Zucchini Crouton Casserole

Original Recipe HERE

This was called Baked Zucchini Parmesan by its creator, but I think of breadcrumb-dredged-and-fried-in-oil goodness when I hear "parmesan."  So I'm changing its name.

This was super easy to make, especially since all the prep can be done ahead of time.  Just assemble the dish when it's time to bake, and voila.  I added an extra zucchini layer to make it more vegetable-y to balance out the copious amount of croutons. I wasn't sure how mushy the zucchini would get, but it was cooked through while retaining some crispness.  Next time, I will coarsely chop (smash?) the croutons a bit for more even coverage.  *N* ate two helpings and told me that now she likes zucchini (a declaration that is only good until the next time the vegetable is served to her, then all bets are off).  *J* ate all the croutons and cheese, as expected, and refused the zucchini.  When I shot down his request for more croutons, telling him he had to eat the zucchini first, he picked at his dish until every grain of rice was gone.  But he was stubborn about the green stuff.

2 cups cooked rice [I used brown instant rice]
1 egg
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large or 3 medium zucchini
2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 to 3 cups croutons
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese [or your favorite blend]

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
(2) In a bowl, combine egg and spices. Mix thoroughly.  Add rice; mix again.
(3) Add olive oil to the bottom of a 9x13" pan; spread evenly.
(4) Spread rice mixture in bottom of pan.
(5) Peel zucchini.  Slice lengthwise in 1/4″ thick slices. Place a single layer of zucchini slices on the r6ce.
(6) Pour one cup of spaghetti sauce over zucchini; spread evenly.
(7) Sprinkle one cup of cheese over the spaghetti sauce.
(8) Repeat zucchini / sauce / cheese steps.
(9) Layer croutons over cheese.
(10) Sprinkle remaining cheese over croutons.
(11) Cover with foil; bake 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Kid Participation:
* Mix rice, spices, & egg
* Spread rice mixture
* Layer zucchini
* Sprinkle cheese
* Sprinkle croutons
* Smash croutons, if they are having a temper tantrum and need a constructive outlet for their emotions

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