Happy Food is Homemade Food

Zucchini Lasagna-Like Casserole

Zucchini Lasagna-Like Casserole

I have been busy planting my back yard herb and vegetable gardens and I am not so patiently waiting for all of the plants to grow! One summer favorite veggie I am looking forward to are my zucchini plants–I have five in my garden right now! My mom always grew them in our garden when I was a child, but lets just say I have a much better appreciation for the green squash now!

This past week, I was rummaging in my fridge for something to make, with no real goal or specific inspiration. So naturally, having just taken stock of my fridge contents, this is when I pull my phone out and look for a new recipe online! I came across a baked zucchini recipe that looked good, sliced my entire singular zucchini, then realized that I had sliced them entirely too thin on my mandoline! Looking at the ultra thin pieces, the only other thing I thought it resembled was a noodle!

Knowing I had a tub of ricotta cheese in the  drawer and plenty of mozzarella cheese (always on hand for pizza Fridays!) I started what I like to call a “Concoction Meal.” This is a name I borrowed from a friend. I think everyone has had one of these at some point in their life. It seems like a skill all Mom’s seem to have–finding a way to make a meal out of ingredients that seemingly do not go together. This is a great skill to have and an excellent way to save $$$ while cutting down on food waste by finding creative and *hopefully* delicious ways to use those odds and ends!

IMG_5216Anyway, the recipe that inspired my concoction meal was fairly basic and called for sliced zucchini with a seasoned bread crumb topping to be baked at 350 degrees. When I added my few extras I was really able to transformed this starting idea into a really great concoction meal that I proudly want to share!

As always–begin by first preparing and organizing everything that you will need to cook with! It is much easier to have it all handy than to have a food covered hand touch all the cabinet pulls in your kitchen looking for the baking dish!

First, I started with combining the bread crumbs, paprika, and thyme (I used freshly harvested thyme from my herb garden) with olive oil. I stirred it until the oil and ingredients were equally distributed with the bread crumbs.

Once prepped, I started with a touch of olive oil in the bottom of my baking dish.  I used a 9×9 square dish. I then layered two rows of zucchini slices in nice even layers. Then I salted and peppered the Zucchini.

Next, I added dollops of my ricotta/ parsley mixture, about a third. I also added a layer of mozzarella cheese (half of the quantity), which naturally I forgot to take a picture of…

In the spirit of a true layered lasagna, I added another two even layers of zucchini slices! Again, salt and pepper the layer, then dollop another third of the ricotta/parsley mixture, and cover that with the other half of your mozzarella cheese.

On top of the last