Friday, September 26, 2014

Zucchini and Brown Rice Casserole

Bring on the fall recipes! I'm full of them lately :)

But today, I want to talk cats. You know, the 4-legged, furry kind. I was a cat kind of girl growing up, but somewhere along the way things changed. I think it was when I moved in with the hubby, and so began the era of little dogs. And I love dogs. I love their intelligence, their quizzical eyes, and the way they follow you adoringly through the house, looking for any opportunity to steal some pets. Dogs fit perfectly into my lifestyle. They may chase my birds but they certainly would never have the gumption to catch one. And even if they did, they have pretty blunt teeth and nails. Cats? Cats on the other hand... I just envisioned birds and feathers flying if a cat ever wandered into my yard. I just didn't think a kitty would fit in my lifestyle.

Enter Samuel.

I sat out on the patio last night for an hour, and Sam sat on my lap. Purring the whole time. And the birds came out of the woodwork. After about 20 minutes of sitting quietly, the turtle doves descended. Then came the cardinals. And then a few finches. They all waddled along the ground about 20 feet from us, chirping and scratching for seeds. I watched Sam closely, not sure if he would try to stalk them or what he would do. He did... nothing. Just sat there and accepted his scritches behind his ears. I was pleased. When I put him down, he went straight to his food bowl. And when I came inside, he went in his little house we made for him. 

It's still early, he's only been here a little over a week. But I have a feeling Sam the Cat may become a permanent fixture around here. Back to my childhood roots, perhaps? :) And maybe, while I'm outside sitting with the kitty, I'll have this perfect-for-two casserole in the oven.

I adapted this casserole from my Cheesy Eggplant and Orzo Casserole. I mean, I had zucchini on hand, I  had brown rice on hand, and these 2 cute cassoluet pans. Why not switch up the ingredients? Indeed, the casserole did not disappoint. The hubby and I scarfed it down with nary a leftover to be seen. There's so many vegetables in this casserole that you could consider this a one-pot meal. Or serve a salad on the side with some crusty bread and butter. Either way, you're in for some good eats.

Annnnd, we are already to the weekend! What a short week! Well, maybe for me since I started blogging on Wednesday again. Ah, the life of the unemployed :)

Have a great weekend friends!

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups Arrabiata sauce (I used Trader Joes's)
1 cup cooked brown rice (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tbsp parsley, minced


1. Preheat oven to 375º. Lightly coat 2 cassoluet pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When warm, add onion, red pepper, mushrooms, and zucchini. Sauté for 4-5 minuets or until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic to pan, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to pan, stir to combine. Add Arrabiata sauce and rice to the pan, stir to combine.
3. Distribute half of rice mixture into 2 pans. Make a thin layer in the pan. Distribute about half of both cheeses over thin layers. Cover with the remainder of the rice mixture between the 2 pans. Cover with the remainder of the cheeses. 
4. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until cheese is starting to brown and getting bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Sprinkle parsley over 2 pans. Serve immediately. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may enjoy these:


  1. Jessica this looks delicious. Found you over at Rattlebridge Foodie Friday. Thanks for sharing. Pinned!

    1. Thanks Michelle! I hope you have a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by! :)

  2. Dear Jessica, A perfect fall dish. I do love zucchini and this looks delicious. Blessings, Catherine

    1. Thanks Catherine! Casserole and fall go together like white on rice :) Have a great weekend!

  3. Hey Jessica, I saw this at the Weekend potluck. This is such a great healthy casserole, just up my alley! P.S. I have 4 cats...I adore dogs, but cats are so much easier to look after.

    1. Cats are SUPER easy to look after, as I've discovered. While my dogs are needy and want attention all the time, this kitty is very independent. I like his style :) Have a great weekend, and thank you for stopping by!

  4. This looks and sounds so good. It's going on my to make list. Pinned and Tweeted. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle Sunday.

    1. This recipe is a keeper! I hope you enjoy it Beverly! Hope you are having a great weekend! :)

  5. Hmmmm, I'm going to have to try that sauce now!!! Thank goodness for TJ's! Thank you for linking up at Snickerdoodle Sunday- hope to see you again later today.

    1. I love Trader Joes, I would kill to have one close! So jealous of everyone who gets to go on a regular basis! LOL. Hope you are having a great weekend Sarah! :)