Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole


Picky eaters are going to love this Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole. Mom called it busy day casserole because it’s a quick and easy dinner.


a white casserole dish with a ground beef, rice and carrot casserole with melted colby jack cheese on top and parsley for garnish.


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Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Alright, this Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole recipe is definitely not my norm, but it is who I am and it happens to be a recipe that I get a crazy amount of emails about. A long time ago (and seriously, check out the picture and you’ll laugh your heart out at how little I knew about food photography) I posted a recipe called Busy Day Casserole and it has been one of my top recipes for years now. It never disappears from the most viewed recipes.


a purple plate with a fork with a wood handle next to a ground beef and rice casserole full of bits of bright orange carrots and melted colby jack cheese all over the top.


People love this cheesy ground beef and rice casserole and while it’s totally simple I know why. This quick and easy dinner idea rice casserole with ground beef and melted cheese is in fact the cure for all picky eaters. It’s very dependent on you for the seasoning so for picky eaters it’s perfect, but if you want more flavor season it well or add in more vegetables. If you wanted to try something similar, but with chicken, try this!


What Vegetables are Good in a Casserole

This Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is a great casserole to add any veggies you’d like, but we recommend broccoli, peas, corn or even green beans.


How to Make Casserole Without Canned Soup

When you read through the recipe you’ll notice that I use my own mixture for the liquid instead of cream of mushroom soup. You can do either, we just don’t cook with cream of anything soup at our house, but it is what I grew up with, so I wanted you to have all of the versions.


If you’d like to use the soup or a semi homemade version, don’t worry, we’ve listed all three versions in the recipe box.


I found this awesome mushroom gravy by Pacific foods that I love to use, but if you can’t find it and still want a more natural sauce just try this cream mixture from our Green Bean Casserole. It’s awesome and tastes just like canned soup only better.


a wooden spoon scooping a ground beef, rice and carrots casserole with melted cheese on the top


From Scratch Canned Soup for Casseroles

Making a homemade canned soup is actually quite easy. You’ll need some butter, flour for thickening, milk or cream and seasoning to taste. If you’re making a from scratch canned soup with mushrooms just add those in too!


Start by whisking the melted butter and onion or mushrooms with the flour in a hot pot until it clumps up. Next, add in the liquid and whisk, while boiling until thickened. Add in your seasonings and you’ve got condensed soup!


Do I Need to Cover a Casserole with Foil

This Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole does not need to be covered with foil to bake. I know it seems like it will, especially as you see that rice start to cook, but it’s just fine as is, in fact I really like the top and sizes to get a very slight crispness as it adds so much flavor and texture. You can tent with foil if you can’t resist.


Why Didn’t my Rice Cook?

If your casserole finishes cooking and you find yourself asking why didn’t my rice cook in my casserole, well I’m guessing you used the wrong rice, or your oven didn’t hold a constant heat. There’s plenty of moisture and time so there’s no reason this casserole wouldn’t bake up perfectly.


A dark purple plate with a wooden handled fork sitting next to a scoop of cheesy ground beef and rice casserole with carrots and a little parsley chopped up as garnish on top.


What Rice to Use in Casseroles?

Long grain, white rice is the best rice to use in casseroles as it doesn’t become sticky or mushy when baked. You cannot use quick rice in a casserole unless you adjust the liquid according to package directions and cook the carrots completely before mixing it all together.


Best Recipes For Picky Eaters

The cheese is also a little different only because again, we don’t really buy medium cheddar cheese, we usually get Colby Jack and since they are so similar I don’t mind using it, either one will work though. This Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole is something that even as a food blogger I totally love to eat and the kids do too. It’s one of the best recipes for picky eaters. It’s something really simple on their little palates and it has cheese which is always a good thing.

So, to my sweet momma who had to put up with my picky little self, thanks for this delicious Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole recipe that is feeding people everywhere. I say you’re famous for it now. You didn’t know you’d end up famous did you?


A wooden table with a wooden serving spoon on it next to a blue and white striped napkin which is sitting under a white, square casserole dish full of cheesy ground beef and rice casserole with parsley sprinkled over the top


Quick and Easy Dinner Idea Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Looking for more Quick and Easy Casserole Recipes?

