They might not be the stars of the show, but putting a bit of extra thought into preparing accompanying dishes will make sure you really shine when hosting.

Zucchini Casserole

1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1kg zucchini, cubed
1 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided

Combine the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Preheat the oven and lightly grease a shallow 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the zucchini, green onions and garlic for five minutes or until tender. Season with garlic salt, basil, paprika and oregano. Mix in the cooked rice, tomatoes and one cup of the cheese.

Continue to cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish.

Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Spicy Indian Beans

450g fresh green beans, trimmed and cut
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp black mustard seed
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red chili pepper, crushed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white sugar
Ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the green beans in the pot and cook briefly, removing after three to four minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the mustard seed and garlic and cook until golden brown. Mix in the chile pepper. Place the green beans in the skillet and season with salt and sugar. Cook and stir for eight minutes, or until tender. Season with pepper to serve.

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