Well! Hello. For once, my extended absence wasn’t due to good ol’ fashioned laziness. No, this time a minor apartment flood situation kept me from blogging. Our upstairs neighbor’s sprinklers went off, and they leaked straight through her floors and into our living room. S and I rushed home from work and found that though the damage wasn’t terrible—nothing major was damaged, and our furniture is all fine—our ceiling was not in good shape. That same night, a cleanup crew tore up our floor (apparently the water could damage the laminate) and pulled down our ceiling. They left us with about seven industrial-strength fans, two huge dehumidifiers (complete with tubes snaking to our sink to drain the water), and strict instructions not to open the windows, no matter how hot it got.
Well. It got hot. Like, 95˚ hot. That heat, combined with the lack of flooring/ceiling and the constant loudness of the fans and dehydrators, sent us scurrying to S’s mom’s house, where we stayed for nearly a week. Now, about two weeks out, the fans are gone, the water is gone… and our ceilings and floors are still gone.
We’re anxiously waiting for a contractor to come out and assess the damage and set up a time to fix things. We’ve mostly been holed up in our bedroom and in the kitchen for now, crossing our fingers that things are resolved soon. (It’s a tricky situation involving two insurance companies, two landlords, and us basically reduced to twiddling our thumbs while we wait.)
BUT. In the hopes of restoring some normalcy, we’ve gotten back to cooking. Our first night back in the apartment, I was determined to make something easy and nourishing. This brown rice and broccoli bake is exactly that. It’s easy as can be, especially if you cook the brown rice in advance. Lots of broccoli-rice dishes require pre-blanching the broccoli or sautéing garlic and onions, but I was in no mood for that many steps when I made this dinner. No, this dish is just about as simple as it gets. You pretty much just mix brown rice and broccoli in a casserole dish and stir it up with a basic cheesy sauce. Easy peasy.
Easy Cheesy Broccoli & Brown Rice Bake
- One large head broccoli, chopped into small florets
- 3 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (and an optional additional 1/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- A few shakes or twists black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400˚.
Prepare a small* casserole or baking dish by spraying it with oil. Add the brown rice and broccoli florets directly to the dish and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and whisk until combined. Pour about 3/4 of the sauce over the rice and broccoli mixture, reserving about 1/4. Stir gently so that the mixture is coated. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and stir. Dot with the Earth Balance. If the casserole is looking dry, add the additional 1/4 cup almond milk. Return to oven (uncovered), and bake for another 10 minutes, then remove from oven and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Eat!
*I use a vintage Pyrex casserole dish that’s about 11.5″ x 6.5″ . That’s not exactly a standard size, but it seems to be a 1.5 quart dish.
I’ve made this dish twice since we’ve returned to the apartment. It’s comforting and homey—just what I need when my actual home is torn up. Here’s to hoping we get things figured out soon!
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