Zucchini Rice Casserole

Are you sick of zucchini? I’d say yes because we’ve eaten it probably every day the past couple weeks but when you put it in things and really can’t taste it you don’t even notice it’s there.

Even the Zapple Crisp I made didn’t taste like zucchini. I made it for my brother and sister-in-law when they came up for Labor Day. They had no clue it was zucchini and not apples. They really didn’t! I’m so sneaky.

This happens to be my favorite casserole recipe. Ok, it’s the only casserole I’ll make.

Not a casserole fan. Dreaded them as a kid and dread them now. Except this one of course. This one is fantastic because it’s got cheese, lots of cheese and jalapenos. It’s like a jalapeno popper but with rice and sausage.

The original recipe was pretty complicated with lots of steps and time. I was able to cut that down with my rice and vegetable steamer. The rice is on the bottom and the vegetables are on the top. They all cook at the same time. Love it. I threw all the vegetables in there.

Here’s the rice on the bottom. All done and I didn’t have to do anything. This handy kitchen gadget actually makes the rice for me, something I was unable to do before. No, seriously rice was beyond my cooking ability. Kind of like hard boiled eggs.

Once it was all done I combined all the ingredients that I just cooked and put them in a 9×13 pan.

You make a white sauce and add some cheese. It calls for pepper jack but I only had mozzarella so that’s all it got.

Throw some cooked sausage and the white sauce in and stir them together.

Add some cream cheese on top and some jalapeno’s. Those ones were home grown. Actually now that I think about it, all the vegetables were.

Add some more cheese. Because you can.

Bake until it’s done then enjoy. So, what’s your favorite casserole? Do you have one? Are you a casserole lover or hater?

ZUCCHINI RICE CASSEROLE

1 1/2 cups brown rice

chicken broth for cooking the rice

4 cups diced zucchini and/or summer squash

2 red or green bell peppers chopped

1 large onion chopped

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

3 tablespoons flour (all-purpose or wheat)

2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (I used mozzarella)

2 teaspoons olive oil

8 oz sausage, your favorite kind

8 ox reduced -fat cream cheese

1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos (more or less depending on your hotness level) hotness of the peppers, not your hotness.

Cook rice in chicken broth. Steam vegetables until cooked. Combine both rice and vegetables in 9×13 pan when cooked.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk milk and flour in a small bowl. Cook in microwave until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Cook one minute at time checking to see if it’s thick. Add 1 1/2 cups Jack cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Add to the rice mixture in pan.

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. Add to rice mixture in pan when cooked through.

Dollop cream cheese on top of rice mixture and add desired jalapeno’s to top.

Bake in the oven until cheese is melted. About 10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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