italian zucchini casserole

An Italian Zucchini Casserole Recipe

The Best Of Days

One of the happiest of days growing up was “birthday day.”

We were lucky in that I can’t remember a single birthday when the Kiker boys of three were given a store-made birthday cake. Not that there’s anything wrong with store bought cakes … I just love the fact that Mom always made us our own “wish cakes.”

A wish cake was truly something just for us. A chocolate cake with trains. A circus-inspired cake. Or an Angel Food cake topped with chocolate frosting and sliced almonds, if you’re my brother Roger.

So when my birthday rolled around this year, I didn’t make cake. I just let my fingers find our next recipe in Mom’s cookbook. That’s all it took ~ this Italian Zucchini Casserole recipe.

If you love bacon, you’ll find its flavor woven throughout this dish … and that makes this a recipe worth celebrating!

foodie tips ~

  If you’re serving this as a side it’ll yield 10-12 servings. But if you eat like me, it will yield 6 servings.
  We used ciabatta bread vs. sliced bread. It was great!

i. ingredients

7-8 medium | zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
8 slices | bacon
1 large | white onion, chopped
1 large | garlic clove, crushed
4 slices | bread, torn
2 cups | cheddar cheese, shredded/grated
15 ounce can | tomato sauce
1 teaspoon | italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon | freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup | freshly grated parmesan cheese

ii. what to do

1. Cook zucchini in a small amount of boiling water for about 5-8 minutes; drain well and set aside.

2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and let the strips rest on paper towels. Reserve the bacon drippings in the skillet. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

3. Sauté onion and garlic in the drippings until tender; drain.

4. Combine onion mixture, zucchini, bacon and remaining ingredients EXCEPT the parm cheese; mix well.

5. Pour into a lightly-greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish.

6. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until your eyes say “it’s done.”

Yields: 10-12 Servings (side dish) or 6 Servings (main course)

A scan of Mom's Italian Zucchini Casserole recipe from 1985.

dad’s pb + banana sammy

dad's pb and banana sammyOne of my earliest childhood memories was of my dad showing me how to transform a mere banana into an edible wonder… from skins to grins!

This recipe is super easy to make and something you can share with your kids to teach them the simple art of food making.

The best part? It’s a foodie favorite for any time of the day (or night)!

i. ingredients

1 | banana
2 heaping fork fulls | peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)
a drizzling | local honey
2 slices | whole wheat bread, toasted

ii. what to do

1. Peel the banana, cut off the ends and place it on a plate or in a shallow bowl.

2. Add 2 heaping fork fulls of peanut butter and top with a 4-6 second drizzle of your favorite local honey.

3. Smash all ingredients together with a fork and set aside.

4. Toast the wheat bread; when done top one piece of the bread with the pb-banana mixture, add the last piece of toast on top and cut on the diagonal.

Yields 1 heaping sandwich – or 2 more reasonably-sized sammies, if you add 2 more pieces of bread.

Foodie Tip ~

  Try toasting the bread last; eating the sammy warm makes it extra special.

Go bananas!

lela’s egg in a nest

ready to eat ~ egg in a nestLiving at 3006 Northridge ~ just 2 doors around the corner from us ~ was the Swinny family… a delightful bunch of folks! We Kikers spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally, “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

Mom’s dearest friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim (they had an awesome pool) and how to cook this memorable breakfast treat called “egg in a nest” (bird in a nest or bird in a hole, etc.).

There was no recipe card in mom’s cookbook because when you’ve made this once, you’ll remember it for life.

Foodie Tips ~

  The ingredients below are for a single serving. You can multiply the ingredients for as many servings as you like!

  You can also butter the bread before cooking vs. melting the butter in the pan.

making a hole in the bread for "egg in a nest"i. ingredients

1 piece | sliced bread (white or wheat)
1 | pat of unsalted butter (use Falfurrias brand butter per my “Nanny”)
1 | egg
to taste | pepper

ii. what to do

1. Take a glass (or jar or cookie cutter) with a 2″ wide opening and punch a hole in the slice of bread by pressing the glass against the bread and twisting it in a circle. Save the “bread hole” for later!

2. On a griddle or skillet over medium heat, melt a pat of butter. Place the bread (the nest) on the melted butter, crack an egg and pour it in the “nest hole.” Lightly pepper. Don’t scramble the egg, just let it cook in the nest, leaving the inside “runny.” You can also fry-up the nest hole alongside the nest.making egg in a nest on my griddle

3. While cooking, flip the nest at least once to cook the other side. You can melt another pat of butter, if desired.

You’re done! My favorite part of eating this dish is when you cut into the egg and the tasty yolk coats the toast. De-licious!

Cheers to you, my friend!

Lela and Patrick. I think it was 1974.