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Recipe: Simple And Easy Back To School Zoodles

easy zucchini noodle recipe

It’s almost time for back-to-school! It brings mixed feelings for many of us. We soon need to say goodbye to the laid back routine and less strict schedule that come with the lazy days of summer.

Back-To-School = Back To Busy

Back-to-school often means a return to busy weeknights. Sometimes it’s a little harder to get dinner on the table for our families.

We all want healthy options that don’t take too much time or effort to prepare and dinners that everyone will eat.  Fall’s cooler temperatures also mean a return to some of the classic comfort foods.

This recipe for Unstuffed Zucchini is ticking all the boxes and on top that, it’s a one-dish meal.  The beautiful Ricardo Enamel Dutch Oven goes from stovetop, to oven, to table, and does it all while looking great!

My traditional stuffed zucchini recipe takes about 1 – 1 1/2 hours to prep and cook. This version will be ready to serve in less than 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.  We saved time by using zucchini noodles (zoodles) instead of traditional large pieces of zucchini and were able to cut the cook time without sacrificing taste.

Unstuffed zucchini

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp oil -divided
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice or about 1 cup cooked leftover rice
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • I cup grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Begin by browning the ground beef in 1 tsp of oil in the Dutch oven on medium heat on your stove top.

2. While the beef is browning, dice the onion and peppers. Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic cloves. Using a spiral vegetable slicer, turn your zucchini into zoodles using the thick julienne setting.

3. Remove the browned beef and set aside. If you are not using leftover rice, make your instant rice according to the package instructions and set aside.

4. With the Dutch oven on medium heat, add the remaining 1 tsp of oil and sauté the onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the Italian seasoning. Add in the zoodles and cook until they are slightly soft and begin to lay flat. Don’t over cook – remember they will cook a little longer under the broiler.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and add back in the browned beef, the cooked rice, and the tomato sauce. Stir to combine.

6. Add grated cheese to the top of the dish and place in the oven on the top rack on the broil setting to melt the cheese. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Depending on the oven, it might take up to 5 minutes. Remove when the cheese is melted and bubbling. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations:

This recipe is so versatile!  Make it even faster by using leftover rice.  If you are eating low-carb, leave the rice out and increase the zucchini.  You could always switch the ground beef for ground chicken or turkey if you’d like.

I loved using the Ricardo spiral vegetable slicer, and the Ricardo grater -and what I really loved about using them on a busy weeknight is they’re both dishwasher safe so no extra clean up!

Serve this one pot dish with a salad and some bread for the perfect quick weeknight meal.

Feeling inspired?

Dannyelle Nicolle-Ramjist

Dannyelle is a blogger from Toronto, Canada. She loves to blog about entertaining, home decor, recipes, and DIYs. She always says life is what we make it, so we may as well make it a party! She loves to inspire others to entertain more at home with simple ideas to welcome friends and family into their homes and ultimately into their lives. You can visit her blog lifeisaparty.ca or follow her on Instagram at @lifeisaparty.

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