Before scrolling down to the recipe check out our other 2 most popular casseroles/recipes on this site for more quick dinner recipe ideas!

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole

I’m not going to lie, I’ve got a thing for casseroles lately and this Teriyaki Chicken Casserole is one of my favorites.
teriyaki chicken casserole in a clear casserole dish on a wooden table.

Cheesy ham and potato bacon casserole

Mom’s holiday casserole, and my little (not so little anymore) brother’s favorite dinner is this potato and ham casserole but I added bacon!

cheesy ham and potato bacon casserole in a white casserole dish on a wooden table.

Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole

Picky eaters are going to love this quick and easy dinner. Mom called it busy day casserole but our readers call is cheesy ground beef and rice casserole. 


Quick Recipe

  • 1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 Cup uncooked Long Grain White Rice
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Carrots, sliced
  • 1/2-1 lb Ground Beef, cooked
  • Cheddar or colby jack cheese, sliced about 9 pieces

Semi Homemade

  • 1 Cup uncooked Long Grain White Rice
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 to 1 lb (depending on preference) ground beef, cooked
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • Pacific Foods Mushroom gravy 13.9 ounces
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Colby Jack or Medium Cheddar Cheese for topping

From Scratch

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced white button mushroom
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2-1 lb Ground Beef, cooked
  • 1 Cup Carrots, sliced
  • Cheddar or colby Jack Cheese, sliced- about 9 slices
  • 1 Cup uncooked Long Grain White Rice


Quick Recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×9″ baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Stir together the soup,rice, water, carrots, and beef.
  3. Place in the baking dish and bake for 90 minutes.
  4. Top with cheese slices and bake a few more minutes or until melted.

Semi Homemade

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×9″ baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the water, mushroom gravy, and milk.
  3. Add the mushroom mix, rice, cooked beef and carrots to a bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Dump into an 8×9″ baking dish and bake, uncovered for 90 minutes.
  5. Add slices of cheese and return to the oven for another couple of minutes or until the cheese is melted.

From Scratch

  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, add the butter and melt.
  2. Whisk in the onion, garlic and mushrooms.
  3. Add the flour, whisking continually and cook for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Add the cream and broth and cook until thick.
  5. Season and remove from heat.
  6. Heat the oven to 350 and spray an 8×9″ baking dish with nonstick spray.
  7. Place the cream mixture, rice, water, beef and carrots into the dish and stir to combine.
  8. Bake for 90 minutes, add the cheese and bake for a few more minutes or until melted.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4-6 servings, Serving Size: 1

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 269 Calories
  • Total Fat: 11.1g
  • Cholesterol: 57mg
  • Carbohydrates: 21.5g
  • Fiber: .5g
  • Sugar: 1.4g
  • Protein: 19.6g
All images and text ©Carrian Cheney for Oh Sweet Basil.



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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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427 comments on “Cheesy Ground Beef and Rice Casserole”

  1. I wonder if you could use low sodium beef broth instead of water?

  2. Oh my word! All I gotta say is Thank you!  I have 3 teens and this is one dinner that I got a smile from everyone! Can you please just give your mom a hug for me!

  3. I used the quick method and it dried out super fast.  What adjustments can be made? I added more water. 

  4. Can I use caned veggies?

  5. second time making it. this time I added cut up onion and garlic powder to the meat as I cooked it, I think it will add flavor. love this dish.

  6. I’m so glad to have found this recipe. I think this will be great to make with just a tweak hear and there to keep it flavorful and still have reduced carbs (brown rice instead of white), using green veggies to make it ok for a pre diabetic. Not really counting calories as much as carbs.
    Also, sorry about the negative comments you have had to endure when you are trying to offer a really good thing. You have made it clear numerous times that recipe can be seasoned to taste, as well as the amount of time to leave it in the oven. Bless you.

  7. Oh my goodness! This was so delicious🤤! My 2 kiddos loved it💙 I switched it up a bit and added pepperoni to the top! We ate the entire pan in less than 24 hours!(that was mostly me lol) Please keep these great recipes coming and THANK YOU!

