Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zucchini, Brown Rice, Peppers & Cheese

A Week of Zucchini ~ Day 3 ~ Zucchini & Brown Rice
This is one of those comforting one pot meals that I could eat for days.  I adapted this recipe from one in the May/June 2009 issue of Eating Well.  When I make it for vegetarian friends, I exchange the chicken broth for vegetable.  If you'd like to make it even heartier, add cooked turkey kielbasa or sausage.
Zucchini & Brown Rice Casserole

Serves 8

1 1/2 C long or medium grain brown rice
3 C chicken broth
4 C diced zucchini
2 smoked red peppers, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 C milk
3 Tb all-purpose flour
2 C shredded cheddar or jack cheese (or a combination of both)
2 C fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 C chopped pickled jalapenos 
8 oz cooked turkey kielbasa or sausage (optional) 

Preheat oven to 375°F.  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, bell peppers, onion and salt.  Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.
Remove foil and continue baking until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 35 to 45 minutes more.
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 of cheese, the corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted.  Set aside.

When the rice is done stir in the cheese sauce and the sausage(if using).  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top and dollop small bits of cream cheese  over the casserole.  Top with jalapeños.
Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Let stand for another 10 minutes before serving.


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