• Coat a 51/2- or 6-quart slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter uncooked rice over bottom. In a medium-size bowl, toss zucchini with 1/8 tsp each of the salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of the bread crumbs. Layer half the zucchini over rice.

  • In a second medium bowl, toss sliced fennel with remaining 1/8 tsp each of the salt and pepper and remaining 2 tbsp bread crumbs. Layer half over zucchini.

  • Remove half the sausage links from their casings and crumble over fennel layer. In a small bowl, toss cheese with cornstarch and scatter half over sausage layer.

  • Repeat layering with remaining zucchini, fennel, sausage and cheese. Whisk together chicken broth and mustard and pour into slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 51/2 hours or LOW for 71/2 to 8 hours. (Keep an eye on slow cooker for last 1/2 hour; if edges of gratin begin to get overly brown, stop cooking.)

For easy cleanup:

Line your slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner. Add ingredients as directed in recipe. Once your dish is finished cooking, spoon the food out of your slow cooker and simply dispose of the liner. Do not lift or transport the disposable liner with food inside.

Nutrition Facts

543 calories; 22 g total fat; 111 mg cholesterol; 1057 mg sodium. 54 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein;