It SHOULD be called ‘Watch Your Thighs Expand Casserole’

For dinner last night I made Ritz Cracker Fish, Green Rice Casserole and Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread. The thigh-expansion was courtesy of the Green Rice Casserole = Cheese + Rice + Spinach.

The fish recipe I got offline, the other 2 were directly related to me spending my lunch break POURING over the latest edition of Cook’s Country Magazine. It’s one of my ABSOLUTE favorite magazines. E.V.E.R.

The fish and rice were good. Neither C nor I loved the bread – though R threw a screaming fit when we told her she had to eat something besides bread for dinner. She flat.out.refused to eat the spinach rice or fish – though once I explained that there were crackers on top of the fish, her nimble little fingers pried off every last little crumb of crunchiness and left the fish behind. *sigh* J was much better, eating his rice and several bites of fish.

I finally caved and stopped trying to feed them the delicious fish and rice and grabbed the container of yogurt. They split the tail end of the tub o’ yogurt for dinner in between screaming BREA-Duh BREA-Duh (imagine a toddler pronouncing the D at the end of bread).

THANK GOD I have a partner in crime. Their screaming did me in and C let me crawl into bed at precisely 7:32pm.

Back to recipes.

Still working on the printer friendly version…Will update ASAP. Promise. *In case you’re wondering, it’s taking me longer than most people because I need help figuring out the plug-ins and stuff.

Ritz Crackers can cover *anything* and it will taste amazing

Ritz Crackers can cover *anything* and it will taste amazing

The fish was easy-peasy-puddin’-pie to make. Seriously easy and fast. I crumbled up a sleeve of Ritz (by crumbling I mean I dumped into a ziploc and whacked several times with my rolling pin) and melted 1/2 a stick of butter. I stirred them together. I rinsed and dried the fish, laid them out in a buttered dish, patted the cracker/butter mix on top and threw them into a hot oven for 20-25 minutes (I separated the thin and thick pieces onto 2 pans, so I could put the thinner pieces in 5 minutes later). Almost everyone at the table enjoyed the fish. C & I both had seconds.

Cheese + more Cheese + even MORE Cheese. Oh and some Rice and a little bit of Spinach.

Cheese + more Cheese + even MORE Cheese.
Oh and some Rice and a little bit of Spinach.

The Green Rice Casserole is mislabeled. It should be called either ‘Watch Your Thighs Expand Casserole’ or ‘CHEESE with some rice and a whiff of spinach’. Seriously – this would be IDEAL for a potluck or picnic or something Southern. The AMOUNT of cheese that went into this? Yowsa. An entire block of cream cheese. 8 oz of Cheddar (I used an entire Cabot cheese brick). 1/2 cup of Parmesan. PLUS 4 Tablespoons of Butter… Thighs expanding as we speak.

C looked at me and asked if I’d entered in all the points values into my Weight Watchers App to calculate how much a serving would be.


There are some things I just don’t want to know.

At least it made a pretty picture....

At least it made a pretty picture….

Brown Irish Soda Bread by Cook’s Country, from the March 2013 issue

Printable Recipe HERE


2 Cups (10 oz) AP Flour

1 1/2 Cups (8 1/4 oz) Whole-Wheat Flour **I used King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour. C looked at me and asked, “Why?” “Because,” I replied, “It’s supposed to be healthier.” He made a funny face.

1/2 Cup Toasted Wheat Germ **I didn’t have any, but SEVERAL websites and the recipe itself said you could use oatmeal. I toasted 1/2 a cup of oatmeal then ground it up. Used it instead of the wheat germ. Maybe I’ll invest in some wheat germ. If I remember.

3 Tablespoons Sugar **I think it coulda used a little more sweetness. Perhaps even swap out the sugar for honey…. Thinking out loud here.

1 1/2 teaspoons Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 3/4 Cup Buttermilk

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided and melted

How To:

1- Oven rack to lower-middle position. Crank it to 400º. Line a baking sheet with Parchment Paper/Silpat.

2- Whisk both Flours, Wheat Germ, Sugar, Salt, Baking Powder, & Baking Soda together in a big bowl.

3- Combine Buttermilk and TWO Tablespoons of the melted butter in a 2-Cup liquid measuring cup.

4- Add wet to dry and stir with a rubber spatula until dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead *8* times (just until it turns into a cohesive mass). Pat into a 7″ round and transfer to the baking sheet you lined with paper/silpat.

5- Using a serrated knife make a 1/4″ deep cross about 5″ long on top of the loaf.

6- Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean – about 45-50 minutes. MAKE SURE you rotate the pan 1/2 way through baking.

7- Remove and brush remaining melted butter over the top. Let cool for at least 1 hour. **Babies fought over this bread.

