It's that time of year...you are in the garden one day and everything looks good. You go out the next day and trip over a green thing the size of your thigh hiding amongst the zucchini vines! They are amazing things those zucchini. In fact, I think there is probably a PhD thesis somewhere waiting to be written on the extraordinary growth abilities of these squash.
We've begun harvesting zucchini here on the Farm - 5 last week and at least 4 more ready tomorrow. And they'll just keep coming. Did you know August 8th is national "Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor's Front Porch Day?" I'm not making it up. You can google it yourself. Long about August 8th, we'll be ready to take part in the festivities. For now however, we've got all sorts of ways to use up our bountiful supply of zucchini.
So this week has been declared "Zucchini Week" here on the Little Farm. (Cue music here.) I'll be posting a zucchini recipe and maybe even some zucchini facts and fun all through the week. Hopefully, these posts come just in time for you, as your garden or CSA box are probably starting to overflow with your own zucchini.
Our first recipe is for Summer Garden Zucchini, Tomato and Cheese Casserole. It's a pretty long title and it doesn't sound all that great, but oh my! It's delicious and SO easy. The whole casserole thing is rather misleading, too...maybe I should rename it someday.
Summer Garden Zucchini, Tomato and Cheese Casserole
4 medium zucchini, sliced thin (I never know what is meant in recipes by medium zucchini...I usually think zuc's about the size of my forearm are medium but that's just me)
3 big tomatoes, sliced thin
a white onion, sliced thin
dried or fresh oregano and basil
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese, grated (The real wedge stuff is best, but you can use the cheese in the green bottle as well. I totally understand the food budget sacrifice thing.)
shredded mozarella cheese
chicken breast (cut into strips) or boneless chicken thighs (I usually use thighs.)
In large frying pan, saute oil with onion and zucchini until it's soft but not squishy.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add few dashes of dried oregano and basil. If you are using fresh, and this time of year you should be, I'd use about 2T of each.
Put zucchini mixture into a 9x13 baking dish with slices of tomato on top. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle with some mozarella cheese. You decide how cheesy you like it.
Take the pan you sauteed the zucchini in and saute the chicken until golden brown (flip it part way through). Place the chicken down in amongst the veggies in the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
This turns out VERY moist with lots of broth around the veggies and meat. You can serve it many ways - as a soup, over pasta, over rice or just as chicken and veggies (leave the juice in the pan). We usually eat it over pasta or as a soup. If you go the soup route, please, I beg you, please have some good bread to eat with it. Using the bread to soak up some of the juice as you eat is just amazing. One of the great tastes of summer.
Need an easy and good bread recipe? Check out this one...