I think I should rename the blog Smoothies, Muffins and Zucchini Recipes.
Well, to be honest. My friend Shirley from gfe-gluten-free easily is the one who suggested Smoothies and Muffins. But right now, I feel like I should add Zucchini in there, too. Because… Here’s another zucchini recipe. SURPRISE!
You weren’t really surprised, were you? I mean, if you read the title, kinda obvious.
And to be really honest, I have a couple more zucchini recipes coming. But I promise they will end in a couple of weeks. Well…because zucchini season is ending.
But, it’s not my fault. Really, it’s not. Blame my FIL. He’s the one who keeps growing the zucchinis and asking us if we want any. I can’t say, “no.” That would be rude. Family and all.
Also, blame the farmers. Those evil, evil farmers who keep growing the amazing looking zucchini and bringing it to the farmers’ market and selling it for next to nothing. Yeah! Blame those guys. Not me!
And with all of this fabulous looking zucchini filling up my kitchen, it just needs to be eaten. I keep hearing it, “Eat me. Eat me.” Like the pills in Alice in Wonderland.
Oh. Maybe I shouldn’t be eating the zucchini. Or feeding it to my kids. Yikes!
The rest of this post doesn’t seem that appropriate after that last thought. Hmmm…….
Oh, well. Continuing anyway.
So, I found this great way to get my kids to eat zucchini. They gobble it all up. And, it tastes pretty darn good for grown-ups, too.
First. The trick to getting kids to eat this Baked Italian Zucchini (or any zucchini, for that matter).
When I decided to try this recipe, I wanted to use quinoa. My husband and I love quinoa, but we are having a real hard time getting the kids to eat it. I wish I had a picture of the face they make when I try to feed them quinoa. Just close your eyes and imagine two very cute boys, ages 6 and 2, staring at the quinoa-whatever on their spoon. Barely touching it with their tongues. Then making the oh-that’s-icky face.
Yep. That’s my boys and quinoa.
This time, I thought I would try rice instead. They both love rice, so maybe that would work. And for some reason, I decided to grate the zucchini in my food processor instead of chopping it. The zucchini I had was pretty big, so the only way to get it to fit was to cut in half width-wise, then in quarters lengthwise.
I looked at the tiny pieces of zucchini and realized they looked suspiciously like rice. And, when I mixed them up with everything else, you couldn’t tell what was rice and what was zucchini.
Now, I’m not a liar, in general, but I will admit, I did lie by omission to the boys when it came to this dish. I never told them there was zucchini in it. Even the second time I made it. In fact, I was looking from the kitchen as they scarfed up their dinner. The Big Man asked me what was up, and I whispered that there was zucchini in it. Then I told him to keep his big mouth shut about it.
Well, I don’t really talk that way. I just said, “Shhhhhh” as I put my finger to my lips. And giggled.
So, if you have zucchini-phobe kiddos (or adults) or if you just like a great tasting dinner using up the last of this seasons zucchini, make this Baked Italian Zucchini. It is super easy and so, so yummy. I am going to be sad when zucchini season is over, and I have to wait until next year to make it again. Maybe I will try squash?
- 2 tbs Avocado Oil (or another high heat oil)
- 1 medium Onion (chopped)
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 tbs Oregano (divided)
- 2 1/2 cups Zucchini (shredded stated as above)
- 2 tsp Parsley
- 1 tsp Sage
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1 tbs Basil
- 2 cups Cooked Rice
- 1 cup Tomato Sauce
- 4 oz. Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
- Lightly grease 9 x 13 baking dish. (I just use coconut spray.)
- In a large skillet, heat oil on medium.
- Add onions and cook to translucent.
- Add ground beef, garlic and 1 tbs oregano. Cook until meat is browned.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add zucchini, parsley, sage, thyme, basil, rest of oregano, rice and tomato sauce. Mix.
- Layer half of mixture in bottom of baking dish.
- Layer half of the mozzarella.
- Layer rest of mixture. Then rest of mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until cheese is melted.
Dairy Free: Use favorite cheese substitute for the mozzarella.