08 August 2012

This morning I learned that today is National Zucchini Day.  And, as it turns out, I have made three new zucchini dishes in the last day and a half!  Not intentionally, but I love zucchini and the ones at the store were looking really good the last time I was there, so I stocked up.  I know a lot of people are looking for zucchini recipes this time of year because their gardens are full of it.  We didn't plant zucchini, so store-bought has to do for us.

Well, I couldn't decide which of the three zucchini recipes to share with you today.  So I decided to put it to a vote!  I posted pictures of all three dishes on my Facebook page and let my fans tell me which recipe they would like the most.  A couple of people voted for the burger recipe, but the one-pot skillet was by far the winner.  So here you go!  This is an adaptation of a recipe I read in Everyday Food yesterday during lunch.  Yes, it was lunchtime and I still wasn't sure what were having for dinner.  Jim brought in the mail and in it was my magazine.  I started looking through it as I was eating and came upon this recipe, Summer Beef-and-Rice Casserole.  I had to change it a little bit because it was part of a week-long menu and called for ingredients leftover from another meal.  So I adapted it to work as a standalone dish.  It turned out great!

One Pot Summer Squash, Beef, and Rice Skillet

1 cup fresh soft breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
24 oz. jar marinara sauce
1 cup water
1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 475°.  Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and olive oil in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Brown ground beef in a large (12”) skillet with an oven-safe handle.  Drain well and return to skillet.  Stir in the marinara sauce and water and bring to a rapid simmer over high heat.  Stir in rice.  

Carefully arrange zucchini and yellow squash slices over the top, slightly overlapping each other.  Season well with salt.  Top with breadcrumb mixture.

Cover skillet with foil and bake in preheated oven 12 minutes.  Remove foil and return to oven for another 10 minutes, or until top is golden brown and rice is cooked.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings.

I know that the title is a bit of a mouthful, but it has to tell you what all is going on this thing!  It's a casserole chock full of ground beef and rice in your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu's Sauteed Onion and Garlic), then topped with super thin slices of yellow squash and zucchini and crunchy Parmesan breadcrumbs.  The greatest thing about this is that it's a one pot meal.  Everything cooks in the skillet, even the rice!  I LOVE that.  Besides the skillet, the only other things I dirtied up making this was my mandoline, and the small bowl I mixed up the breadcrumb topping in.  That's awesome!

I doubled the rice from Martha's recipe because half a cup didn't seem like very much, even raw.  I thought the end result was a tad heavy on rice, but my husband said, "Don't change a thing! It was perfect!"  Okay, okay!  This was a HUGE hit with my family.  Lena, my four-year-old, asked for seconds, my husband wanted to go back for thirds, but knew that he shouldn't, and Eva, my two-year-old, ate two servings, then finished off the rest of Lena's second serving that she didn't finish.  And still asked for more!  (I had to remove the topping from hers because of her dairy allergy, but she didn't seem to mind!)  I think it would be really good with ground sausage too, so I'll probably try it that way next time.

Look at her shoveling it in with both hands!

My favorite part was the zucchini topping.  Mmm, so good!  I love zucchini and yellow squash just by themselves, but then to add crispy Parmesan breadcrumbs on top?  Oh my!

This was such a huge hit and so easy to make that I will definitely be making it again many times in the future.

Happy Zucchini Day!

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  1. I love zucchini too!  And one pot meals are always a winner in our house - especially during the weeknights!  Looks great Lesa =)

  2. This looks really good!  I have one lone zucchini in my refrigerator - I may have to try this.

  3. Oh Lesa, this looks divine!  Thanks for sharing.

  4. This looks so good! I have a whole shelf of zucchini to use and I'm sure my family would love it as well!

  5. Looks and sounds amazing. I am definitely giving this one a try. Thanks!