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Cool casserole during hot weather

Casserole dish with baked casserole
Zippy Zappy Zucchini can be made in the oven, above, or in the microwave.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Recipe: Zippy Zappy Zucchini can be made in microwave

Zucchini and 3 eggs
Eggs and zucchini work well together.

Zucchini, the butt of countless squash jokes, microwaves well. That's an important attribute when it's too hot to turn on the gas. Steamed in the microwave, zucchini retains its shape and a little of its crunch.
(Boiled, it becomes super-soft "squish.")

I started making this recipe when I got my first microwave -- circa 1978. The original came in a cookbook with that durable Hotpoint, which lasted more than 20 years.

Tweaked through the decades, Zippy Zappy Zucchini outlived the appliance, and sometimes gets made in the gas oven, too. Baked in a conventional oven, this eggy side dish or breakfast casserole develops a golden brown "crust" and top. Zapped in the microwave, the eggs and squash retain their original light yellow and green color.

Either way, it's simple and delicious. And unlike many squash jokes, this dish with a funny name always makes me smile.

Zippy Zappy Zucchini
Makes 4 side-dish servings


3 cups zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or similar hot sauce
1/4 cup peppers, seeded and chopped
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Butter for baking dish

Slice of casserole
Baked in the oven, the casserole develops a golden brown top.


In a large microwave-safe bowl, put zucchini, onion and water. Cover with plastic wrap, vent on one side. Microwave on HIGH for 7 minutes. Drain.

Beat eggs together with hot sauce. Add chopped peppers to zucchini and onions. Then add veggies to egg mixture. Fold in shredded cheese.

Butter an 8-inch round baking dish. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Cover loosely with a paper towel. Microwave on MEDIUM HIGH for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Conventional oven method: Steam zucchini and onion together on top of the stove until fork tender. Combine ingredients as directed. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake casserole uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a thin-bladed knife inserted near the center comes out clean.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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