My 300th Post – Chinese Casserole


Chinese Casserole

I knew this post was coming and I thought I would make a special dinner to celebrate.   But, just like every other mom I know, it was a busy night last night and we are low on funds, being the end of the month and all, so I went with what I had on hand and what was easiest for dinner.

When I started this blog I never thought about where I  life would take us or how this game would really help me and my family.  There were two large breaks that I didn’t post while we were moving, twice.  I never thought I would live in a tiny town in Southwest Michigan but it has been wonderful.

The game has brought may family closer together.  We cook more together, we talk about what we are eating and where it comes from, we eat at the table at least 5 days a week and we talk about everything there.  As my children are now a tween and a teen I think that is so important.  Even if things aren’t brought up at the table I can definitely get a read on how things are going from facial expressions, attitude and willingness to participate in family discussions.  I love that they now suggest dishes and combinations they would like to try.  We are all much more adventurous in our willingness to try new foods including my large array of casseroles.

When I think of making a casserole my thoughts do not usually turn to making a Chinese inspired dish.  I don’t know why but I usually think of cheese and cream sauces not brown gravy and soy sauce.  While looking through Pinterest for a new ground beef recipe I saw a recipe for Chinese Casserole from My Recipe Journey-lillian.blogspot.com.

As I read the recipe I was a bit confused by the ingredients and the directions but I thought I could figure it out and even change it up a bit to make more to my family’s tastes.  It had canned chicken & rice soup which is something we try to avoid when we can.  I also don’t like peas but I thought there were easy swaps we could make for both of those items.

Verdict:

This was hands down a great meal.  It was fairly simple once I figured out the proportions and how to cook it.  Both kids loved the brown gravy over the top.  The Chow Mein noodles added a nice bit of crunch to the dish so that it had great texture.

With 4 very hearty eaters we had just enough leftover for one lunch serving.

I served this with a plate of cut vegetables on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. very lean ground beef
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 oz. baby carrots, thinly sliced rounds
  • 1 quart of chicken stock, divided
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP pure sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice (not minute rice)
  • 1 cup water
  • chow mein noodles

Brown Sauce:

  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP cold water
  • 1 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP pure sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a very large oven safe skillet or wok with a lid, cook ground beef on medium heat with celery, carrots and onions. Break up the ground beef with the back of a spoon into very small pieces as it cooks. Cook until the beef is no longer pink and the veggies are tender.
  3. Add the chicken stock, sugar, soy sauce and pure sesame oil to the pan and stir well.
  4. Add the rest of the chicken stock, water and rice to the pan and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Place cover on pan and place in the pre-heated oven. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes then remove pan cover and stir casserole.  If all the liquid has not evaporated from the pan return pan to oven without the cover and check every 5 minutes or so until liquid has evaporated, may take an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.
  7. Once the casserole is mostly cooked begin making the brown sauce.  You want the sauce and the casserole to be finished at about the same time.

Brown Sauce:

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the beef stock, sesame oil and the soy sauce. 
  2. In a small bowl mix together the water and cornstarch until smooth.
  3. Add the cornstarch to the beef mixture and bring mixture to a boil whisking continually.
  4. Simmer until sauce thickens. This should take about 5-7 minutes. When sauce has thickened remove from heat.

To Serve:

  1. Place casserole on dish, sprinkle with Chow Mein noodles and then drizzle Brown Sauce over the top.  Serve warm.

 

 

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