I like to refer to zucchini as the “clutter” of any garden. You start out with just one little plant and it multiplies out of control in no time. Kind of like the clutter on the kitchen table. You lay down ONE envelope and by the end of the day you have a huge pile of clutter that’s threatening to break the legs off the table! Such is the way of the zuke.
But, that’s also one of the coolest things about zucchini! Just one garden on the block growing zucchini can keep the neighborhood stocked. Or one really awesome co-worker at your hubby’s job site. Even with my 1.7 billion zucchini recipes, I’m running out of ideas. My thinker is broken, if you will. That’s how this ridiculously simple supper came to be. Simple, but delicious!
Bonus: This is a GREAT recipe to start teaching the older kids how to chop veggies!
The zucchini, squash and onions don’t need to be nice and uniform. Since this is such a monotone dish (see my fix for that in the last pic) the visual stimulation is going to come from the fact that the veggies are NOT all the same size and shape. It adds visual interest to have chunks and strips and ribbons.
So, how do we made this delicious and simple recipe with our lovely kiddos? Read on, Mama!
- zucchini and squash (the amount is going to depend on the size of the veg and the size of your family*)
- 1/2 of a small vidalia onion (yellow works, just no white onions)
- 1 clove garlic, diced fine
- grape tomatoes
- pasta or rice (make sure you time your rice properly so you don’t end up with soggy veggies because you’re waiting on the rice to cook)
- olive oil and water (to saute veggies)
- salt, pepper, nutritional yeast (optional)
- Put the pasta pot on to get the water boiling. If you are having rolls or whatnot, pre-heat the oven now.
- Wash your zucchini and squash really well. If they are organic, or you know the grower doesn’t use funky chemicals, you are going not going to peel them. If you have no idea about the growing and processing conditions, or if they feel like they’re covered in a waxy substance, peel them.
- Helping your kid (use your judgement here as to who is ready for sharp knives), cut off the ends of the squash and zucchini. If there are any really big seeds, scrape them out. Here’s the fun part: cut, chop, julienne and ribbon the zucchini and squash. All different shapes and sizes.
- If your kids aren’t comfortable with onions, diced the onion. If they’re cool with it, go for a bit bigger pieces. Like stir-fry size slices.
- Dice the garlic.
- Put your pasta in the boiling water and set a timer. Do you need to put some bread in the oven?
- Heat up about a teaspoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of water in your skillet. (You want to use a decently big skillet here. Better to have too much room than not enough!)
- Add the veggies to the skillet. Start with the onion! Once it starts to get translucent, add in the garlic. Give the garlic about a minute with the onion and then start adding in the squash and zucchini. You want the biggest pieces first and the ribbons last. Give each size about a minute or so before you add in the next smallest pieces. The ribbons only need, at most, two minutes. If your pan starts to dry out, add another tablespoon of water.
- Once your timer goes off for the pasta, drain it and set it aside. Keep some of the water from the pasta! I like to put it in the oven or the microwave to keep it warm and out of the way.
- Once your veggies are finished sauteing, plate up the pasta or rice. Add the veggies on top. Take about a tablespoon of the pasta water and pour it over each plate. Toss it a bit to make sure everything is wet.
- Add your seasoning here. We keep it pretty simple here. Just salt and pepper. Over top of everything we sprinkle nutritional yeast.
- Drop the grape tomatoes on top and you’re done!
Pretty simple, right? There is plenty in this recipe for the kids to do. Let them do it all!
- pre-heat the oven
- put the bread choice on the pan
- fill the pot for the pasta and add the pasta to the pot
- add the olive oil and water to the pan
- wash the veg
- cut the veggies (use common sense here)
- set the table and plate up the food
You really just need to be there as support. Again, this all depends on your kiddos age/s and maturity. Our boys are comfortable in the kitchen because we’ve always allowed them to be in the kitchen. We do use recipes as fractions practice, we do teach practical life skills, we do NOT tell them that cooking and baking is for grown ups. I’ve actually heard this come out of a woman’s mouth. I’m pretty sure my jaw did, in fact, hit the floor.
Please don’t tell your kids that cooking is only for grown-ups!
Creating a passion for cooking is an awesome gift to give your child. Heck, just teaching them the basics is great! I’ve said it a million times I’m sure, but there is just no substitute for the wonderful memories you can make with your kids spending time in the kitchen together.
Let me know what you think of this recipe! How did your kids like it?
And, did you let your kids help you in the kitchen?