Thursday, February 9, 2012



This is an adaptation of a recipe from one of our no-fail cookbooks, Home-Tested Recipe Collection. This book seems hard to find online, which is too bad for you, because almost every one of its recipes we've tried so far has been delicious as well as fairly inexpensive and easy to make. This particular recipe was an amazing surprise.  I thought, zucchini, taco flavors, really?  But, we tried it, and wow!  It's tough not to go back for seconds thirds.

Zucornchile is a good recipe for the summer when we have zucchini fresh out of the garden, but being a casserole, it's also a great one for winter, making use of those summer flavors we've stowed in the freezer.  Also because it's a casserole, it's easy to play with the amounts of the ingredients and double the recipe or simply make it cheesier or saucier—or beanier or zucchinier—as you like.

Here's the recipe, followed by a few notes on convenient variations/substitutions.

2 cups of canned tomato puree
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste*
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder*
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
A couple dozen tortilla chips
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini*
1 1/2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup corn kernels (canned, frozen or fresh)
1 can of black beans

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.

In a medium sauce pan, combine tomato sauce, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, salt, garlic, and red pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes.

In the baking dish, make a layer of chips, then zucchini, corn, beans, and finally cheese.  Repeat with one or two more layers, depending on how quickly you use up your ingredients. Pour the tomato sauce all over the top. Bake 30 minutes.

Serve hot.  It's good topped with sour cream and green onions, too.

Sometimes I omit the tomato paste just for convenience.  It does deepen the flavor of the sauce, but it's not essential.

Often we use fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder.  Just triple the measurement.

You may want to steam your zucchini slices first, unless they really are very thinly sliced. A couple of minutes in the microwave should do it.  When I made this casserole this week, I used grated zucchini we had in our freezer.  Turns out frozen zucchini is mostly ice, so, let that stuff thaw and drain quite a bit before you throw it in the casserole.

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