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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zucchini--A Casserole the Kids Will Eat

zucchinitomato

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)
*sliced tomatoes (any kind)
*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  50 minutes (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.

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
Have you tried this since I posted it for the last two years? Do you like it?

12 comments:

  1. This sounds delicious! And very, very doable. I'll be making this this week as I'm getting a metric ton of zucchini!

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  2. Let me know how you like it. I only wish I had zucchini. I raised nothing this year because of my back and the thought I would have to move and leave it all.

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  3. I had this for my evening meal tonight and it was very tasty. This is one I will do again. Thanks Linda.

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  4. Eileen,
    I am glad you liked it. Thanks for sharing this with me. I feel so alone sometimes without comments...lol...oh, so needy.

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  5. I'm going to pick up tomatoes from the farmers market tomorrow and make this over the weekend. I was looking for a way to use the zucs my friend gave me from her garden. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Free,
      Let me know if you like it. What I like about this is that if I have few tomatoes, it still turns out great. Can't wait to hear how it turned out!

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  6. I bought 4 pounds of tomatoes at the farmers market tonight so I have plenty! They were $1 a pound so I got a bunch. I think the scale was off though because I ended up with about 15 huge tomatoes. I'll make it tomorrow. What kind of bread did you use?

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    Replies
    1. Free,
      I used loaf bread, old if I had it. I am sure any kind of bread would work...well, maybe not sourdough or rye. Just plain bread. Enjoy!

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  7. It's in the oven now and I'm drooling just thinking about it. I made a HUGE casserole and am home alone so I don't have to share...lol. I ended up using old hot dog buns from the freezer. I haven't tasted it yet but I know this is going to become a summer favorite. I've never been as excited about food before. I'm lame I know :P

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  8. Free,
    This makes delicous leftovers. Hot dog buns should work. I get all excited and lame when I bake this casserole. Let me know how you like it.

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  9. It was delish! I took the leftovers to my sister and wish I hadn't because now I want more. Good thing I have enough veggies to make another batch. The girls are home now so they will get to eat more than the 1 bite I gave them from my sisters tuper wear full.

    The hot dog buns worked great. They were whole wheat with sesame seeds so they had some substance to them. I'm not sure what bread is buried in the freezer now but with The Boy gone I'm finding that no one else really eats bread except for him. The butter on the bread added a great flavor to the whole dish.

    Thanks again for sharing this recipe. It's the first recipe I've found online that I've really loved! :)

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  10. Free,
    What a great testimony. I am so glad you liked it. I have very few "recipes" other than for baking. I usually just throw things together as I have them. But, the recipes I do have are all delish!

    You can clean all the bread from the freezer with this recipe. Like I said, more or less of any of the ingredients won't hurt the taste at all.

    By using whole wheat bread, you had a dish that certainly is good for you as well as good.

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