August 28, 2013

End of Summer Casserole

This is our last week of no major after school events. (I'm officially a soccer mom now-when did this happen?? ) Next week will have at least two days where getting dinner on the table is going to be a struggle, and since I'm trying to eat slightly less indulgently, I'm going to try to do it without hitting the drive thru. That means I'll be digging through my Pinterest boards and favorite blogs and cookbooks to try to find dinners that get on the table fast or can be prepped ahead of time. It's a little easier as the weather cools down, because so many of our favorite soups or stews can be made earlier in the day and warmed back up when it's time to eat. Summer weather will be sticking around Oklahoma for at least another 6 weeks, which makes the transition to real "weeknight" cooking a bit more tricky. I think our slow cooker will be in heavy rotation, and we may rely on grilling to get things cooked and on the table quickly. Besides, I am totally out of practice with our grill and I need a refresher. Good excuse, right?

When I saw this casserole on Pink Parsley last week, I immediately put it on my menu list. It is the perfect use for all that fabulous summer produce coming out now, and the chicken and brown rice keep it on the healthier side. It comes together quickly, although the chicken does need to be cooked ahead of time and the actual baking time is close to an hour. The actual hands on work is so so so easy though, which makes me think I could throw it together on a Sunday or Monday night when we have a little more time and the leftovers would make fantastic lunches for the next few days. Or I could make in the morning and just bake after school. Nice to have options, right?

Summer Vegetable Casserole
barely adapted from Pink Parsley

2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cottage cheese
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 zucchini, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup of corn (or kernels from one ear of corn)
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups cooked and diced chicken
3 tbs chopped basil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together eggs, salt, pepper, mustard and cottage cheese in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the cheese and stir together until completely combined.

Pour it all into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Sprinkle the cheese on top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, remove the foil and then bake for 20 more.
Cool for 10 minutes or so and then serve.

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