  8. I recently made this (using the quick option). When I make something for the 1st time, I usually follow the recipe, as I did with this one. I thought it was pretty good, though a bit bland. I will make it again, but next time I will add some fresh chopped mushrooms and onions – and it definitely needs some salt and pepper. I also put some hot sauce on mine (not in the recipe, but on the plate) and that was a plus also.

  9. I am new here and can’t wait to explore all of your recipes.

  10. Can I use Uncle Ben’s Original Converted Rice?

  11. If I wanted to double the recipe what size pan would I use? I have six kids and I dont believe that will be enough. Lol!

  12. Hi, your photos are so bright! I also like to photograph food!

  13. For the quick recipe, what size can of cream I’d mushroom?  I have a small one and then a big one?  Thanks!

  14. OMG, thank you!! I’ve been looking for a good recipe for a creamed rice casserole, and this was perfect actually… Also what was amazing is that I did all of it in one pot, cooking the mince first then adding the veggies then liquid &soup then raw rice, give it a mix and pop it in the oven… Easy ans quick and definitely delicious

  15. Did you cooked the beef first?

  16. Hello Carrian, I literally just discovered your blog! I would like to double this recipe using the quick method. Can I use a 9 x 13 pan? It looks absolutely delicious and I know my family will love it.I love to cook and am always on the hunt for easy and new recipes.:)

  17. Made this tonight on the fly. I did the quick version. We added red pepper, onion, and fresh garlic to the mix as well. It only took 35 mintues for everything to cook through. We also used the conventional oven setting. Can’t wait to dig in and try it! 🙂

  18. Should the Cheesy Ground Beef Rice Casserole be covered while baking for 90 minutes? I would think it would dry out if not?
    Thanks much.

  19. This was just what I was looking for tonight, a quick easy meal to use what little food I had left in the kitchen. Made it SUPER fast by using already made rice cups (2 cups take 1.5 min to heat in the microwave).  Also drained a can of green beans and used that. Heated the whole thing in the microwave for 2 minutes, then added cheese and popped in the oven for 5 min. It was great!!

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  21. So after reading a good majority of the comments, I decided to make this a little easier. I pre cooked the rice then mixed the rice and with the can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of water. Then added the frozen vegetables and the meat, mixed all of it together in the casserole dish and baked that at 375 for 30 minutes covered, then added the cheese to the top and baked for another 15 minutes uncovered. Everything turned out perfect!

  22. Do you have to use cream of mushroom cause I only have the ground beef cheese and rice???

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  24. “quick and easy” … “Bake for 90 minutes”…
    Thanks for the misleading headline. I guess we are having frozen pizzas tonight instead

    • Quick and easy doesn’t always mean you don’t have to plan ahead a little. All the ingredients come together super fast and then you just throw it in the oven! Simple and everyone will love it! Now you have everything you need to make it another night! Hope you enjoy it!

  25. If you make this recipe COOK THE RICE! I followed this recipe to a T and the rice is hard as heck! Such a failed dinner tonight 😒 can’t eat a meal with hard rice! 

    • Hi Charie! I’m so sorry you rice didn’t cook properly! We have never had that problem with it baking in the oven for 90 minutes. Did you use brown right or bake it for less time by chance? There’s not way the rice shouldn’t cook after 90 minutes. That’s very frustrating!

  26. I made the quick recipe except I used green beans instead of carrots and brown rice instead of white. I had my doubts, but it turned out beautifully. Even my little sisters liked it (I served it with ketchup as insurance🙂)! Thank you so much!

  27. I have a son who has issues with tastes and textures. We omitted the cheese from his portion and added sriracha sauce and he ate!!! It was a dream come true for me!! Thank you! 

  28. I doubled this recipe and I forgot to cook the meat first! I don’t know what I was thinking!! Is this ok? I don’t know if we should eat it or not?!?! 

  29. Hi! Do you know if I can make this and freeze it?
    From scratch recipe?
    And your teriyaki chicken?
    We are moving and I wat to make some meals ahead!

