Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On a Casser-roll!

Admittedly, this photograph looks unappetizing, but it tastes good! I swear! 

SO I used to think casseroles were the epitome of bad mom food. Tuna Noodle Casserole. Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole. Everything all mashed together, usually smothered in gray cream of mushroom soup, and burnt around the edges. Mushy, bland, and pretty much inedible. But I've been thinking more about cooking one big dish that will feed a small family throughout the week, and casseroles keep popping up in the search. It also helps that my husband loves to mix everything together on his plate into one big heap, so casseroles are perfect for that. This particular recipe comes from the Cooking Light catalog, though I have changed it a bit for ease and included more protein to make it a nice square meal. It's great because it actually has texture (!) with the crunchy walnuts and crispy cheese alongside the mushier rice/vegetable mix. Serve with a light salad if you like, though it does include TWO vegetables, so you're totally covered in that department too. 

  • Sausage Eggplant Zucchini Parmesan Rice Casserole
  • [modified from]

  • 12 oz package of chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated and divided (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • large eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • Cook rice according to package directions, but without oil or salt. If you've got a rice cooker, all the better! [Sidenote: This recipe works great with leftover rice from last night's dinner too. As long as you've got enough.] Preheat oven to 400° then combine eggplant and zucchini on a large baking sheet, spraying liberally with olive oil cooking spray, toss to coat, and bake for 15 minutes. While that's cooking, saute chicken sausage in large skillet over medium high heat until browned. Once both the eggplant/zucchini mixture and the sausage are done, set them aside in a large bowl and reduce oven temperature to 375°. Then, using the same large skillet from the sausage, cook 2 teaspoons olive oil, onion, and garlic over medium heat until softened. When cooked, add onion/garlic mixture to the rest in the big bowl, as well as rice, 3 ounces of the cheese, milk, eggs, and salt/pepper, mixing thoroughly to combine. Spread mixture into a greased 11 x 7" glass or ceramic baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15 minutes. While that's baking, add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to the same large skillet from before over medium high heat, swirl to coat, then add breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently. When the crumbs achieve a nice golden brown color, remove from heat and allow to cool before stirring in walnuts, remaining 1 ounce of parmesan cheese, and parsley. When your timer goes off, remove foil from casserole and spread breadcrumb mix evenly over top. Put back in the oven uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes, until topping is brown and vegetables are fork tender. Try not to eat it all in one go.

  • - Cathleen

1 comment:

  1. ohhh i'll have to try this one... we make a lot of casseroles at my house because I am always rushed over lunch-break and need something quick and easy to reheat. my current favorite is Skinny Tex Mex Casserole...

    I use whole wheat elbow noodles and probably add too much cheese but its yummy!


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