Zucchini Houdini

That's what I was last night, a Zucchini Houdini. I only made two of the four zucchini disappear but I made some magic in the process. These dishes are so delicious and easy they are must for that extra garden zucchini you've been staring at on your counter for a couple of days now dreading another meal with the basic recipe you use it in. These two are sure to be crowd pleasers and are great for the cooler nights we've been having.

Zucchini Beef Pasta Bake
This makes a ton, so unless you have a large family you will have lots of left overs.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb cooked pasta of your choice, I used penne
cooking spray
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
2 small zucchini, finely sliced into rounds (or one large finely sliced and sliced into rounds then halfed again)
1/4 c parsley
1/4 c butter
3 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
1/2 c parmesan
2 cups mozzarella cheese (or cheddar in my case)

Preheat over to 350 degrees
Spray large and I mean large lasagna dish (14x10 or larger), set aside.

In a large frying pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil, add beef and brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While your browning the beef (and cooking the pasta as in my case), heat another medium pot on medium heat, melt the 1/4 c butter. Once melted, add flour to the pan and stir to make a paste.
Gradually whisk milk in adding salt and pepper to taste. Keep whisking until it begins to bubble and thicken up, then remove from heat. (over years of experience making a rue I find it easiest to add about 1/2c to 3/4 c milk at a time, allow to simmer and it will start to thicken up, once it starts thickening up add more milk and wait to thicken again, keep doing this until you've added all the milk.) Once removed from heat, stir in parmesan.

 Once beef is browned stir parsley, cooked pasta and raw zucchini through and pour into lasagna dish.

Pour white sauce evenly over pasta mixture, sprinkly with cheese. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

This next dessert reminds me of the Little Debbie spice cakes, I cannot seem to find any in the Northwest, but they sure are good. As soon as I tasted the batter, I was sooooo excited! Unfortunately this doesn't make as much as the pasta dish. So if you are making both for a big crowd, I would double this recipe.

Zucchini Spice Cake

2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 small zucchini shredded and drained
1/2 c chopped nuts ( I used walnuts)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8x8 pan.

Mix brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stir in zucchini and nuts.

Spread batter in pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool completely. Frost with Spice Frosting.

Spice Frosting

3/4 c powdered sugar
1 tbsp softened butter
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp milk

Mix all ingredients until smooth and spreadable.

Hope you all enjoy these recipes as much as my family did.

Partying @

Somewhat Simple


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