    • Yes, both recipes freeze great. For the cheesy ground beef casserole, cook the rice completely rather than freezing it uncooked. Also don’t freeze it with the cheese. Add the cheese on top right before cooking. For the Teriyaki Chicken casserole, freeze exactly as it. We like to add an extra drizzle of teriyaki sauce to it right before eating. Enjoy and good luck with the move!

  30. For the quick recipe for the beefy cheese and rice casserole, does the rice have to be cooked first? The semi-homemade says “uncooked rice,” but the quick one just says rice. 

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  32. I accidentally added the cheese when I first put it in the oven instead of waiting until the end of the cooking time. Now what??

  33. I’m guessing if you want to do it super quick instead of cooking for 90 minutes, cook the rice, cook the carrots, cook the meat, mix it all together on the stove and heat it up a bit. Then throw it in the casserole dish and top it with cheese to melt in the oven. That’s how I usually get my “casseroles” done a little quicker.

  34. Your style of cooking is right up my alley and speaks to my heart! Thank you for all the lovely recipes!

  35. I made the quick recipe and put in onions carrots and Bell pepper and 4 cheese Mexican blend and it was outstanding. This will be a go to Winter meal for us!

  36. Is there really 1,135 calories in one serving? Or is that for the whole pan?

  37. 90 minutes! Dang! I wish I would have noticed this before I put it all together. I ready the intro “quick and easy”. Yep, quick to prep but not quick overall. I’m hoping my just-home-from-football-practice and super hungry son is distracted enough by his phone to not notice how long dinner is taking to cook. Thanks for the recipe though. Hope it’s tasty.

  38. So instead of using regular rice and chicken broth I used the chicken rice of Roni. Browned the rice, then add the season packet to cream of mushroom and milk. Then added it all to ground beef. What you think the outcome will be? 😂😂

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  40. For the Quick Recipe does the rice need to be cooked before mixing it all together or just mix it all together an the rice will cook as it bakes?

  41. Hi! This looks really good. I love that it can be seasoned to taste and still include the picky eaters. 
    I just want to clarify… You first refer to using mushroom SOUP and then, you say Pacific Foods Mushroom GRAVY can be used instead. Is that right? I just want to get it straight in my mind before I start making this!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe!!

  42. Used the quick recipe but instead of water I used 1 cup chicken broth instead of water ( 1 cup of water, 1 chicken bouillon Cube) and added fresh garlic, minced onion, and little salt and pepper to taste, not too much salt because the chicken bouillon cube has a lot of salt so no need to add more and used frozen mixed veggies instead of just carrots. It’s a family favorite even for my picky eaters who don’t like veggies very easy on a busy night!

  43. Thanks for a great sounding recipe. Have a quick question. I have a 8×8″ dish. Would that work? What modifications, if any, would I need to make? I’m going into surgery in a few days and need easy dinners my no-cook family can put together. Thanks so much.

  44. I have made this, with just a couple changes. Did not have carrots at the time so I used a can of green beans and also added a can of hot Rotel sauce to spice up just a bit. Loved it. So simple and quick to make. Will make with carrots the next time.

  45. Can I make it with Long grain Brown rice?

  46. Making this tonight!!! Looks so good!

  47. I am baking this recipe as I am typing this comment. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. I was late making dinner tonight and after reading through your post I knew this was gonna be good. I love casseroles!! I will come back later to tell you how we enjoyed it!!

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  49. Are the carrots raw or precooked prior to mixing in & putting in the oven?

  50. In the from scratch recipe is the rice supposed to be cooked or uncooked 

  51. I followed this recipe exactly as listed and it sucked to say the least. This is not a good recipe! Don’t make this! Waste of time andmoney.

    • Hi George, did you season things well? This is a picky eaters recipe meant for families who want quick, easy and not a flavor explosion as so many like things a little less overwhelming in flavor. I can see how that might not be right for others, but adding more seasoning or different veggies quickly solves that issue

    • I agree–I followed the quick recipe exactly and this was dry and tasteless. Maybe it should only be cooked for an hour instead of an hour and a half but I’m not going to waste good ingredients trying it again. Hoped it would be good.

