Winter Rice Bake

Well, I’m a delinquent blogger. While my fellow, more disciplined, blogging buddies have likely supplied their readers with things like year-end lists of their favorite recipes or healthy detox recipes for those ready to start the new year off on a healthy foot, here I am, presenting an everyday recipe — a simple, no-frills baked rice dish. Sure, it’s quite healthy in its own right; brown rice, leafy greens, low-fat Cannellini beans, butternut squash. But it’s not necessarily a detox-friendly dish (unless you’re on a detox that allows for processed foods, and I’ve not heard of any of those myself).

Still, after contemplating my own list of favorite recipes (after awhile I felt like a bad parent, not wanting to make any of the other recipes feel bad) and reminding myself that I’m not a person who likes the all-or-nothing resolution diet attitude (I prefer a year-round, more balanced approach), I reassured myself that there are at least some out there who are open to an easy, comforting winter dish. As many of you gear-up for a return to the 5 day work week and cold months ahead, consider this one antidote to all of that work and cold, and presumably, tiredness.

Oh, and in keeping with my New Years delinquincy, I am writing this post while I should be paying attention to the Michigan bowl game. However, the performance on the field is such an atrocity, I can find comfort only in writing to all of you. Let’s hope 2011 is a better year for my Wolverines. Maybe someone should tell them to eat some black-eyed peas…

Serves: 4-6

Winter Rice Bake:

3 cups butternut squash; peeled, seeded and cubed

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cups swiss chard, chopped into short ribbons

3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup Daiya vegan mozzarella-style shreds

a pinch of salt to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Toss butternut squash with olive oil and lay flat on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until soft.

3. Reduce oven heat to 350. Meanwhile, toss together butternut squash with remaining ingredients. Taste for salt. Spread into a baking dish and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes, or until edges are golden. Serve.

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