The abundance of fresh produce up here in Michigan is amazing. I’m really not sure if it was like this in Houston…I’m pretty confident it wasn’t or else I was really missing out!
It seems like everywhere I look there are stands with fresh corn, tomatoes, blueberries, zucchini…you name it! And, I love it!
Last week when Jeff and I were in East Lansing, we went to our friends house who has a HUGE garden. I’m talking bigger than most people’s living rooms. It was incredible. They ended up giving us a couple of huge zucchinis and tomatoes because…well, A. because they are nice, and B. because they can’t eat them fast enough!
One day I hope to have my own garden! It’s a bucket list thing…a bucket list thing I hope to start next summer when we get back to Michigan and continue forever. Nothin’ like fresh veggies!
Anyways, I wish I had taken a picture of these zucchinis…they were at least 5lbs each. I mean monsters! But, they just sat on the counter for a couple of days staring at us (more because I was so intimidated by them). Then it came to me, and I decided to make Zucchini Lasagna, substituting strips of zucchini in place of the noodles.
I found the perfect recipe here. Now, I was a little nervous about how this would go over with my new critics. I’m not going to lie, cooking for a new crowd is a bit intimidating. Especially when your old critics, well the main one, Dougie Fresh, would eat anything you put in front of him and would LOVE it! But, Gina’s recipe for a noodle-less lasagna went over with flying colors. Everyone in the Petry house loved it! Phewf! 😉
Source: Gina’s Skinny Recipes
*I adapted a few things
- 1 lb 93% lean beef (*I used ground chicken)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
- 15 oz fat free ricotta
- 16 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (Weight Watchers)
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 large egg
*I used tomato sauce from a jar (pick your favorite) instead of making my own. I omitted Garlic through fresh basil
Slice the zucchini long ways in thin slices. Place on a baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes on each side.
In a sauce pan, brown the meat (I added garlic salt and a little crushed red pepper). Once the meat is cooked, drain to remove excess fat. Pour meat back in pan and add your jar of tomato sauce. Mix together and turn heat off.
When zucchini is done broiling, take out and add salt. Set aside or 10 minutes. The zucchini has a lot of water when it is cooked, so adding the salt takes some of the water out. After about 10 minutes blot the excess water with paper towel.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan, and egg together really well.
Preheat oven to 375°.
In 9×12 casserole dish, spread some sauce on the bottom, then a layer of zucchini on top to cover. Then place some of the cheese mixture on top (smear around) and then top with mozzarella. Don’t be shy. Repeat this until all ingredients are used up. (I had 2 layers of zucchini). Then top with meat sauce and mozzarella and cover with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes covered, and then uncovered for 15 minutes.
*PS: There will be a lot of water/liquid bubbling on the sides…don’t worry! The zucchinis sweat when they are cooked. You can try to drain it off (I wouldn’t recommend), or just work around it! 🙂