      • One really, really important step is to season to taste. Just plain salt totally changes a recipe. Also, it’s way more liquid than could ever lead to dry rice. Hmmmm, I’m wondering if it was possibly quick rice instead of long grain?

  52. I made the scratch version and I found it to be way too dry and it had too much rice. It needs more flavor. Probably won’t make this again. Sorry!

    • Hi Janet, did you stick to all of the measurements? There’s more liquid than is normally used for rice so it for sure shouldn’t be dry. The seasoning should also be to taste when you’re making the condensed soup so if it lacked seasoning you’ll just want to add more salt and pepper, or any seasoning is great. 🙂

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  54. What can use in place of the carrots?

  55. What about rice in a bag if that is all you have

  56. The cheesy rice and beef recipe looks amazing. It is funny my daughter went to this little Spanish store and came home with a plate of ground beef and white rice dish and it was so good. So on the internet I go to find a similar recipe and there is yours could it be made without the cheese and maybe a different sauce. I am going to definitely do your first. Thank you

  57. I accidently bought mushroom soup instead of gravy. Can it still be used as a substitute?

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  59. Is it the long grain rice that needs the entire 90 minutes? I have had it in the oven for 30 minutes so far. The veggies were very frozen so I microwave-steamed them for 4 minutes which was good. Otherwise, it would have had too much water from the melted ice. The meat is already cooked. So, will the rice still be hard if I don’t do the entire 90 minutes?

  60. In the quick recipe do u cook the meat first like u do in the other ones ?

  61. Im hoping to make this work. It fits my needs tonight, big time! But…. all I have is Jasmine rice. Can I use frozen mixed veggies in the quick version? Do I change the liquid?

  62. Any idea if this could be made in the slow cooker instead??

  63. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I added a crushed beef bullion cube, garlic powder, and onion powder to the mix. I made this one other time and it was bland, the extra seasoning made a big difference. The cook time in oven for me was 45 -50 minutes and the rice was perfectly cooked.

  64. Ham recipie do good. Its a keeper😀

  65. Can you make it ahead with rice and freeze?

  66. Are we mixing the rice uncooked for quick recipe??

  67. This recipe looks great and I love how versatile it can be so I decided to try it tonight for dinner. Because of the size of my family I decided to double the recipe but now I am a little panicked/worried because after combining everything for the doubled recipe I realized I don’t have a baking pan large enough for it all to fit in. So I had to put part of it in another dish and now I am concerned that neither pan will turn out because the measurements for mail my the liquids aren’t per the recipe. Any suggestions? 

  68. I really enjoyed this recipe. Very easy to prepare.

    I seasoned my beef with a touch of garlic salt, Worcestershire and hot sauce.

    I only used about a quarter cup of minced carrot’s, a few minced potatoes, one can of mushroom soup, 3 tble spoons of butter, and 1/2 tsp of minced garlic. My cheeses where American, Italian and quesadilla. I used them generously. After I melted my cheese, I broiled the top just enough to brown them.

    In reading some comments, I found that some folks don’t read their recipes in full before cooking.

  69. Thank you for the recipe. I wonder how it would be with Cream of celery soup instead of muchroom.

  70. I made this and it turned out super duper dry. 🙁 it was tasty, just dry. For future reference, should I have covered it during cooking for the first 90 minutes? 

    • Hmmm, with that amount of water and soup there shouldn’t be any dryness at all. Was the liquid correct?

      • I did have the right amounts of liquid but I’m wondering if maybe my pan size was too big and the 90 minutes was too long. 🤷🏻‍♀️ So I’m trying it again tonight and baking it covered. I’m going to check it at 60 minutes and go from there. 🙂 Thanks! 

      • How interesting! Hope it goes well tonight!

