Eila’s Creamy Winter Squash and Rice Casserole

photo 4-1When having family over around the holidays, Eila, writer of the Full Plate Blog, likes to have a few make-ahead recipes, so she truly gets to enjoy her company while dinner is baking. Spotting all of the different winter squash varieties at Stewart’s, Eila came up with a comforting make-ahead winter squash and brown rice casserole to take advantage of this bounty. “This recipe is great because depending upon the size of your crowd, or however many gatherings you’d like to serve it at, it easily doubles. When I make it, I make enough to freeze some for a busy weeknight ahead. It would also be a wonderful Thanksgiving side. And if you’re trying to incorporate more meatless meals into your family repertoire, this one’s a keeper. Everyone in my family loves this dish,” says Johnson.

Creamy Winter Squash and Rice Casserole

(Makes 10 servings. This recipe can be easily doubled.) 

1 ½ – 2 medium squash*, seeded and thinly sliced

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 cups broth or white wine

2 cups brown or wild rice, cooked**

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sharp cheddar, grated

¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs

3 eggs, beaten

½ cup Parmesan, shredded

oil or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 and oil two 8×8 pans with olive oil or cooking spray. Using a food processor, or mandolin, thinly slice the squash and onion. In a Dutch oven, or large pot with tight fitting lid, combine the squash, onions and broth or wine. Bring to a boil, then place lid on pot, lower heat to a simmer and cook squash and onion mixture for 20 minutes. Turn burner off and add rice, sour cream, sharp cheddar, breadcrumbs and eggs to the pot. Stir to combine. Spoon filling into prepared baking dishes. Sprinkle each casserole with ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan.

If enjoying the casserole(s) today, bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

If freezing the casserole(s) for another day, cool the casserole(s) down, cover with plastic wrap, then tightly wrap in foil, label and date each dish and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight, then bake at 350 for about 1 hour. You can loosely cover the top with foil if it starts to get too brown.

*You can use any variety of winter squash (acorn, butternut, delicata, sweet dumpling, etc). I peel the butternut, but simply wash the sweet dumpling, delicata or acorn squash skin, as it softens enough to eat afternoon cooking.

** Stewart’s sells brown rice that is cooked in the freezer section. I use these packets to save me time!

Busy New Canaan mom, Eila Johnson, writes the full plate blog. The site, which was named to Forbes’ Top 100 Sites for Women, Forbes’ Top 10 Parenting and Homemaking Sites, and was ranked in the Top 5 “Foodie Mom Blogs” on a major parenting site in both 2012 and 2013, teaches busy parents how to make simple, nourishing recipes for their families and friends.

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