Grandma's Rice Casserole

I have fond memories of this rice casserole from my growing up years. They mostly center around church potlucks -- you know, the dingy paint-peeling basements with THE BEST aromas curling up the stairs? The food was my only solace when I was the only human in the building under forty. #howitfelt

Had I known then what I know now.....I probably would have enjoyed the solitude a bit more. I might have found a stack of books to read while I ate. I could have ignored the curious stares of the great-aunts. I would have worried less about my alone-ness.

But it was a huge burden back then. I knew that I looked shy.

I really wanted to be in a circle of friends where I was well known and loved. Now I understand that to be part of my personality and it's just the way I am. I like deep friendships and quality conversation.

These days, the whole family loves Grandma's rice casserole. I make it often because it's easy and because it's satisfying. Sometimes I remember those awkward days of my youth and think about my own children, not too far from the teen years. Really, I just hope they'll be OK with who they are...and find ways to live life well. I hope they'll remember the food we shared together and more, the way we'll love-you-no-matter-what.

Grandma's Rice Casserole
a beloved family recipe

1 1/4 cups brown rice, toasted {you can use white rice, just decrease the water a tiny bit}
2 cups water {you will add the chicken juice too}
2 1/4 T beef seasoning {I use McKays Beef, vegan}
1 onion, chopped
1 can of Fried Chik'n, chopped, with juice
1 15 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes, with juice
2 T oil
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen green beans

Start by chopping the onion and chicken. Toast the brown rice, if you wish. Put everything into a 9x13 casserole dish, stir it around a bit, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about two hours {until the rice is cooked}. Easy peasy.