Monday, September 9, 2013

Sponsored post: four-cheese zucchini strata with Country Crock

Last week was a big week for a lot of families with kids going back to school. Juliet is obviously too young for school but we do have a summer and school year change in routine. Juliet's main daycare provider isn't open in the summer so we start a new year, so to speak, with her daycare when she opens again in September.

Evenings are always busy for us, regardless of summer versus school year for our family. Erik and I are both working parents, with very busy and demanding full-time jobs. I barely walk in the door before 6pm and having a home-cooked meal is a top priority for me. That doesn't mean I cook a meal every night. Our strategy is making 2-3 big meals a week and eating leftovers many evenings. We don't mind, we love leftovers. Leftovers mean dinner is on the table in about 5 minutes.
Prepping the casserole with pretty zucchini, summer squash and homemade focaccia bread

Luckily, this four-cheese zucchini strata casserole made a delicious meal that gave us a few nights worth of leftovers (as well as a couple lunches at work for me). Another nice thing about this recipe is that it's prepared the day before because it needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours). So I prepped this dish last Sunday evening and had Erik put it in the oven on Monday. By the time I walked in the door from work, dinner was ready. Prepping meals in advance is a great tip for saving time during your busy weekdays.
I love my mandolin big time

Shall we talk about casseroles for a moment? I'll admit, they don't always make for the most pretty meals, but they are hearty, comforting and usually pretty easy to whip up. Casseroles are the type of dishes that are designed for the fall. I think I have a soft spot for all types of casseroles because I'm a Minnesota gal (we also like to call them hot dish) and Erik is a North Dakota boy where casseroles are a staple.

And while casseroles are not the epitome of healthy at all, this four-cheese zucchini strata isn't all that bad for you. I made homemade focaccia bread (I admit, this was pretty ambitious and would NEVER happen on a weeknight) and the other ingredients are cheese, eggs, milk and zucchini. It's a perfect dish for this time of year to use up all that beautiful zucchini growing in your garden or at your local farmers' market. It's meatless which also keeps it on the lighter side (Meatless Mondays anyone??). I also used Country Crock spread to saute the zucchini which has 0g trans fat per serving and doesn't contain any cholesterol or partially hydrogenated oils.  Getting ready to dig in

Four-cheese zucchini strata (recipe adapted Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients

4 medium zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 5 cups)
2 tablespoons Country Crock 
8 cups garlic-flavor Italian flatbread (focaccia) cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup shredded provolone cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
7 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Snipped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

Lightly grease a 3-quart rectangular or oval baking dish; set aside. In an extra-large skillet cook squash with 2 tablespoons Country Crock over medium-high heat until light brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Place half of the bread pieces in the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the squash and half of each of the cheeses. Repeat layers.

In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour evenly over layers in baking dish. Using the back of a large spoon, gently press down on layers. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 170 degrees F. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional parsley if desired.

This dish was a hit with my family. Erik typically prefers his meals (especially dinner) to have meat included but he liked this dish and didn't say a word about it being meatless. Juliet was a bit fan of the focaccia and cheesiness of the dish, but I will admit she didn't eat much of the zucchini. 

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest and check out the latest board I added with casserole dishes and other "back to school" meal ideas.  Happy Monday!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

4 comments:

  1. Love, Love your blog and instragram ! Our little ones are similar in age and I get some really great ideas from you!! Thank you! :))

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    1. Thanks so much :) Are you on instagram? What is your profile name? I'll be sure to follow you back.

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  2. Oops..sorry. Yes, I'm on and above is my profile :)

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