Zucchini Bake.

My parents are avid gardeners, and I’m the lucky recipient of their bounty of fresh produce every year. It’s healthy, free and, most of all, flavorful!

When they came to our cupcake party this past weekend, my parents brought loads of zucchini, onions, beans, tomatoes, corn on the cob and peaches. I absolutely love getting the fresh garden produce, but at the same time I worry that if I don’t use it right away, I’ll end up throwing it out. That’s the last thing I want to do when (1) it only comes this fresh around North Dakota once a year and (2) my parents worked so hard to grow it.

So, when I found this recipe in my homemade bridal cookbook, I was ecstatic. Tonight I’m putting those garden veggies to good use with my grandma’s Zucchini Bake recipe. Here’s how it works:

Start with some sliced zucchini, about three cups worth. Add pepper.

Next, add 1/3 cup of uncooked rice. (Not minute, just regular white, not brown. You’ll notice from the photo that I used brown. Big mistake – they cook differently!) The water from the zucs cook the rice.

Next is onion. Chop up a medium-sized one and layer it on top.

Cover with eight cheese slices, like so:

Mmm, who doesn’t love a layer of cheese?

Top the cheese with some tomatoes. I used about four large tomatoes (minus snitching a slice or two–I just can’t resist fresh garden tomatoes!).

Finally, because this is so healthy, it’s time to add a bit of pizzazz. The final layer: bacon!

The best part of this whole dish is that it only involves chopping and layering. Everything goes in raw, so there are really no prep dishes besides a knife and cutting board. ‘Gotta love that, right?

Pop this zucchini bake in the oven for one hour at 375. That’s all there is to it!

Tonight we’re pairing it with some fresh corn on the cob and peaches and cream for dessert. Talk about a yummy way to eat your fruits and veggies!

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