Pulling An Amanda

RECIPE: Zucchini Rice Casserole

*sigh* Have I confessed my biggest problem in the kitchen? Yeah, I cook a lot and 80% of it turns out pretty good, but for as many years as I’ve been attempting amazing meals, there’s one lesson I still haven’t learned. Here it is:


I make this mistake so often that it’s called “Pulling an Amanda” in our house. I’ll be in the kitchen and Ryan will be in his office studying and all I have to do is walk into his room and say “I did it again…” I routinely pick recipes based on ingredients and then neglect to read the freaking instructions, only to find that the damn meal takes TWO HOURS to make.

I did this again yesterday. Zucchini Rice Casserole. I assume you just cook the rice, then throw everything else in and bake until it’s hot. So… 45 minutes? Uh.. no. 45 minutes is the FIRST step. Followed by another 45 minutes. Then another 20 minutes. MOTHER F! So I figured I’d just modify the way I cooked it. If I simmered the rice instead of baked it, that would be like 25 minutes, right? As long as it takes to cook rice? No, it took over 45 minutes this way too. But look! It cooked with tons of pretty veggies:

So, once again, I’m my own worst enemy in the kitchen. I swear, I think it’s how recipes are presented. It just doesn’t work for me. I think I need more of a visual to really get a recipe, you know? I haven’t quite perfected it, but I’m kind of thinking I need something more like this:

Hmmm… I’m going to have to think about that some more. I think I’m on to something. Regardless… this recipe was well worth the wait. It’s super healthy (although I could actually have left out some of the cheese) and perfect comfort food. It also made a ton, so we’ve got leftovers. I didn’t take a picture of the finished product because, as any good comfort food should be, it was kind of a gloppy mess on the plate. Next time I’m adding more jalapenos and I’m going to spread the cream cheese out a bit. This recipe was a winner! Despite my best efforts to ruin it by not reading the recipe.

Zucchini Rice Casserole
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Amanda N
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 75 mins
Total time: 1 hour 25 mins
Serves: 10
Adapted from EatingWell.com
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 1 diced zucchini
  • 1 diced yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 can whole corn kernels, drained
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces Italian ground turkey
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring broth to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the rice along with zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onion and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (this could take longer).
  3. Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add turkey. Cook, stirring and breaking the meat into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  5. When the rice is done, stir in the sausage and cheese sauce. Pour into a 9×13 inch glass baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Jack cheese on top and dollop cream cheese by the teaspoonful over the casserole. Top with jalapeños.
  6. Place the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.


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One Response to Pulling An Amanda

  1. Juliann says:

    You are on to something. I read recipes all the way through about 3 or 4 times before I actually make it but I’d love it if they were written out how you demonstrated above. It.Is.Awesome.

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