Whew! What a week! After my week in Indiana, I had some serious catching up to do around here. And we had some fun too. We are now the proud owners of a baby crawfish, named "Daphne" by my daughter, from a day of playing in the creek. Stayed tuned for my Crawfish Paella. Just kidding! I'm also busy getting ready for my weekend in Vegas and on top of it all, I lost my camera cord. Needless to say, the posts I anticipated just aren't happening. The green bean post and jalapeno popper post promised in the meal plan will be up in the next week of so. In the meantime, I bring you two delicious zucchini posts! If you're up to your ears in zucchini from your garden this is for you.
This Zucchini Casserole is one of my all time favorites. There are many things that I remember about my Grandma Bailey...her gorgeous, dimpled smile, her sparkling eyes, our walks to the beach near her house, and one crazy Christmas trip to the Botanical Gardens with all of us grandkids packed into the back of the car and my baby cousin (now in his 20's) screaming his head off the whole while and my grandma making us laugh through the noise. But one of the things that I remember most is my grandma standing in the kitchen, turning out her signature dishes like this one. And though my grandma never got to meet my little family, I'm proud to serve this to them and think about her as they feed their happy faces.
You start by browning a pound and a half of hamburger with a chopped onion. Salt and pepper. Garlic powder is good here too. Drain off the fat. Grandma's recipe does not instruct to drain the fat, in fact it calls for an additional 2 tablespoons of butter. That's probably why hers tasted better than mine.
Then peel and chop a couple of zucchini. You don't really need to peel them. I'm not sure why I do. Maybe to disguise the zucchini. Probably because it tastes so good, that if there's no green color in there to alert the picky kid, she'll eat it.
Add the zucchini and the tomato to the cooked ground beef. Grandma's recipe called for 3 chopped tomatoes. I usually add a big can (or jar of home canned if I have them) of whole tomatoes. I didn't have either in my pantry, so I used a can of crushed tomatoes this time.
Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes.
Now add 16 oz. of sour cream and stir. I added light sour cream, but use what you like. My sister has a whole theory about dairy fats and boosting your metabolism. After hearing it, I may return to the full fat kind myself.
Now put a box of seasoned croutons into the bottom of a 9 X 13 casserole dish. I ended up using two smaller dishes, one for dinner and one for the freezer.
Pour the beef and zucchini mixture over the croutons and spread it out. Top with cheese. I like Colby Jack or Cheddar.
I covered my casserole for the freezer with plastic wrap, then foil and labelled with instructions for later.
Then I preheated the oven and left for a walking date with a friend that I needed to catch up with. My husband remained behind for dinner duty. I told him to put it into the oven for 45 minutes. I should've reduced the cooking time for the smaller size of casserole, since I froze half. My husband remembered to take this pic for me when it came out of the oven, a little crispy on top.
I took this picture when I sat down to my dinner an hour or so after the rest of my family. The girls were fed and in their pj's. Gotta love that! I haven't made this casserole since last summer. It was definitely worth the wait!
Grandma Bailey's Zucchini Casserole
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
Brown and drain.
2 zucchini, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped or 1 large can whole tomatoes
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
16 oz. sour cream
1 box of seasoned croutons
Colby Jack or cheddar cheese
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.