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Gigi’s Ortega Rice Casserole

ortega rice casserole

Gigi’s Ortega Rice Casserole is a staple at our holiday dinners. Holiday dinners are potluck style, for the most part, and she never wavered on bringing this dish. So when 2020 hit and we couldn’t see her I busted out the Ortega Rice Casserole recipe card to make sure the dish was still at the table. A couple months later our Gigi passed away, it’s still not real to me. We haven’t had a celebration of life or a funeral yet. 2020 distanced all of us so I feel like she is still at home waiting out the pandemic.

When I was getting ready for Thanksgiving it dawned on me that she wouldn’t be there. We felt this at all the family gatherings but I still held on to the idea that she was at home staying safe. It’s starting to sink in. Again I busted out Gig’s Ortega Rice Casserole recipe card this time realizing she won’t ever make this again. This recipe was always one I wanted to share. Maybe I should have given myself more time to process her loss before making the video because I was a complete mess after it was done.

This is my why.

This simple dish encompasses gathering with friends and family, love, and laughter. Time well spent with naps, football, wine, a silly made up wine cork game, the whole family or just a handful. As time passes this dish will gather more memories. You change out diced green chilis for jalapenos and you have Gigi’s unforgettable mistake of 2015. That fumble forever added a “Herrera style” (my dad loves jalapenos or anything spicy) rendition to the dish. We laughed hard at her honest mistake then and again this year as I was asked if I made it “Herrera style”.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!

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Serves 8 – 10 people as a side dish.

Ingredients for Gigi’s Ortega Rice Casserole

Directions for Gigi’s Ortega Rice Casserole

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook rice according to directions. In a small saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil, add rice, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl add sour cream, Ortega Diced Green Chilis, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and rice.
  4. Place ingredients into a 8 x 6 inch casserole dish. Top with more cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley flakes and paprika and ENJOY!

Tools Needed for Gigi’s Ortega Rice Casserole

Green in the Kitchen

I try my best to be as green as possible in the kitchen using organic ingredients and using tools that can be handed down through the generations and/or are sustainably made.  I am always on the lookout for products that support this vision.  Though not perfect I still have tools that are not completely in line with this vision; however, I look forward to taking great care of them and using them as long as possible so they stay out of landfills.  Once they have reached their end of life I look forward to introducing an eco-friendly version to the home.

I also look forward to sharing with you what can be composted from each dish so less food waste is sent to landfills.  If you have an opportunity to use the unused portions of ingredients in another dish all the better but if you don’t have plans for… let’s say, that whole head of lettuce YOU CAN COMPOST IT!

What Can Be Composted From This Dish?

Hmmm… none of these ingredients need to be composted so enjoy every last morsel! 🙂

More Ideas

Andouille Sausage + Turkey Gumbo

How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Grandma’s Cornflake Potatoes

Homemade Turkey Stock

Pork Shoulder Chile Ancho Tamales

Sweet Holiday Wreath Bread

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