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Turkey Sausage and Zucchini Casserole

Extra vegetables are tucked into this rice casserole and with the brown rice it is great!

  Makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each
  Prep Time: 40 minutes
  Total Time: 2 hours
  Ease of Preparation: Easy

  3/4 cup long-grain brown rice
  1 ½  cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  2 cups diced zucchini and/or summer squash (1/2 lb)
  1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  1/2 large onion, diced
  ¼ teaspoon salt
  ¾ cup low-fat milk
  1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  1 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
  ½ cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
  1 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
  2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Into a 8-by-8-inch baking dish put rice zucchini, bell peppers and onions . Heat broth in a small saucepan (to a simmer). Stir hot broth into the rice mixture. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes more.

3. Mix milk and flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add ¾ cups Jack cheese and corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.

4. Add oil to a large skillet and cook sausage over medium heat. Cook, breaking the sausage into small pieces, until lightly browned about 4 minutes.

5. When the rice is done, stir in the sausage and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup Jack cheese on top and spoon cream cheese by the teaspoonful on top of the casserole.

6. Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tips & Tricks:
Tip: Prepare through Step 5; cool, cover and refrigerate for 1 day. To finish, bake at 375°F until the casserole is hot and the cheese is melted, about 45 minutes.

Nutritional Notes: 248 calories; 9 g fat (5 g sat, 1 g mono); 34 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 13 g protein; 2 g fiber; 491 mg sodium; 273 mg potassium.