things about cooking is that you can take pretty much any recipe and modify it to make it your own.

Last week, Tina mentioned that her sister had made a rice bake for a family party, and I immediately started researching rice bake recipes. I have had a ginormous box of brown rice in my pantry for a while now, and, in an effort to save for Italy, I wanted to make use of it versus buying more food and thus spending more money. After some research, I found this recipe for an Easy Rice Bake by The Neelys. However, I didn't have onion or spinach to make their recipe, and I didn't want to make 4 cups of rice since it was only me eating the dish. As a result, I ended up making Cheesy Black Bean and Rice Bake.

Cheesy Black Bean and Rice Bake
Yields: 4-5 servings

-1 tbsp. butter
-3 cups cooked brown rice
-3/4 can black beans
-2 chili peppers, seeded and minced
-1 and 3/4 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese, plus extra for top
-3/4 cup milk
-1 egg
-Dried cilantro
-Salt and black pepper to taste
-Squirt of fresh lime juice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350* degrees. Butter a medium-sized casserole dish. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and egg. Add the cheese, rice, black beans, chili peppers, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, and add a generous squirt of fresh lime juice.
Pour rice mixture into buttered casserole dish and top with extra shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.

The end result was a cheesy, not-too-spicy dish chocked full of texture, flavor, and...well, cheese. Next time, I will probably add some cayenne pepper or leave the seeds in one of the chili peppers for some extra heat, though - it was a little too mild for my liking.

What recipe have you recently modified to make it your own?

P.S. What do you guys think of The Economical Eater's new banner? A big THANK YOU to Tim Anderson, a Massachusetts-based freelance graphic designer for making it for me. Tim can be reached at timaa84@gmail.com if you have any graphic design work you'd like a quote on.


  1. I use a lot of recipes and then modify it to make it my own. I've got a great recipe for cherry tomato and goat cheese tart from Tasting Table that I'm hoping to share tomorrow!

  2. That looks delicious! Beans and rice are one of my favorite things to make and eat.