Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zucchini Bake Friday

Neillio here,  in the lab again.  I'm testing my ability to re-invent the same foods consistently and as equally appealing and satisying.  This evening is a Zucchini Bake.  Hopefully, you may try this and feel the same way!!

Bacon Cheddar Zucchini Bake
1 large zucchini, about 5 cups sliced
1 lb. ground beef
1 soft beef bouillon cube
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
4 oz. black olives, sliced
12 oz. spaghetti sauce
granulated sugar to taste
2 tbsp. fresh basil and oregano blend
For Bacon Cheddar Bechamel:
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. mild cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 c. real bacon bits 
Olive oil for drizzling
 (Salt and Pepper to Suit your Taste  )
Preheat oven to 375*F.
On a large roasting rack and pan or baking sheet, spread out sliced zucchini and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand for about 20 minutes.  Rinse and drain. This process is to render the zucchini of  excess water as to absorb the flavors of the bake.
Brown ground beef with bouillon  over medium high heat.  While browning add onion, jalapeno and garlic.  Once no pink remains and the vegetables are softened, drain off excess fat and stir in olives and spaghetti sauce. Stir in herbs and  reduce to a simmer.  
Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce. melt butter over medium heat and heat until small bubbles start to form.   Whisk in flour and cook about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and whisk in milk.  Place back over heat, and let thicken over several minutes.  Once thickened, add cheddar and bacon. Stir to blend, and turn off heat. 
In a 3 1/2 quart baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and add 1/2 of meat sauce.  Make a layer with zucchini, covering meat sauce.  Carefully spread 1/2 of bacon cheddar sauce atop zucchini.
Repeat with remaining  meat sauce, zucchini, and cheese sauce.  Cover loosely with foil and bake for about 45 minutes and zucchini is fork tender.    Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with garlic bread and green salad.  Serves 8 to 10.

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