Summer Casserole - A Vegetable Symphony

DSC_1887 I don't know about you guys, but my journey with food and cooking has been a complicated one. Growing up my family didn't really cook anything flavorful AT ALL, spices didn't exist outside of salt and pepper. Essentially every meal was meat, vegetable, starch, repeat. Because of this, when I moved out on my own, my mind was truly blown with all of the different types of foods one could make. I mean, I'm pretty sure I didn't consciously know the taste of basil, rosemary, or cilantro until I was 18. Because of this, I've really tried to be aware of pushing myself to new boundaries with food. Sometimes the push is good; sometimes it's disastrous. But it always, always makes me a better cook. One such push was to learn to get away from the meal format I had known my whole life. To be able to make meals that aren't just a meat, starch, and measly side vegetable. That's not to say I don't fall into that format sometimes, but more often than not, I try to shake it up. In this, my goal is to always make meals that are full of color and flavor. This summer casserole is a perfect example of what I love to serve. I normally serve  this with a side of bread, but I think it'd be perfect with a side of quinoa. People don't cook casseroles in the summer as much because the typical casseroles we think of are heavy dishes, but not this one. This one is fresh, light, and the a wonderful accompaniment to a summer evening on the back patio. DSC_1820 Summer Vegetable Casserole Ingredients 1 zucchini 1 squash 1 tomato Cherry tomatoes 1 red onion 1 clove of garlic 2 cups of croutons a packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil Salt Pepper Directions You are first of all going to create a nice base for your casserole using croutons.  Pour one of your tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the casserole pan, then chop up one of the garlic bulbs and spread it throughout the pan. After you are done with this, you will create the rest of the base. Place your two cups of croutons into a ziplock bag, and then use a spoon to crush them up further. Once they are crushed enough, you will lay out the crumbs to cover the bottom of the pan. This croutons add a nice texture to the vegetables. DSC_1832 DSC_1825 DSC_1841 Now it's time to wash all of your beautiful vegetables and get ready to chop them up. I chopped the zucchini and squash first to make the next layer above the croutons. Then chop up the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and onions and layer those on top of the zucchini and squash. DSC_1845 DSC_1858 Next step is to add some extra flavor to your vegetables. Use the remaining tablespoon of oil and another bulb of chopped garlic. Then you will sprinkle on about half of the package of the good seasons zesty Italian mix. DSC_1874 Bake the casserole for 20 minutes. When you have five minutes remaining, top with parmesan cheese then finish cooking. DSC_1888 DSC_1883 Summer casserole is complete! I served this as my main dish with a side of quinoa, and it was wonderful. This dish also works well cold, so it's great the next day. DSC_1907 Happy Eats My Sweets, melinda-sig

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