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.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare casserole up to final bake; cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. To finish, bake at 375 degrees F until the casserole is hot and the cheese is melted, about 45 minutes.
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
- 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cups diced zucchini and/or summer squash (about 1 pound)
- 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
- 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels (see Ingredient Note)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
- 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour rice into a 9 x 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.
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 pepper jack and corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.
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.
When the rice is done, stir in the sausage and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top and dollop cream cheese by the teaspoonful over the casserole. Top with jalapeños. (You can prepare ahead up to this point - See Make Ahead Tip)
Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Ingredient Note: 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.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
248 calories; 9g total fat; 5g total saturated fat; 34mg cholesterol; 491mg sodium; 29g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 13g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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