Cook up some seasonal, pumpkin-inspired comfort

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After a cool, blustery day, it’s hard to beat a satisfying meal that provides comfort from the inside out. Better yet, turning to a filling dish that’s easy to prepare means more time cozying up with a favorite book or movie and less time in the kitchen.

(minuterice.com)

Casseroles and soups are classic options for cooking up comfort at home. Such recipes often lean on the reliability of rice—instant, jasmine, basmati and other flavors—known for their light, fluffy texture and easy prep. And for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian eaters especially, these rice varieties can provide comfort food all season long.

If you’re looking for a filling non-meat-based feast, let your oven do the work with the Pumpkin-and-Spinach Layered Rice Casserole. It doesn’t get much creamier than combining sweet pumpkin purée with three gooey cheeses while folding in a protein-rich egg, fresh spinach and fluffy jasmine rice to make it a truly satisfying meal.

Keep that seasonal pumpkin flavor on the menu by serving up Pumpkin Curry Turkey Soup with rice as a simple recipe that takes only 20 minutes. With the addition of coconut milk, which is nondairy and lactose-free, this creamy soup is quick, warm and comforting on cool nights.

Pumpkin-and-Spinach Layered Rice Casserole (Dairy)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 7 oz. pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
  • 1¼ tsp. salt, divided
  • 1¼ tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 ounces spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

Prepare the rice according to the package directions.
Stir in the pumpkin purée, cream, butter, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add the spinach and garlic; cook 2 to 4 minutes or until wilted. Let cool completely; squeeze out excess moisture. Season with ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg and spinach. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, and the remaining salt and pepper.

Layer half of the rice mixture in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the spinach mixture, then top with remaining rice mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Cover with foil; bake for 30 minutes.

Remove foil; bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden-brown and bubbling.

Pumpkin Curry Turkey Soup (Meat)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sodium-reduced turkey broth
  • 1 can (14 oz.) pumpkin purée
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked turkey
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (pareve)
  • 2 cups instant white rice

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine the turkey broth, pumpkin purée, curry powder, cayenne powder, ginger, pumpkin-pie spice, salt and water. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the turkey and (pareve) coconut milk, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until turkey is heated through.

Stir in the rice. Cover and remove pan from heat. Let stand for about 5 minutes until rice is tender.

To find more family-favorite comfort foods, visit MinuteRice.com.

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