Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zucchini and Chicken Sausage Casserole Din-Din

It's been a while since I've made a multi-course Sunday night dinner, but tonight I had the opportunity so I went all out.  Wanting to cook something special but also not too caloric, I was inspired by a recipe that came from September's Everyday Food magazine.  While I altered some of the ingredients such as substituting beef for chicken sausage and using just one kind of squash, I followed the general directions, which resulted in something really delicious.

While I don't think this dish will satiate you on its own, I'd suggest making a fresh veggie salad or an easy side dish to go along with it.  My side dish came in the form of stuffed tomatoes, which I filled with leftover squash that I sauteed with garlic and onions...but more on that later.  Hope you enjoy this recipe and wash it down with a crisp glass of white wine.

Summer Chicken Sausage and Rice Casserole

Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan (I omitted this)
2 tbs of olive oil, divided

5 cups reserved quick meat sauce (I sauteed chicken sausage and combined it with tomato sauce)
1/2 cup long-grain white rice (I substituted with brown rice.  Please note that the recipe tells you to not pre-cook the rice before mixing it with the other ingredients, but please do cook it or else it will remain extremely al-dente)

1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 zucchini or summer squash, very thinly sliced (I only used one of these, the yellow squash, and found that I only needed about a half of it)
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan and 1 tbs of olive oil.  In a large cast iron skillet, bring meat sauce to a rapid simmer over high.  Stir in rice and remove from heat.  *Once again, please pre-cook your rice instead of putting it in raw.*

Top with onion, then carefully arrange zucchini in a single, slightly overlapping layer.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with remaining olive oil and top with breadcrumb mixture.

Return to heat and bring to a simmer.  Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until rice is cooked through and breadcrumbs are golden, about 10 minutes more.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from September 2012 issue of Everyday Food

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