This challenge was interesting as we had to use Zucchini, Ground Beef, Cola and Watermelon. Since the cola and watermelon were on the sweet side, I thought I could combine the cola with the beef to cook and then substitute zucchini strips in place of pasta. I wanted something to link the sweetness of the beef to the zucchini dish, so I also added fresh corn. Turned out really good! Steven and Kelly cleaned their plates. They gave it the “keeper” thumbs up so that I could make this again. They said they couldn’t really taste the cola, but they could tell the meat was sweet. The dish was flavorful and juicy and I’ll admit the closer you got to finishing the more flavorful the last bites tasted. As for the watermelon spritzer? They were not fans. “Ok, but not my thing” were the discussions. Frankly, I think the spritzer was the best part! It was completely refreshing, with fresh mint from the backyard, honey to sweeten and blended with ice on this super hot day. It cleaned the palate nicely between bites of the pasta. I finished mine (and Steven did finish Kelly’s to be honest, so it couldn’t have been all that bad).
Now, here’s the ingredients and cooking directions. I’ll do the best I can, but I’m a “put a little of this, put a little of that in” kind of cook! So, here goes:
Zucchini Pasta with Meat Sauce and Watermelon Mint Spritzer
For the Zucchini Pasta
One small vidalia onion, sliced
Three garlic cloves, sliced and diced
3 small zucchini, made into strips with your peeler - try for long, thick slices
fresh corn from one ear
1 - 2 tbs olive oil and salt per taste
For the meat sauce
1 lb chopped meat
1 cup coca cola
one small vidalia onion - chopped
4 garlic cloves - chopped and diced
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup beef broth (I think organic brands like Pacific or Imagine tastes best - I used Pacific)
chopped fresh parsley (about 2 tbs chopped) and thyme (about one sprig - only the leaves used) from my garden
For Watermelon Spritzer
3 cubes fresh watermelon
3 tbs honey
6 fresh mint leaves, torn
1 cup or more of ice
For the beef
brown the beef and then add 1 cup of cola. In another pan, cook onion and garlic and when softened mix into the beef and cola mixture. Add parsley and thyme and let cook for approximately 20 - 30 minutes.
For Zucchini Pasta
cook onion and garlic in olive oil till softened slightly (2 minutes), then add the zucchini. Let cook for 2 more minutes, stirring and flipping often with a spatula. Add 1/4 cup or so of beef broth. Then add fresh corn and cook till zucchini is very soft but not mushy. Salt to taste.
Then mix the beef mixture and the zucchini mixture together and serve.
For the Watermelon Spritzer
Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend till nice and frothy. I added honey and more mint per my own taste.