Zucchini Rice Casserole

Zucchini Rice Casserole
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We pack extra vegetables into this cheesy baked rice casserole. Plus we substitute brown rice for white, reduce the cheese by half and swap turkey sausage for pork sausage. If you're bringing it to a potluck, plan to reheat it before serving.

From EatingWell: May/June 2009
Yield: 12 servings, about 1 cup each
Active Time: 40
Total Time: 120

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
  2. 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  3. 4 cups diced zucchini , and/or summer squash (about 1 pound)
  4. 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
  5. 1 large onion, diced
  6. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  8. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  9. 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
  10. 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
  11. 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  12. 8 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
  13. 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese , (Neufchâtel)
  14. 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Pour rice into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir hot broth into the rice along with zucchini (and/or squash), bell peppers, onion and salt. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 35 to 45 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 1/2 cups Jack cheese and corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  5. When the rice is done, stir in the sausage and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Jack cheese on top and dollop cream cheese by the teaspoonful over the casserole. Top with jalapeños.
  6. Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5; cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. To finish, bake at 375°F until the casserole is hot and the cheese is melted, about 45 minutes.
  • Tip: To remove corn from the cob: Stand an uncooked ear of corn on its stem end in a shallow bowl and slice the kernels off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. This technique produces whole kernels that are good for adding to salads and salsas. If you want to use the corn kernels for soups, fritters or puddings, you can add another step to the process. After cutting the kernels off, reverse the knife and, using the dull side, press it down the length of the ear to push out the rest of the corn and its milk.

Nutrition

Nutrition Per Serving: 248 calories; 9 g fat (5 g sat, 1 g mono); 34 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrates; 13 g protein; 2 g fiber; 491 mg sodium; 273 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (56% daily value), Vitamin A (20% dv), Calcium (16% dv).

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 high-fat meat