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Monday, March 14, 2016

Easy Rice and Spinach Bake

This is a great, frugal supper recipe, using leftover cooked rice, eggs, cheese, frozen spinach and milk. While nice and easy for supper, this also makes a good brunch dish.

The veggies could be switched up, using broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or green beans. (If using fresh, raw veggies, steam them briefly in the microwave before adding to the other ingredients.) Fresh spinach can be used, if steamed and drained before adding. For fresh spinach, begin with about 1 pound leaves. Chop then steam.

The cheese could be increased up to 2 cups, if your family likes more cheese. And the topping could be grated cheese, in place of a crumb topping, especially helpful if you're following a gluten-free diet.

The black olives can be left out, or something like water chestnuts, canned mushrooms, or pimento can be substituted. You can also add cooked meat, for an even heartier dish (about 1 cup diced cooked meat, such as ham, sausage, turkey or chicken).

Be creative! Think of this recipe as a guideline for how much of each basic ingredient to use, and how long to bake it.

To make 4 hearty servings or 5 to 6 side-dish servings:


2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, diced
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded Mozzarella, Provolone and/or Cheddar cheese (I use a pizza blend cheese)
2  1/2 cups cooled, cooked rice
1/2 of a 10-oz package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, liquid pressed out (about 3/4 to 1 cup packed, once thawed and drained)
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 teaspoon each freshly chopped parsley, thyme and/or basil leaves
salt (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) and dash black pepper

bread crumb topping:

1 teaspoon butter and 1 small slice of bread, ground into crumbs

Melt butter in small skillet and toast the bread crumbs in the melted butter for about 3 minutes, over Medium flame.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and 8-inch by 8-inch square casserole dish.

In a small skillet, over Medium-High, saute diced onions with 2 tablespoons butter, just until soft.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in milk, cheese, cooked rice. Add spinach, olives and seasonings.

Pour into prepared casserole dish, and top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

This rice bake can be made in the morning or evening before, to just before topping with bread crumbs. Keep refrigerated. Then just before baking, top with the crumbs and bake. Allow an extra 5-8 minutes for baking from refrigerator temperature.


  1. I think that looks delicious. My family would not like it however and that makes me sad. I had a lot of frozen spinach in my freezer and ended up giving it to my parents (it even came from their garden!). I have a few packages left for me but sadly no casserole.


    1. Hi Alice,
      oh too bad! Oh well, at least you could give the spinach back to your folks, and it didn't go to waste.

  2. Sounds delicious and very versatile. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      it's one of those "loose" recipes that I love, as I can use up lots of leftovers, and have something that tastes "new", and not leftover-y.

  3. Hi Lili,
    Thanks for the recipe. It reminds me of some of Amy D.'s recipes in the Tightwad Gazette - so flexible!
    Jo Ann

    1. Hi Jo Ann,
      You're very welcome! Yes, she had a basic "casserole" recipe for something like tuna or seafood casserole, I think.

  4. I am going to bake this for our grandkids next week. They don't like to eat vegetables so much and we always have leftover rice. Good alternative to serving fried rice. Seems like a nice comfort food, more versatile and nutritious than macaroni and cheese. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe tutorial.

    Have a nice day!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      oh definitely fits the "comfort food" label, I think especially if you add a cheese topping. In our house, I tend to go lighter on the cheese for my dairy probs. What I prefer about a rice casserole over macaroni, is cost. I can buy rice in 50-lb sacks for less per pound than I can any pasta. And brown rice, for lots less than any whole grain pasta.

      Have a great day, yourself!

  5. Hi Lili.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! It looks delicious, and I can already think of many ways to change it up. I will be making this for sure.

    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Angie,
      You're welcome! Happy to share! I'm thinking this would be really good, just after Easter, adding some ham, and subbing asparagus or broccoli for the spinach. Enjoy it!

  6. As soon as we use up our leftovers, this is next on the menu. :)

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I'm glad that you think this might go over well in your house!

  7. Thank you so much for the recipe. I'm excited to try it. My husband loves rice in any dish. I will try it with my remaining frozen spinach. Next I will try kale.; we had an incredible crop of kale last year. Some of it has wintered over--unheard of in our climate. Blessings

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      You're welcome! I hope your husband enjoys this! Kale would also be good. I'd like it using Cheddar cheese, I think. What a wonderful bonus, with your kale over-wintering this year!! I'm happy for you!

  8. Hi Lili,
    Oh, that sounds yummy! I will be trying it soon, for sure. I'll probably switch up the spinach as it is not one of my favorites, thanks for mentioning all the ways to change it up a bit!

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I think many different veggies could sub for the spinach, very nicely.Enjoy!

  9. This turned out to be so quick and easy! I'll be tucking the recipe away as I often have these ingredients on hand. Thanks for sharing :)


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