Zucchini Pizza Pie

Since our summer months are usually inundated with zucchini, I try to prepare it in a wide variety of ways.  Most of my family agreed that this recipe is a keeper.  Once the crust in established, the rest of the dish is very flexible, so it’s a great option when trying to use what you already have on-hand.

4 c. grated zucchini
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
2 c. grated mozzarella or provolone
1 c. grated cheddar
1 lb. ground beef or pork sausage or chorizo, or whatever
1 onion, chopped
2 c. marinara sauce of your choice
1 c. bell pepper, chopped (or mushrooms, black olives, more zucchini, tomatoes, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400.

Put grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the salt.  Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Press into greased 3-qt. baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes.

In large saucepan, cook ground meat and onion over medium heat until done.  Add marinara sauce.

Spoon sauce/meat mixture over baked zucchini crust.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with veggies of your choice.  Bake another 20 or so minutes, or until heated through.

NOTE:  This casserole freezes really well.

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Tex-Mex Sloppy Joes

Need a new idea for a pound of ground beef?

This is a fun, easy twist on the standard sloppy joe.  You can even make a big batch and tuck some in the freezer for another night.

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. ketchup
1 4-oz. can chopped green chilies
1/2 c. beef broth, tomato juice or even water
1/4 c. chili sauce or salsa
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin powder
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)
salt & pepper to taste

Brown ground beef with onion until meat is cooked through.

Add remaining ingredients; allow to simmer 15 minutes or so.

Lasagna

Always welcome around my table.  And, if I’m going to make one, I might as well make two and tuck one into the freezer for later or to share with a friend.  Two meals for one round of dishes!

1 lb. ground beef or pork sausage
½ c. chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning mix
½ tsp. pepper
1 jar spaghetti sauce ( or 2 ½ c. sauce)
½  c. water
1 (16-oz.) container ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese
1 egg
¾ c. grated parmesan cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
1 c. sour cream
1 box lasagna noodles

Brown meat with onion, garlic powder, basil and pepper.  Add spaghetti sauce once meat is cooked.

In medium bowl, combine all cheeses, sour cream and eggs.

Layer into 9×13″ pan in the following order:

1 c. meat sauce, 1 layer lasagna noodles, 1/3 cheese mixture.  Repeat twice, putting remaining meat sauce on top.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 for 60 mins., or until sauce is bubbly.

Shepherd’s Pie

My second daughter made this for us one night with some leftover mashed potatoes and brown gravy, and it was pretty yummy.   Since the mashed potatoes and gravy were already made, it came together very quickly.  You can almost throw in whatever kind of filling you want.

4-5 potatoes, peeled and boiled
2 T. butter softened
¼ to ½ c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. ground beef
1 tomato, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced (If you have them)
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. brown gravy
2 c. peas, green beans, corn, carrots, lima beans (or any combination)

Mash potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper together; set a side.

Brown beef in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain. Add tomato, mushrooms, parsley, tomato paste, Worcestershire and gravy; mix well.

Add peas and simmer 5 minutes; pour into an ungreased 9×13 baking pan.

Spread mashed potatoes over the top; bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Salsa Ranch Skillet Meal

This is one of those “dump” recipes where you can pretty much dump together a bunch of stuff and come up with supper.

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped

Brown together and drain; then stir in:

1 pkt. ranch salad dressing mix

Next, add:

1 c. water
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 16-oz. jar salsa
1 16-oz. can baked beans

Bring to a boil, then add:

8-oz. pkg. rotini pasta, uncooked

Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes (until pasta is tender).

Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

$12.00 (NOT!!) Cheesy Meatball Soup

This recipe came from my friend, Laura, and I think of her and our high school days every time I make it.  She and I have a lot of things in common, but there are some things in which she and I are polar opposites.  I still respect who she is, though, and I remember with fondness the common bond we share from our growing-up years.

Back to the soup:  There are all kinds of ways to cut costs in here to bring it down from a $12 soup to a $6 soup.  🙂  This is a great soup to make the day before you need it, because it re-heats nicely.  Plus, almost everyone loves cheese and meatballs.

The notes in parentheses are the things I do to reduce the cost.

2 lbs. cooked meatballs (You can buy prepared meatballs, or you can make your own, which GREATLY reduces the cost of this soup.  There’s a meatball recipe below.)
2 cans beef broth (15-ish oz. each)
2 cans water
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. cubed potatoes
1 c. chopped celery (I usually replace the celery with broccoli, and I add the broccoli when I add the meatballs.)
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 c. corn
1 t. hot sauce
1 jar Cheez-Whiz (I make my own version of this OR I just make a cheesy white sauce like I would for homemade macaroni and cheese.  You will need about 2-3 cups of cheesiness.)

Bring broth and veggies to a boil, simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Add meatballs and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Stir in Tabasco and Cheez-Whiz just before serving.

Serve with more Tabasco, if desired, and tortilla chips.  I also like to have a tossed salad with it.

Meatballs:
2 lbs. ground beef or ground pork
1 t. Tabasco
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 t. dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Mix and shape into small meatballs.  Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes, or until done.

NOTE:  Although the soup itself does not freeze well, these meatballs freeze beautifully, so feel free to double the recipe and tuck some baked meatballs into the freezer (which will make this soup much less time-consuming next time).

Unstuffed Pepper Soup

This is a great, low-cost recipe from my friend, Jamie.  It’s very versatile and quite tasty.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I only used 1 lb. because I’m cheap.)
3 lg. green peppers, chopped (I chopped frozen pepper strips from last summer’s garden–about 3-4 c. total.)
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 cans (14 oz. each) beef broth (You could use chicken broth instead,  if you prefer.
2 cans (10 oz. each) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, undrained  (I used one quart whole tomatoes and kinda smooshed ’em up.)
1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained (I didn’t use these b/c I didn’t have them.)
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
salt & pepper as needed (and maybe a little bit of sugar if you’re using home-canned tomatoes)

In Dutch oven, cook ground beef, peppers and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in broth, soup, tomatoes and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add rice and heat through.  Yield:  10 servings