I adapted this recipe from one called, “Green Chile and Sour Cream Rice Casserole” in a book called “Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever” by Diane Phillips.  If you missed the Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese - you should check it out - it’s from the same cookbook!

I was in the middle of taking inventory of our freezer ... and while looking in the fridge, I noticed I had everything I needed to do an adaptation on her recipe that would fit the bill for exactly what we needed.  I love using the slow cooker, especially when I am in the domestic mode and don’t have a lot of energy to focus on hands-on, labor-intensive cooking.

I pretty much substituted what I had in the refrigerator and freezer in comparable amounts to her original recipe ... this way the end result would have the correct consistency. 

I also cut her original recipe in half and used my 3 1/2 quart slow cooker.  But feel free to make more than you think you might need!  The leftovers (if there are any) are fabulous and warm up well.  Especially if you are using flavor combinations your family already loves.

Here’s how I put this together:

-4 tablespoons unsalted butter

-1 cup finely diced onion

-2 fresh jalapeños, diced, ribs and seeds removed

-2 cups corn kernels, I used 1 can that I drained

-1 teaspoon ground cumin

-1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

-1 cup heavy cream

-1 cup sour cream

-2 cups cooked white rice (I always keep extra cooked rice in the freezer)

-1 heaping cup of cooked and drained pinto beans (also kept in the freezer - here)

-1 cup refried beans (recipe here) (also kept in the freezer)

-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, juice reserved

-3 cups grated Queso Quesadilla Cheese - or Cheddar + Monterey Jack

The only stovetop preparation cooking required is to soften the onion and jalapeños in the butter.  While sautéing, add in the ancho chili powder and ground cumin.

Set the vegetables aside to cool.  And grate your cheese.  To make life easy when grating cheese, I spray my grater with non-stick spray and then set my grater over waxed paper with a touch of water underneath so that the paper/grater doesn’t move all over the place.

Then I can pick up and use the wax paper to drop the cheese into the mixing bowl without a mess!

When you’re done grating your cheese, add the cooled vegetables, tomatoes, both beans, Queso Quesadilla.  Then add your rice, cheese, cream and sour cream.

At this point, you’ll want to spray your 3 1/2 - 5 quart slow cooker pot with non-stick cooking spray.

And then carefully pour the cheesy rice mixture into the slow cooker and set the temperature to LOW.

I smoothed the mixture out a little bit and then topped it with more cheese.  I had used up the remainder of my Queso Quesadilla cheese, and I had a nice wedge of Manchego cheese left in the fridge - so I grated that up and topped the casserole with the grated Manchego.  I find these cheeses at our wholesale club - sometimes you can’t even find them at the grocery store - but if you do ... you’ll pay more than the wholesale club.

Once the grated cheese is in place, go ahead and set the lid of the slow cooker and walk away!

I set the timer for 4 hours and then just like in the Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese, I removed the lid and crushed a few crackers over the top and allowed the casserole to finish cooking with the lid off.

When it was done, I turned the slow cooker off and allowed it to sit for a good 10 to 15 minutes.

Then I couldn’t resist any longer!  I plated it up - and the smell of the cheese and the Mexican flavors was heavenly.

I garnished the top with a few cilantro leaves ... and of course, some little corn kernels, finely diced red onion, jalapeño and tomato. 

I also put a few sliced  black olives on mine ... I would have added to the casserole, but Eric doesn’t like them!

So when you are looking for a budget-friendly meal that can cook while you’re finishing other tasks ... here you go!  ENJOY!!