  71. In the quick version of this recipe, is the rice uncooked? It doesn’t specify. Thanks. 

  72. This is a great recipe. I noticed people saying it is bland in the comments. Try adding a packet of onion soup mix and that will give great flavor without the need for extra salt. Also after the ground beef is almost done add diced celery, onion, and bell pepper to sautee before draining the fat off. I doubled the recipe but instead of putting 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup i did 1 can of creamed corn and 1 can cream of mushroom. Sharp cheddar and a sprinkle of parmesan on top should also kill the blandness

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  75. Hi, I was wondering if we cpuld use Jasmine rice that is all we have.

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  77. I would love to try this recipe, but I am not a mushroom fan by any means – is there an alternative I could use instead of the cream of mushroom soup?

  78. I made the from scratch recipe and it was very bland. It smelled great while cooking so I was pretty disappointed when I tasted it. I wouldn’t describe this as “quick” considering it takes 90 minutes in the oven after prepping. It’s not something I can whip together after work. I stirred it after 45 minutes in the oven, then checked it again after another 30 minutes. I’m glad did because had I cooked it for the full 90 minutes it would have been overcooked. I took it out of the oven and let the cheese melt while it rested on top the stove. If I make it again I’ll add more spices and veggies because it’s way too bland.

    • Yes, it’s a picky eater recipe but as long as you’ve seasoned it the recipe shouldn’t be bland not should it over cook at 90 minutes. Did you by chance use quick cooking rice? And definitely try adding more veggies, that’s my favorite!

  79. This is great if you like really bland food. If not, add salt, pepper and onion to the mixture before baking.

    • It’s definitely one for picky eaters like we talk about in the post, now I just have to have more seasonings since growing out of that but our children aren’t there yet, haha!

  80. Do you think this could be assembled in the morning and left in the fridge for my husband to throw in the oven later in the day? Afraid it might do something to the texture.

  81. This is a great recipe and my entire family loved it! I think the nutritional information is incorrect though. I think it may be listed as the total for the entire casserole – not per serving?

  82. Do you add all ingredients raw to the easy version including the carrots and beef?

    • The meat is always cooked first. 🙂

      • Why? … I don’t get this point and is why I am reading the comments. That adds to the overall time to make (and is not accounted for in the instructions) and if in the oven for 90 min, should cook along with the rice. This is similar to my mom’s stuffed grape leaves – and she combines the meat and rice and they cook together. – Thx!

  83. I also like string beans in it

  84. I’ve only got 10 minute rice.  Do you think it would be best to reduce the time to say 45 minutes so the rice doesn’t get over cooked? I’ve already made you’re recipe once and really enjoyed!! This time I’m stuck having to make modifications because I’ve run out of rice and my baby is getting up nap too early.

    • Oh darn, I hate when the babies do that! You certainly can and yes, reduce the baking time by half and then check on it often. You’ll need less liquid as well in most cases so just check the box.

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  86. Just stumbled across your post. As a chef and a teacher I love the way you provide 3 ways with methods for each. I can see there’s lots of love in your kitchen!

  87. Thanks for this! Everyone loved it. I used ground turkey instead of beef because that’s what we had, and I made celery soup instead of mushroom because my daughter won’t eat mushrooms. I also had no heavy cream, so I made some by whipping together butter and milk. I cooked the rice first (parboiled rice) because I evidently don’t read directions so well, but fortunately it wasn’t mushy. I’m not the cook in our family, so I’m quite proud of myself! AND now I know how to make cream of soups!

    • I’m totally laughing because you sound like me. So many times I’ve finished something in a recipe only to realize it totally was not what I was supposed to do, haha. I’m so glad it all turned out and I will be trying it with celery next time!

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  89. I love this for 2 reasons! It is made from scratch so I can avoid the high sodium of canned soups, It is made the way Mom made it so I know it will be good. Oh, 3 reasons, I have been looking for a way to make my own condensed soups so with this recipe as a base I am all set.

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  91. Hi, I really like how you give different versions of this recipe! It looks delicious and I will be trying this soon! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  92. Made it tonight. Huge it! I made the from scratch version. It was a little dry and some of the rice was not completely done. I’m thinking I need more water? I also made it in a 9 x12 pan. Do you cover it for the hour of cooking before adding cheese? I’m adding this to my monthly schedule. Thanks!