Livi Casserole AKA Tuna and Rice Casserole

I'm not planning to start posting again really, but I've had so many requests for this recipe that I figured this would be the easiest way!

This casserole came about on one of those night where you know you shouldn't order pizza but don't want to go to the you make due with what you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer.  It's morphed a few times but for the last 6 months it has remained the same, and has been a family favorite.  Specifically, Olivia's favorite.  My pickiest eater loves this stuff.  She named it after herself.  She asks for the leftovers for breakfast!  Who knew?
It's not terribly expensive to make and makes a large pan so it's great for groups.  In fact, it's denser than pasta casseroles so it feeds more than you would think.  It also works really well to make ahead, just leave off the topping until it's time to bake!

If you leave off the cracker topping it's gluten free too!  You can also sub some kind of crunchy GF topping of course, but when we've had (non-Celiac) GF guests I just leave a portion of it without the cracker topping.

So anyway, on with the recipe!

1 1/2 to 2 cups brown rice (I often cheat and use brown minute rice.  It's a bit more expensive but so convenient!)
1 large can of tuna, well drained (I like packed in water but any kind will work fine)
2 cups heavy cream (you can use whole milk or a combination of half milk and half sour cream or greek yogurt, but heavy cream is our favorite)
2 cups shredded cheddar or cojack
1 small bag frozen peas, no need to thaw
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed (I'm sure lots of crunchy toppings would be good here)

Note:  You can easily cut this recipe down and mess with the rice to tuna proportions to fit what you have on hand.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the rice according to package directions.  If you're using regular brown rice you might want to wait a while to preheat your oven - the stuff takes a while to cook!  Mix rice with rest of ingredients (except the crackers!  :) ).  Spoon into greased 9x13 pan or large casserole dish.  Top with crushed crackers.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until it is heated through.  Add an extra 5-10 minutes if you made it ahead and it's been in the fridge.  Let it set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

And that's it!  It really comes together so quickly if you have the rice already made or if you cheat and use minute brown rice like me!  I've never used white rice to make this.  I'm not sure it would stand up as well as the brown, but who knows?


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