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Hamburger & Rice Casserole

Okay, I just made a 9x13 hamburger & rice casserole. Should last for a while. This is not exactly healthy, but the idea here was to stay away from pasta and spread a pound of hamburger over multiple days.

My body really does like the no-bread and no-pasta diet. No gluten, essentially. The low-grade infection I've had for years is nearly disappeared. I haven't gone entirely gluten-free, but yesterday I realized that I've managed (without a plan) to go mostly gluten-free in the past few weeks with this unexpected beneficial result. So, I am one step short of buying the various specialty flours.

Now, I am unable to eat rice unless it's made into risotto or made somehow super-soft. Plain rice has been known to give me trouble with one bite (read that as: it will not go down and must come up). So I have to be really careful. I really wish I could find more short-grain rice in the supermarket.

Anyway, yesterday I bought a package of Thai Jasmine Rice. I adore jasmine and arborio rice. Not familiar with much else.

Yesterday, I experimented with making rice in my tiny crockpot. All would have turned out well if I had not forgotten about it completely. So, by the time I remembered it, it was rice mush with a beautiful brown crust around the outside. I did not know what to do with the crust, so I threw it out. To the mush I added milk, vanilla/cinnamon powder, brown sugar and some vanilla to turn it into rice pudding. It was fantastic.

Today I thought - hey - I will try making rice the stovetop way. I knew I needed something heavy, so I pulled out the Le Creuset enameled cast iron 3-qt pot and brought four cups of water to a boil in it. I opened up the new package of jasmine rice and put two cups into the boiling water. I put the cover on and turned the heat to low. Set the timer to 15 minutes.

To my astonishment - I rather expected something to go wrong - it came out perfectly. Perfect. Soft enough for me to eat a little plain rice.

While the the rice was cooking, I cooked a pound of super-lean hamburger with some a chopped Vidalia onion and a spoonful of minced garlic. On a lark - for a twist - I added a small can of tomato paste to that. Oh, and lots of basil and thyme.

When the rice was done, I poured it into a large bowl. I added two cans of cream of mushroom soup and one can of milk. A handful of parmesan and a bag of shredded sharp cheddar. A cup of sour cream. S&P. Stirred it all together.

When the hamburger was done, I added it to the rice mixture. Poured all of it into the 9x13 dish and put it into the oven.

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