Is there anything more comforting than a creamy, cheesy, casserole? I typically reserve that type of meal for cold or gloomy weather, but this casserole is best served in the middle of summer. It's actually on the lighter side, thanks to cottage cheese, tons and tons of veggies, brown rice, and a modest amount of Parmesan - but it tastes just as cheesy, comforting, and homey as anything you've had at a church potluck or your grandmother's house. I first started making this last summer, when I was in the throes of morning sickness. It was one of the only things that ever sounded edible, which was a bonus - it was also the only way I could stomach vegetables.
I mix it up a little each time I make this, using whatever veggies I have on hand, or just using what sounds good at that moment. I typically add shredded chicken to make it a complete meal, but you could leave the chicken out and serve this as a side dish or a vegetarian dinner as well. My go-to combination has been tomatoes, zucchini, corn, onions, and bell peppers.
Another bonus? No precooking of the vegetables is required. Just throw it all together, bake, and serve. This is also a great make-ahead meal. I've assembled it the night before, then just baked the next day. And I've taken it to a few friends who just had babies as well. It's hearty, delicious, filling, and full of the summer's best produce. Definitely a winner in my book!
Chicken & Summer Vegetable Rice Casserole
adapted from eat love drink, via Sunny Side Up in San Diego
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh black pepper
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup cottage cheese (low fat is fine)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1 1/2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded on the large holes of a cheese grater
- 1 large ear of corn, kernels cut from the cob
- 1/2 medium bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a square casserole dish or pie pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, and cottage cheese. Add the rice, onion, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, bell pepper, chicken, and half the basil. Stir well to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish, and use a spatula to smooth the top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese turns golden-brown.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes, garnish with the remaining basil, and serve.