Easy Zucchini Bake

For the longest time, vegetables meant: broccoli, green beans, peas, lettuce and the frozen mixed bag kind.  My veggie vocabulary was not experimental or grande growing up – not for lack of trying on my mother’s part. I was sure I did not like spinach. I was sure I hated tomatoes with a ripe passion. I’d pick the carrots out of anything my mom put them in. Okay, I still do that but that is because carrots are the crunchy, vibrant spawn of the veggie devil. In other words, my tastes have grown into loving vegetables since then. All kinds. All colours. I am not a vegetable racist. There are still a few vegetables I haven’t tried that I wish to. You know, due to my MOST assuredness that I hated them while growing up. I guess that sticks with you.

As proof, the first time my husband and I went grocery shopping together I asked him if he wanted a mango. He told me no, because he hated mangos. My eyes grew wide in shock and disappointment. “HOW CAN YOU HATE MANGOS?!” I shrilled at him in the middle of the grocery store. Seriously, who hates mangos? He’s lucky I didn’t question our whole relationship based off that! Later that night while I was sitting on the couch, noming my freshly sliced mango, he walked by and asked what I was eating. I guess hating mangos so long he forgot what the inside of one looked like. I shrugged and played coy and told him if he wanted to know he had to try a bite. His eyes went squinty and suspicious, yet I guess he trusted that I wouldn’t let him eat something disgusting as he took a bite. The suspiciousness disappeared and was replaced by a boyish joy. I guess this means he no longer hates mangos. He said he had convinced himself growing up that he had hated them and that just kind of stuck into adulthood. Suffice to say, now we enjoy mangos together and I know I married a man with proper taste.

I don’t know why it took me so long to try zucchini. It was only a few years ago I placed the buttery, soft, warm slice up to my lips. I don’t know why I go so long without buying it either. Yet, tis the season! The grocery stores have been abundant with them all summer from local farmers. They are becoming fewer and far between though, so I figured I’d pick a couple up. I was going to make vegetable tian with them, but my yellow squash went bad before I could. That will have to wait for a different blog post.  Do you like my super amazing basil plant? I painted a Plants VS Zombies motif on the planter. SPUDOWS! were my favourite cheap weapon to kill the first wave of zombies while I banked up on sunshine.

For this SUPER EASY zucchini bake you will need:

-1 full zucchini
-4 cloves of garlic
-a few leaves of fresh basil
-a sprinkle of reduced fat cheddar cheese (not the faux fat free kind, the kind made with skim milk)
-a sprinkle of sea salt

I’m just going to throw it out there, the Slap Chop sucks. I don’t care how enthusiastic Vince is, it doesn’t change the fact that his product is a sham (See what I did there? Bonus points if you did). Sure, it chops, but it took a long while to get all my basil chopped instead of pummeled. I had to keep stopping and readjusting the stupid thing. The worst part is the fact that most of the product became stuck up in the blades. Notice the “guard” not doing a thing as my tiny bits of garlic and basil get sucked up there? I’d have used a knife to chop up the stuff but we really don’t have any sharp or good quality ones around this place. One day we will, but for now I will make do!

Chop the zucchini as even as you can (which is not very even in my case…oops), use a vegetable mandolin if you have one. Then place them around a baking dish lined with a bit of cooking spray. You can place them in any type of bakeware and make them look as fancy as you want. I decided to use a circular pie dish and overlap them. Then sprinkle the fresh garlic and basil mixture on top of the zucchini. Cover it with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes on 350degrees. Take it out and sprinkle the cheese on top, then bake for another few minutes until the cheese melts.

I used the zucchini bake as a side dish for some whole grain brown rice/broccoli with a honey glazed bbq boneless/skinless chicken breast. Dinner. Is. Served. I gave it to my husband and he looked up at me and said “but I hate zucchini”. I told him to suck it up and eat it because it’s good for him. He shrugged and took a bite. His face did not light up with the same boyish joy as the mango incident.

I guess he still hates zucchini.

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