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 layer of mozzarella, I added my last layer of zucchini slices by spreading them evenly into just over one full layer. The last third of the ricotta goes here, as evenly as possible. Again, a bit more salt and pepper!

Add your well mixed bread crumb topping to the top of your zucchini lasagna-like casserole, then top with parmesan cheese!

Your zucchini concoction meal is ready for the oven! Bake for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how much of the crunchy texture you want the zucchini to retain. Cool and Enjoy!

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Zucchini Lasagna-Like Casserole

Zucchini sliced thinly (3 small or 2 medium)

8 oz Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

16 oz tub Ricotta Cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup Bread Crumbs

2-3 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided

8-10 fresh sprigs Thyme

3-4 fresh sprigs Parsley

1/4 teaspoon Paprika

Salt and Pepper

  1. Assemble ingredients and cooking supplies. Shred Cheese, mandoline Zucchini into thin slices, chop parsley, de-stem thyme leaves,
  2. Set Oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine bread crumbs, paprika, thyme, and 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil (as needed) in a small cup/bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to baking dish followed by two even layers of zucchini slices. Salt and pepper
  5. Combine chopped parsley and full container of ricotta cheese until well mixed.
  6. Dollop 1/3 ricotta mixture evenly on zucchini followed by 1/2 mozzarella cheese.
  7. Repeat zucchini layer with salt and pepper, then repeat another 1/3 ricotta mixture and other 1/2 mozzarella cheese.
  8. Layer the last of the zucchini, dollop last 1/3 of ricotta mixture, and top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  9. Bake 30 – 45 minutes depending on how much ‘bite’ you prefer in your zucchini, cool slightly, and enjoy!

P.S.  In the spirit of a true concoction meal, I think the following ingredient alternatives would also make for a super yummy casserole!

  • Panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs
  • Crumbled Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs
  • Yellow squash instead of all (or some) Zucchini Squash
  • My husband also suggested crumbled bacon be added to the bread crumb topping because “Everything is better with bacon”

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