Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Alphabet Soup: Z is for Zucchini-Cheese Casserole

I have been trying to make cooked veggies or a veggie casserole every now and then, because as much as I love salads, these casseroles and veggie combos give me a healthy alternative for the times when I'm just not in a salad kind of mood. This week, I made zucchini-cheese casserole, one of my favorites, that I haven't had in some time. It also fits beautifully into the South Beach Diet for those who follow it.  This is not my recipe. I think this originally came from an old cookbook my Grandma, Mawmaw, had from the American Heart Association., but I'm not 100% sure of that. What I am sure of is that this is a satisfying, delicious veggie dish, and if you can use farm fresh zucchini, onion, and tomatoes, it will be even more flavorful.
Zucchini-Cheese Casserole, a great way to use farm fresh produce available
in abundance in the summertime. Photo from the kitchen of Shannon Recktenwald

Zucchini-Cheese Casserole

3 md.zucchini squash

1/2 c. chopped onion

fresh tomatoes-the amt you need will be different based on what kind of tomatoes you use and how big they are ( i.e you need to use less regular tomatoes and more romas b/c romas are smaller I like to use organic romas)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1#  LF cottage cheese

1 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/3 c. LF parmesan cheese

Slice zucchini thin.  Sautee zucchini and onion in olive oil till zucchini is softened and onion is opaque.  While you are doing this, whip cottage cheese and seasonings in a blender or food processor.  Spray a casserole dish with Pam and layer zucchini-onion mixture, then cottage cheese mixture, then thinly sliced tomatoes. Repeat 1 more time ending with the tomatoes. Top with parmesan cheese and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. It will be bubbly and top should be browned.

Makes 6 side servings or 3 main dish servings

Cook's notes:   LF means low fat.  If you use FF (fat free) cottage cheese instead of LF, use a slotted spoon to remove servings as it creates a lot of water/ juice along with the veggies at the bottom of the casserole.   Regular cottage cheese, which my mom uses didn't create that liquid at the bottom. Another way to keep the liquid sown is to drain the zucchini-onion mixture before layering it.

Also, I like cheese so I usually sprinkle some LF mozzarella cheese on top of my casserole as well.

As is, it is a delicious recipe that tastes very Lasagna-esque.  I eat this lot for lunch b/c it keeps for several days in the fridge and is a great way for me to get my veggies in.

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