2016 Summer Recipe #2: Stuffed Zucchini

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The perfect summer vegetable to cook with is zucchini! Here is a delicious recipe that incorporates zucchini (or you could use squash) and also tastes great.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
  • olive oil (to pour in pan, amount will vary)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (I used dried garlic in the pantry, use the guidelines on the container for the exact amount when not using fresh)
  • 1 lb. ground beef *Another option is to use ground turkey or a combination of the two meats.*
  • Seasoning, for the beef or turkey. Season to your liking with your favorite spices!
  • 1 jar (on the smaller size) tomato spaghetti sauce. I used Classico.
  • 2 cups mozzarella shredded cheese (I used half a bag that I had leftover in the fridge)

 

As you can see, this recipe can be made with whatever you have on hand! I usually substitute dried spices instead of fresh (I’m too lazy to go to the store, I just use what’s on hand), and if I don’t have the correct vegetables to go in this recipe, I just change them or omit them. This time, I did not have enough cheese but I had too much spaghetti sauce in it. So each time is a learning experience! I made this recipe about 4 or 5 years ago when we lived in our apartment and had not made it since, so I thought it was time for Stuffed Zucchini last week. Here are the directions, and I included photos at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Chop vegetables. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan, then sauce vegetables for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute about 1 more minute. Remove all from pan and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add more olive oil to the pan. Crumble in the ground beef (or whatever meat you’re using). Season with your blend of seasonings if you choose to. Drain fat from the meat once it has been browned.
  3. Add meat back to the pan, along with cooked vegetables from earlier. Add tomato spaghetti sauce to the pan, along with about half of the mozzarella cheese, and simmer until mixture has thickened (about 10 minutes), then turn off heat.
  4. *This step can be prepared ahead of time or while the meat is cooking.* Wash the zucchini and slice into large rounds. See my photos below, or the blog link below has more good pictures from another food blogger. Make sure you are not slicing lengthwise — you want these to resemble a cut tree trunk, short and stout.
  5. Use a spoon to hollow out the zucchini, being careful not to hollow it all the way through. You still want to have a “bottom” to the zucchini round so that nothing falls out of the bottom. I made 6 rounds out of two large zucchini. Arrange rounds on a cooking sheet – I used special baking paper on top of my cooking sheet to keep it clean, this recipe does get messy!
  6. Once the meat mixture is ready, scoop the mixture evenly into each zucchini round. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F.
  7. Remove from oven, add remaining mozzarella cheese to the tops of the zucchini rounds. Bake again for 10-15 min. *Tip: I baked mine on the second to bottom rack of the oven, being sure to take out any racks above it (the rounds were taller than expected and they do bubble over while cooking). Serve with brown rice and enjoy!

 

This recipe was adapted from KaylinsKitchen blog.
   
    
 

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