In the original recipe they included a break down of time needed to make this recipe:

Measure/whisk Dry ingredients: 5 minutes

Measure/combine Wet: 2 minutes

Stir together: 1 minute

Knead: 1 minute

Shape: 1 minute

TOTAL: 10 minutes + Bake for 45 minutes, cool for another hour.

I will try this again. It was SO FAST to throw together, maybe it’ll taste AMAZING with some tweaks?? *crossing fingers* Maybe if I tried this again using all AP flour instead of 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat I’d like it better. It was a really fast recipe, once I found where I’d stashed the whole wheat flour, that is.

Here fishy fishy fishy

Here fishy fishy fishy

Ritz Cracker Fish from Simply Recipes

Printable Recipe HERE


2 lbs. Fish **I used Tilapia. I think any fish you have would be good covered in Ritz and butter, right??

Salt **Go easy on the salt. I seasoned unevenly and C must’ve gotten a big bite of salty fish and made a face.

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers (about 34 crackers)

5 Tablespoons of Butter **I used unsalted to balance out the salty crackers and the salted fish.

Lemon and Parsley to serve (optional)

Crunch + Fish + Butter

Crunch + Fish + Butter

How To:

1- Oven to 350º. Grease a baking dish with butter or oil. Rinse and dry your fish. Cut the fillets into serving pieces (I cut each Tilapia fillet into quarters, separating the thicker and thinner pieces for more even cooking) and lay out in the pan/s. Sprinkle LIGHTLY with salt.

2- Melt the butter (I zapped mine in a mug in the microwave for 30seconds at a time til it all melted). Crush the Ritz crackers (fingers work, as does my favored ziploc and rolling pin method); they should look like coarse breadcrumbs. Mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs. Pack the crumb mixture over the top and sides of the fish fillets (I only had enough to coat the tops).

3- Shove pans into oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Thicker pieces will take longer.

The photo's a little dark. Sorry. Still working on lighting/camera stuff.

The photo’s a little dark. Sorry. Still working on lighting/camera stuff.

Green Rice Casserole – should be called: Watch Your Thighs Expand Casserole by Cook’s Country February/March 2013

Printable Recipe HERE


4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 Onion, chopped fine

Salt and Pepper

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon minced Fresh Thyme

4 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth **I swapped in Veggie-Broth as this is FULL o’ cheese

2 slices Hearty Sandwich Bread, torn into quarters

1/2 cup (1 oz) Parmesan Cheese, grated

1 1/4 lbs frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry **I used 2 10 ounce boxes. I think I’ll add a 3rd next time for more spinachy flavor.

8 ounces Cream Cheese (1 block)

2 cups Long-grain White Rice **The recipe doesn’t clarify if it’s meant to be rinsed clean or not, but I did because the thought of unwashed rice gives me the willies.

8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded  (2 cups) **I used 1 whole block of Cabot cheese

How To:

1- Oven rack to upper-middle position and heat to 350º. **If I was smart, I woulda shoved this in with the bread. I’m not. I waited until the bread was done, lowered the heat, then whacked this in.

2- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter, add in the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic & thyme about 30 seconds (until fragrant) then add in broth and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat.

3- Pulse Bread, Parmesan, remaining 2 Tablespoons of Butter, 1/2 teaspoon Salt and 1/2 teaspoon Pepper in the food processor until coarsely ground. **Recipe claims it can be done in 8-10 pulses. Ha. I stopped counting at 15 pulses. Dump out mix and set it aside.

4- Into now-empty food processor, dump squeezed out spinach, cream cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 pepper. Process until smooth.

5- Spread spinach mix in an even layer of a 13×9″ baking dish. Sprinkle rice evenly over spinach. Sprinkle shredded Cheddar over rice. Pour broth/onion combo into the baking dish, cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes.

6- Remove from oven, remove foil, stir to combine.

7- Oven to 450º and baking dish back in UNCOVERED. Bake until all liquid is absorbed – about 15 minutes.

8- Sprinkle breadcrumb mix over the top and bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.

9- Let cool for 20 minutes and then serve.

After dinner I let the casserole come to room temp before covering and putting in fridge. I tasted it at room temp and I *totally* foresee serving this, cut into cute little bite-sized squares on a pretty platter at my next party/dinner/potluck….

Oh, and here’s a totally adorable pic that C took of the babies on our front steps.

My little ones R and J

My little ones: R and J

Just in case you want a dose of cute in your world.


One thought on “It SHOULD be called ‘Watch Your Thighs Expand Casserole’

  1. Pingback: Mario Batali’s recipe was not what I wanted it to be | Ringing The Dinner Bell

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