In a little butter, saute the onion, celery and green pepper.
Brown beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place uncooked rice in the bottom of a deep dish casserole that has been prepared with a nonstick spray.
Place the onion, celery and pepper on the rice.
Add the browned beef and layer on top.
Cover with tomatoes and tomato juice.
Cover baking dish with foil and cook at 350 F until the rice is done - about 45 minutes. Add grated cheese on top (if using) after 35 minutes and return to oven for 10 minutes or until rice is tender.
Bake in a 4 quart deep dish.If using a shallow baking dish, add ½ c tomato juice extra (water may also be used).Test the rice using a spoon - slide it down the edge of the dish to check if the rice is tender.