Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hamburger Rice Hot Dish--The Healthy Crock Pot Version

 My mom used to make this when I was a kid.  It is a pretty simple no fuss casserole--easy to make ahead of time and easy to serve kids.  However, when I started to search for recipes, I realize all of them call for condensed cream of mushroom soup. In fact--a lot of recipes that are easy to prepare and taste good contain this soup. While I realize it can add a lot of flavor to meals, it is antithetical to the way I like to cook.  It is very processed and contains lots of ingredients that seem more like chemicals to me. 

I used google to find a replacement, with no luck.  I thought about why these creamy soups are used--for flavor and for consistency.  I decided to try Greek yogurt (yes I am obsessed with it) with some chicken broth and fresh mushrooms.  I ran this idea by my mom--and I have to admit her skepticism scared me a bit, but I decided to proceed.  I also decided to try this recipe, which my mom did in the oven, in a crock pot because my lifestyle sort of needs that convenience right now.  The verdict--it was great. It was just like I remembered as a kid. The texture was fine and the flavor was good. It was the no fuss meal that I remembered.  In the future--I am going to try to replace more "cream of mushroom" type soups with Greek yogurt.

 (image courtesy of Google images because let's be honest, does anyone really need to see a picture of hot dish?)

1 lb. ground turkey (instead of hamburger)
1 cup brown rice (instead of white)
2 cups of non-fat Greek yogurt (to replace 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup)
1 3/4 cups of low sodium chicken broth (instead of water, if you don't use the crock pot, use about 1 1/4 cups of broth)
8 oz of mushroom, sliced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cups of spinach (new ingredient for added nutrition)
salt & pepper to taste

1) In a frying pan, brown the turkey for 5-7 minutes.  After about 3 minutes, add the onions, celery and mushrooms.  I did the step the night before since I decided to cook this recipe in the crock pot. Set aside when turkey is browned and the veggies are cooked.
2) In your crock pot (or dutch oven) add the yogurt and the chicken broth. Whisk until they are blended together well. Add the turkey, browned veggies and fresh spinach. Add the rice and set the crock pot to low and cook for at least 3-4 hours. I actually let it cook for the entire work-day on low and it was just fine.  If you use an oven it should cook for 1 1/2-2 hours on 350.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

P.S. Gina--pretty sure this is gluten free as long as you use chicken broth and yogurt without gluten.


  1. Sounds interesting! I will have to try it!

  2. This sounds really yummy! Yes, I eat greek yogurt and I haven't found any that contains gluten, but I always double-check the ingredients. :) Thanks for the new dish!