Tomato Zucchini Casserole - The Most Welcoming Side Ever!

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Almost 20 years ago, when I was 13, I made a decision never to talk to my father again.  I will admit it was partially because I was a new teenager and he was strict but mostly it was because of the lies my alcoholic and bipolar mother told me about him.

The option to choose not to speak to one parent was one of the few "benefits" of being from a divorced family.  If we had all been living together at some point I would have had to turn to my father at the dinner table and asked him to pass the potatoes.  Right there the silence would have been broken.

Instead, three years went by without me speaking to him.  I engrained the lies I had been told as truths and truly believed my life was better without my father. 

Until my step-mother became pregnant.  I said some mean and arrogant things to her and questioned why she would have children with "that" man, but she was strong and understanding and assured me my father was a good man.

I couldn't believe.

A few months later my baby brother was born.  I NEEDED to know him and be a part of his life.  What started with one short visit turned into longer visits and soon it was Christmas.  It would be the first Christmas I had spent in my father's house in years. But over the last few months the "truths" I thought I knew became less convincing.  Where once I saw a thoughtless angry man I now could clearly see a father holding his infant son with undying love who would wipe tears away every time I walked through his door - grateful to see me.

The truth now was that I was uncomfortable every time I came over.  Not because of anything anyone else was doing but because I was feeling guilty.  Guilty for the years of hurt I had caused and the many nasty things I had said.

But the feelings of unease ceased the second we sat down at the Christmas dinner table.  My wonderful step-mother Sheila brought out Tomato Zucchini Casserole and placed it right in front of me.  She told me that my grandmother had let her know this was one of my favourite Christmas dinner sides.

It was and it still is.  With that one kind gesture I knew the years of hurt were forgiven and forgotten.  That I was to come and go and sit and eat as if none of it had ever happened.  I had learned the hard way that lies and anger and resentment only hurt me and those that I love.

So here it is - Tomato Zucchini Casserole.  The most forgiving, love-filled and welcoming side dish that will ever grace your dinner table.

TOMATO ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. each dried oregano and basil

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

3 medium zucchini

2 large tomatoes

1/4 cup butter

2 tbsp. finely chopped onion

1/2 cup bread crumbs

In a bowl combine cheddar, parmesan, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.

Thinly slice zucchini and tomatoes.

Butter 8" square pan.

Layer zucchini, cheese, tomatoes, cheese, zucchini, cheese, tomatoes, cheese, zucchini, cheese, tomatoes... until you've used all your vegetables.

In small skillet, melt butter and sauté onions until translucent.

Add bread crumbs and stir until butter is absorbed.

Spread on top of casserole, cover loosely and bake at 375F for 30 minutes. 

Uncover and bake 20-25 minutes or until top is browned and veggies are tender.

***NOTE: I easily double this recipe and bake in a 9x13 pan using the same baking time***

 

Maija's Mommy Moments

www.maijasmommymoments.com

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