Tuesday, August 25

Quick Zucchini Asian Beef Bowl

It appears that summer is over. All the familiar and signs of Fall are here. Football preseason has started (yay!), my tv bill (with the nfl ticket) has jumped in price, and my husband and I counting down the days until our fantasy draft. Crazy. Its still over 100 degrees outside, but everything else is saying goodbye to summer. I am always relieved as a mom when summer is over because we have made it another year in Az with the high heat. Its hard living in air-conditioned spaces for a couple months. It starts to feel like you have all become bears living in caves by the end of July. Maybe thats another reason why Autumn is my favorite season. Or maybe I just like the food it brings onto everyones tables..... yummy hearty bowls of food, stews, casseroles, hearty soups, large bowls of pasta with new fall veggies throughout squash, zucchini, pumpkin, and root vegetable staples like potatoes, parsnips, and carrots roasted capturing their natural sugars. So for that....you will need this easy recipe. Its easy and quick enough to fill the most hungry of little stomaches even on a school night, with just enough salty and meaty flavor to perk up the most adult taste buds. 


One of my favorite fall ingredients is zucchini. When I was young I wanted a garden so bad. But to the side of our house there were these "sticker bushes", wild blackberries bushes, that were out of control. Thus no room for a garden, even a small one. But one day my dad decided to remove them. My memory is sketchy here. I don't know if it was all in one day or a weekend. But I do remember being very excited! He was pretty creative in cutting them down and then actually driving over some of them to flatten them, to cut them down easier - as some plants were just as tall as he was. This created a great side yard for us kids to play in. In part of the space, we planted a vegetable garden one year, and had good success. Then the next year, I don't know what happened. We didn't plant anything new. But the zucchini plant still made the biggest zucchinis. I don't even remember watering it much that second or third year but we had zucchini coming out of our ears every fall. I thought it was the most incredible plant ever. To this day, its still a favorite fall vegetable. 

Paring zucchini with beef is easy. They go really well together. I have this chili recipe that uses big chunks of ground beef with lots of zucchini - its really great. But back to this recipe...The sweet salty sauce is so tasty you pour over the zucchini and onion will make the pickiest eater not flinch over the veggies. Veggies? What veggies? See. The zucchini lightens the very meaty dish up a touch without it appearing to be a "healthy" meal. To make it healthier use brown rice. So lets kick off this fall football season with a quick easy bowl of food. Perfect for families with kids, perfect for watching the game, perfect after a long day of work, and amazingly perfect for your budget with an short list of ingredients. 

And the pictures...... the life of a mom with two small kids. I was taking pictures with my phone again. Ugh. But at least you get the idea of what it could look like. I do intend to make this again soon so I will get some better pictures then. Until then make it yourself so you can see how beautiful and simple this dish is - dark rich browns and vibrant green zucchini :)

Quick Zucchini Asian Beef Bowl
Serves 3-4
Adapted from: A reinvented Mom
Prep + Cook time: 15-20 mintues

Ingredients:
2 small/medium zucchini diced (about 1 1/2 cups - 1 3/4 cup)
1/4 onion diced (approx 1/2 cup)
1 tsp oil, any kind (I used vegetable oil)
2 cups of rice, cooked

1/4 cup soy sauce (I used organic)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp. ginger, grated
optional: roasted or toasted sesame seeds



Directions:
1. Cook your rice in a saucepan if needed. This would be a great way to use leftover rice form another meal. I cooked 1 cup of white rice with 2 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Took about 15 minutes. 
2. While the rice is cooking, start chopping the veggies. 
3. Over medium heat, in a large skillet, heat the oil, and cook together the ground beef, zucchini, and onion. Cook mixture until beef is cooked through. Use a spatula to stir occasionally and keep meat pieces small.  This part took me about 8 minutes. 


4. While rice and beef mixture are cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the sesame seeds with a fork or whisk. 
5. When meat is fully cooked carefully drain any extra oil or fat off the meat. Return the meat  and saluted veggies to the pan.
6. Next pour the sauce over the meat mixture and simmer the meat in the sauce for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Keep it warm until the rice is done cooking. 
7. Serve the deliciously sauced meat and veggies over the rice. 
8. Optional: sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of each serving

Enjoy this quick meal
from my az kitchen
Stephanie