$5 Dinner Challenge: Australian Zucchini Slice

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This is my second installment of 3 Mondays of $5 Dinner Challenges.  This means, each Monday I’ve been cooking a meal for 2 adults and 2 children for around $5, although this week’s dish will serve 4 to 6.  Here’s the real challenge, though:  I do it while maintaining my commitment to eat mostly local and organic vegetables and humanely raised meats.  For this second meal, I made Australian Zucchini Slice for $6.25.

My husband learned to cook this dish in home ec. class in Australia and when he moved to the states he wrote home for it.  I’m so glad he did because it is a great go-to recipe for brunches or anytime you need a hearty one-dish meal.  Fresh local eggs give this all-around family favorite a lovely rise.  This is one of the few egg dishes that I add the onions to still raw.  This recipe bakes long enough to soften and sweeten them, but still leaving a garden flavor.  A scoop of organic flour makes for a perfectly soft texture throughout.  Of course no recipe of my husband’s would be complete without smokey bacon, but I’ve made it vegetarian before and that’s great too!

I’ve included both the original Australian recipe and the converted American recipe, so hopefully no matter which side of the globe you’re on you’ll find it accessible.  The American version calls for whole wheat pastry flour, since that’s what we use in our household, but the original is white flour.  I’ve also noticed that I usually have to increase cooking times when making Aussie dishes, so the American one’s cooking time is longer.  (My guess is the difference in humidity causes this.)

Here’s how I made this fantastic meal for just over six bucks:

Prices and Products

  • 13 oz. local, certified organic zucchini from farmer’s market:  $0.75
  • 1 large local, certified organic onion from farmer’s market: $0.65
  • 3 rashers bacon (no animal byproducts or antibiotics in the animal’s feed or added hormones): $1.40
  • 4 oz. local, co-op owned, non-BGH cheddar (Tillamook): $1.00
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour: $0.34
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder: $0.05
  • 1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil: $0.81
  • 5 eggs from my friend’s happy backyard chickens: $1.25
  • Couple dashes of salt and pepper:  negligible

How I got these great deals:

  • I chose this dish because I knew zucchini and onions were in abundance locally right now, so was able to get excellent prices at the farmer’s market.  The onions were originally 75 cents each, but I only had 65 cents on me and the farmer had onions coming out her ears and was happy to take it.
  • I looked on the websites for my local grocery stores for specials on Tillamook cheese.  This brand is so popular here that usually someone has a sale.  Sure enough, in my local QFC’s online sale flyer, it was $3.99 for 1 lb.  You can get even better deals if you buy a larger brick, but we’d never go through it all.  It’s not a great deal if you throw half away!
  • My friend Angie is super into gardening and raising chickens naturally.  She sells the eggs of these “happy backyard chickens” for $3.00 a dozen.  This is a great way to get truly free-range eggs at a discount price.  Don’t think you have to live out in the sticks to do this either.  We’re in a suburb right outside of Seattle and it’s quite common for people to raise chickens.  Just ask around.  I bet you’ll find someone.

Recipes

Zucchini Slice (American recipe) Serves 4 to 6.

You will need:

  • 13 oz (0.83 lb) zucchini
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 rashers (slices) bacon
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 5 eggs
  • salt, pepper

Put it together:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, fine chop onion and bacon.
  • Fry bacon over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.
  • Sift together flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and baking powder.
  • Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into well-greased 2-quart casserole dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until browned.

Before Oven:

After Oven:

Zucchini Slice (original recipe)

  • 375 g zucchini
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 rashers bacon
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 5 eggs
  • salt, pepper

Grate unpeeled zucchini coarsely, fine chop onion and bacon.  Combine zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese, sifted flour, oil and lightly beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper.  Pour into well-greased lamington tin (base measure 16 cm x 26 cm), bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes or until browned.  Serves 4 to 6.

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5 Responses to “$5 Dinner Challenge: Australian Zucchini Slice”

  1. Mary Teresa Says:

    Just made this for dinner (or something very close to it. =D) and it was delicious! I used diced chicken breast instead of bacon since we don’t keep that in the house and added some tomatoes for color. Great recipe even after my changes. I am pretty sure bacon wouldn’t hurt it at all either. =)

  2. Kim Says:

    Hi Mary,

    I’m so glad it worked out well for you. I hadn’t thought of using chicken, but then bacon is more common in our house than chicken! : ) Best wishes for the baby on the way!

    Kim

  3. robyn shave Says:

    Hi Kim

    My Australian variation of this recipe is:-

    As above and then I place mixture in muffin tin containers and then freeze and reheat in microwave when required.
    I get approximate 12.
    They are ideal for a light luncheon.
    I serve 2 or 3 per person with salad.

    Robyn Pymble NSW

  4. Kim Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Robyn. I was thinking about using this mixture to make Quiche Muffins like one of the local (to me!) bakeries does. Just to clarify, you bake and then freeze, right?

  5. Robyn shave Says:

    Hi Kim

    Yes I bake cool and then freeze.

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