Photo quality courtesy of my smart phone.
Even though it’s the middle of winter and many of you are in the midst of a blizzard, I’ve been craving Zucchini bread. Yes, Zucchini Banana bread  to be exact. You are pondering, “Isn’t that the stuff we only make during the blazing hot months of July when we can’t get rid of it?”
Well, the old adage, “We want what we can’t have,” is alive and well.
I still have a few bags of shredded zucchini left in my freezer, but I actually just bought some at the store (gasp). Do you know how painful that was? I will definitely know to freeze more next summer.
Last week I shared about my big push to lose the extra pounds  I have put on over the last few years, and shared about our plant based beach weekend, mixed in with a few good Chili Cheese Fries. 😉 (Thanks to many of you for sharing in the comments. We’re on this journey together.)
My friend, Karen, served this delicious Veggie Egg breakfast casserole during our beach weekend away. It’s very similar to one that I make, yet I’ve never dared omit all the meat, and focus solely on veggies, namely zucchini. She did, and the result was an incredibly delicious vegetable breakfast casserole that everyone devoured.
What I enjoy about egg casseroles is that they are so forgiving. If your desire is to focus on adding in your favorite vegetables, use the basic recipe, but throw in the veggie produce that is on sale, or pin this when your garden bursts and you need ideas. You’ll see that I put in a lot of optional preferences. Honestly, even the spices can be mixed and matched. If you are omitting dairy, you do not need the small amount of milk (it’s just to make sure there’s enough moisture to cover the bread), just substitute water and use a cheese alternative.
It’s been fun for me to narrow down recipes that really work with the varying cycles of my The 17 Day Diet. 
Since it uses bread, it obviously will be used during days 18+ when carbs are slowly introduced back into the meal plan, but there are so many breads on the market for different food leanings (gluten free, spelt, rice etc), that it’s a great large group gathering recipe.
One bite into this Veggie Egg Casserole and you’ll realize this healthy living isn’t nearly as bad as you once thought.
Do you have any amazing vegetable based recipes that you’d like to tell me about.
I’d love to add to my repertoire.
Recipe: Veggie Egg Bake
Summary: As we make better food choices, this Veggie Egg Bake is a perfect vegetarian choice. Packed with flavor, the meat isn’t even missed.
- 6-8 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese (Cottage Cheese is the low fat, lower priced option and is a great replacement for all ricotta recipes.)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon hot chili sauce, Tabasco or even Texas Pete for a big kick. (Chili powder can be substituted, as well.)
- 2 teaspoons salt ( I use seasoning salt or garlic salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional preference)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (optional preference)
- 3 cups grated zucchini (from 2-3 fresh zucchinis)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped (My preference, I use a whole onion)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil (from about 20 leaves. Roll and chop)
- 4 cups cubed day-old bread (from about 4 slices)
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Add the ricotta (or cottage cheese) and beat until smooth.
- Mix in the grated Parmesan cheese, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
- Prepare the vegetables and bread. Once you chop the tomatoes, squeeze excess moisture out of them by pressing them or blotting them in paper towel. Add the tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic, and zucchini to the egg mixture.
- Mix the bread cubes into the egg mixture.
- Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish oil.
- Pour the egg veggie mixture into the baking pan and even it out in the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- The casserole should puff up and brown lightly. If it hasn’t after 30 minutes at 350, increase the heat to 425° and cook for 5-10 minutes further.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
I can’t wait to see what you are cooking up for Tasty Tuesday.
I hope it’s a lot of wonderful comfort food that’s keeping these cold days a bit cozier.