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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zucchini-Tomato Casserole


zucchinitomato
zucchini and tomatoes

My children loved this casserole. If you have an abundance of zucchini or want another way to serve it, try this recipe.  I posted it last year along with the story of my children's reactions to it...all positive! 

"Zucchini Casserole, please," from my children.


Are you a frugal cook? Do you have too many zucchinis? This casserole is just for you?

This thrifty recipe will help solve the problem of what to do with the abundance of zucchinis this time of year. Frozen or stale bread can be put to good use. I freeze chopped onions, so that is one chore that can be done ahead of time. Really fresh tomatoes or sad slices in the refrigerator can be put to good use. No one will know that tomato's consistency was not to your liking. The casserole is a one-dish meal or just one of the dishes you serve, depending on your preference. I have made this ahead of time and put it in the oven just before dinner. Or, if you have a timer on your oven to start meals when you are away, make this, put it in the oven, and set the timer. Dinner will be ready when you arrive.

I have no measurements for any ingredient. Use your own judgment. You cannot be wrong. If you prefer more or less bread bits, just make it to suit yourself. Use any kind of cheddar cheese or switch to a cheese you prefer. Slice the tomatoes thick or thin, depending on taste or what you have on hand. Own the recipe!
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Zucchini-Tomato Casserole ***300 degrees, 1 hour

Peel and slice zucchini--thinly or thickly, if you prefer. (a little less than 1/4" is my preference)

Salt both sides; let it sit 30 min; rinse and drain (I quit doing this. I salt, let sit for 2 min and then rinse and drain.)

Layer in casserole:
*zucchini--salt and pepper lightly (I use no pepper)
*diced onions (I use yellow or Vidalia) (not in original recipe...just use a tiny bit)
*sliced tomatoes
*buttered bread chunks/bits--about 1/2" size (I break up the bread, pour melted butter over it, toss/stir)
*cheese (best with the presliced squares in pack) (original recipe, but any cheese you like is fine)
Repeat, leaving off cheese.
Bake (cover it)
Put cheese on top of casserole for the last 10 min; bake uncovered
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I made this as part of a meal, having a meat and another vegetable. My three children (10, 8, and 3 when I first made this) ate the casserole, getting seconds and thirds until it was gone. They did not want to eat the rest of their dinner, sitting, and wishing aloud there were more casserole.

Finally, one day I made three huge casseroles and nothing else. On the way home from school in the car, they always asked what was for dinner. This day, I told them, "Zucchini Casserole."

They asked, "What else?" I told them we just had zucchini casserole.

There was silence and shocked faces in the back seat. (I was looking in rear view mirror and turned to see one child.) They were stunned and silent all the way home, supposing dinner was going to be slim. When they saw three casseroles, they did rejoice, smiling at my deceit. Those were three happy children that night. They ate all three casseroles! We repeated that experience often at their request.

This casserole actually is a meal--two vegetables, bread, fat, dairy (more fat), protein. Do onions count as another vegetable? Oh, they never picked onions from this casserole!

When my children were able to eat at the table and feed themselves, they drank unsweetened tea. Otherwise, they filled up on milk and asked for more because they loved milk. Then, they were too full to eat the meal. Milk was for breakfast, snacks between meals, and after dinner. So, for a snack after this casserole, they drank milk and ate banana and maybe one cookie. They were active and always hungry--slim, too.

There was no sugar or artificial sweetener in the tea or in our home. We all just loved the taste of plain tea.

Mine were the only children in town who begged for zucchini. Other mothers were astonished. Frankly, I was too. My children sang the praises of zucchini while their skeptical friends made faces.

This is so juicy. And, it is even better the next day if you have any left. We rarely did.

If you try this, let me know how it turned out and if your kids approved. (If they hate zucchini, don't mention zucchini. It is just a tomato casserole.) Do you like it?

Your turn
Do you like it?

3 comments:

  1. LOVE zucchini and am absolutely thrilled to be getting some from our garden now. we've already lost one plant to insects...sure hope we don't lose more!! When such things happen, it makes me wonder how folks ever did it when they had to rely solely on their own gardens/farms for enough food to get through the year.

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  2. I love zucchini and just got my first harvest from mine. I am going to try this out when I have enough to make alot. Thanks for sharing it with us:)

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  3. LindaM, three largish zucchini made 10 servings. I ate two servings, friend ate one and took another home. If you take large servings, figure this will feed 4-6 people or two people for dinner and leftovers for lunch.

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