Cheese & Rice Casserole*

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice, barley, quinoa, couscous (or any combination thereof)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard (1 tsp regular mustard)
1/2 tsp red pepper sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium onion, chopped (I use green onions)
1 medium pepper, chopped (optional)

1/2 lb cooked beef or lamb sausage
2 cups shredded cheese  (mozzarella and/or cheddar)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

DIRECTIONS:

Heat water, rice, salt, mustard, red pepper sauce, and pepper to boiling, stirring once or twice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. (Do not lift cover or stir.) Remove from heat. Fluff grain lightly with fork; cover and let steam 5 to 10 minutes.

Layer half the rice, onion, green pepper, sausage, and cheese in greased oblong baking dish, 11x7x1 1/2 inches; repeat. Mix eggs and milk; pour over quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. (Casserole can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours at this point.) Cook uncovered in 325 degree oven until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares.

This is another easy-to-make, great-tasting budget stretcher at a total cost of $4.58 using local produced eggs and milk. Serves 8 or 6 really hungry persons.

 *adapted from Betty Crocker?s International Cookbook, 1980.