Make it Meatless
The latest food guide at MyPyramid.gov is still based on grain foods, but now it recommends from nine to thirteen servings of fruits and veggies a day along with more servings of legumes -; dried beans and peas, lentils and the like. It's not an impossible task, not if you combine several items in a single dish.
For dinner, it's easy to make a nutritious casserole with a grain and assorted vegetables. With the exception of soy foods, though, the protein of plant foods is incomplete. So, for good nutritional balance, many casseroles also include an animal protein food, such as eggs. In addition to providing the highest quality protein next to mother's milk, eggs are nutrient-dense -; their nutrient total is high compared to their calorie count.
In Rice, Bean & Veggie Custard Bake, eggs bind together a short list of have-on-hand ingredients. You can layer the minimal-prep casserole in almost no time one evening, refrigerate it and pop it into the oven when you arrive home the next day. For the rice base, cook the instant variety or make good use of what's left over from take-out. With handy bottled salsa -; any hotness level your family prefers -; and cans of beans and corn, all you need to do from scratch is chop some colorful peppers and simply beat the eggs with shredded cheese. To round out a no-fuss meal, add only a tossed green salad to the flavorful, hearty entree.
Rice, Bean & Veggie Custard Bake
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1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
3 cups cooked rice (1 cup raw)
1 jar (16 oz.) thick and chunky red salsa, divided
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup whole kernel corn (about 3 oz.)
1 cup chopped green, yellow and/or sweet red pepper (about 5 oz. or 1 medium)
Evenly coat 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking pan with spray. Set aside. In medium bowl, beat together eggs and cheese. Stir in rice. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth with back of spoon or gently shake pan to spread rice mixture evenly in pan. Gently spread 1 cup of the salsa over rice mixture. In medium bowl, stir together beans, corn and pepper. Evenly spoon bean mixture over salsa. Drizzle remaining 1 cup salsa over bean mixture.
Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven until custard is puffed and begins to pull away from sides of pan and knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving of 1/6 recipe using kidney beans and red pepper: 334 calories, 10 gm total fat, 226 mg cholesterol, 815 mg sodium, 346 mg potassium, 42 gm carbohydrate, 19 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins A, B12 and C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, dietary fiber.