Okay, so the name Million Dollar Zucchini Skillet is a little dramatic, but I had to figure out a way to set this recipe apart from other zucchini skillet recipes.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the zucchini skillet recipes I’ve posted are good, but this one, THIS ONE, is the BEST! Simple things like using fire roasted diced tomatoes instead of regular diced tomatoes, and finely chopping some celery in with the onion, garlic and carrot, really make this dish sing.
In fact, we loved it so much that we made it three nights in a row and my oldest now claims it as his third favorite dinner. Chimichanga’s are his first, and Baked Teriyaki Chicken is his second. It kind of cracks me up because his top two are a little fancy and then there’s Zucchini Skillet. It’s like the nerdy kid that somehow managed to make a name for himself with the cool kids.
This dinner is naturally gluten free, and for those who don’t do dairy, if you skip the cheese on top it is also dairy free. With that said, if dairy isn’t a problem for you I strongly suggest lots of cheese on top. YUM!!!!
If you have a spirilizer, it works great with spirilized zucchini too. My sister-in-law gave me this one for Christmas. The kids love to use it. It’s a very simple design and easy to use. And, easy to clean.
I know I’ve mentioned a time or two in the past that I love to cook. That is still true, but the older my kids are getting and the older and more tired I’m getting, making dinner is starting to feel more overwhelming then it ever has in the past. I used to love the time it took to prep dinner, it was relaxing for me. Now it just makes me anxious if I know I have three million things to do and people to get places.
One way I’m working through this slump and doing my best to still put homemade meals on the table is by having go-to skillet, crock pot and “throw it together and toss it in the oven for two hours,” kind of meals. Basically the only time I make a meal that causes me to have to be in the kitchen prepping for more then 20-30 minutes is on Sunday or special occasions.
With a meal like this Million Dollar Zucchini Skillet, one of my favorite short cuts and also the thing that allows me to sneak more vegetables into our meals is my food processor. My food processor is part of a Ninja Blender System I bought myself for our wedding anniversary 2 years ago. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! It is a permanent fixture on our counter because I (we) use it so much. It has the food processor attachment, A blender and a magic bullet nutra-blender attachment.
Without a food processor I would have to finely chop or grate all of the veggies in this recipe. A task that would take at least 15-20 minutes. But with the food processor I just throw them all in, hit the magic button and ten seconds later everything is in tiny almost unrecognizable (once cooked) pieces. It’s so great!
My Ninja been worth its weight in gold and has been used almost everyday if not multiple times a day since I bought it. Cooking is fun or at least quicker, when you have the right tools. Do yourself a favor it you don’t already have some kind of food processor and make it a priority to get one. You’ll be so happy you did. My sister had one like this before she caved and got a Ninja like mine. It worked great and is a great option if you don’t have the space for a big one.
By the way this is not a sponsored post, I just love my Ninja. I did use amazon affiliate links to show you the products though….just in case you end up buying one, because if people by things from my affiliate links I get a few pennies for each dollar you spend.
I got off on a little food processor tangent, can’t help it. I’m becoming more and more passionate about making dinner prep as quick and painless as possible.
With our without a food processor please promise me you will make this skillet. It really is spectacular and has an incredible flavor that will make your mouth so happy and if your like me and my family it will be an instant favorite!
- 2 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 lb Italian Sausage, removed from it's casings
- 4 small-medium zucchini or yellow squash (enough to make 4-6 cups of quartered or halved slices)
- 1 large or two small celery stalks
- 16 baby carrots or 2 small regular carrots, peeled if you use regular
- ½ of a medium onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- ½ cup long grain white rice, uncooked
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp basil
- ½ tsp parsley
- ¼ tsp oregano
- 1-2 cups of Colby Jack or Mozzarella Cheese
- Cut your zucchini's lengthwise down the middle and slice ¼ inch thick making half moon shapes. If your Zucchinis are large you can slice them lengthwise again before slicing and make quartered slices. Set aside.
- Pour your Olive Oil into a large deep skillet and add the Italian Sausage. Cook until meat is browned.
- Put the celery, carrots, onion and garlic in the food processor and process until they are very small pieces, pea size or smaller. If you don't have one, grate or finely dice them.
- Add the finely chopped or processed veggies to the browned meat in the skillet.
- Add the diced tomatoes, rice, water, brown sugar, salt, basil, parsley, and oregano. Mix well.
- Add zucchini pieces and mix. Do your best to get as much of the mixture under the liquid as possible. Bring to a low boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is tender and rice is cooked.
- Remove from heat, Remove lid and sprinkle with cheese, Put lid back on and let it melt while you set the table or round everyone up for dinner.