Saturday, January 14, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

It felt good to be back in the kitchen today. I ended up with an extra day off this week due to all the sickness around here and so I actually had time to plan some meals and go grocery shopping on Friday thankfully!!!! So on the menu tonight was one of my favorite meals actually, stuffed zucchini.
Now I am aware that it isn't really zucchini season but that is why this recipe is perfect. It is a wonderful warm dish that I don't really crave as much in the summer when the weather starts to get warm. So baking it up in the winter time is perfect. Start with about 5 smaller zucchini and wash them off because you will be keeping their peel. Then cut off the tops leaving a nice clean edge.

Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out most of the insides of them. I have found this melon baller to be the best tool to get the job done. It is small enough to go right down the middle without ruining the sides too much plus the sharp edges make a perfect scraper. You can use a spoon or the end of a vegetable peeler too.

After you have scraped out all the insides, saving the flesh of course for another recipe, heat a little olive oil in a pan and place the halves face down to brown the edges a little. I would say this takes about 3-4 minutes and you only do this one side. This photo also helps you see how much of the inside I actually scrape out.

Line the zucchini boats up in a large baking dish. This one is actually bigger than a
9 x 13 but if that is all you have just try to squeeze them in or do a couple less. You do want a snug fit so they help each other keep their filling.

Cook up 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey until all the moisture is absorbed and then add one chopped medium onion and cook until the onions are soft. You will then add 1 tsp. Greek seasoning and a bit of sea salt and mix it in well.

While your meat is cooking chop up 1/2 cup parsley and mince 5 garlic cloves. When the meat is finished remove it from the heat and add in the parsley and garlic.

Spoon the mixture into the boats and press it down firmly so it doesn't float out when you pour the sauce over it. Some will come out but you don't want it to all float out.

I like to use this tomato sauce because it has only 1 gram of sugar but you can use your favorite sauce or even a spaghetti sauce works great. Sometimes when I make changes to recipes I forget to write them down and it gets me in trouble!!! The recipe actually calls for 4 cups of tomato sauce mixed with 1 to 2 cups of water. That is ENTIRELY TOO MUCH! I did use the whole can of sauce and only a tiny bit of water mixed in to keep a nice flavor but it made everything a bit soupy tonight.

As you can see my sauce was making my meat jump out of their skins! It all turned out just fine and really didn't change the flavor of the dish but it did cause a bit of problem with the cheese that goes on top. The change I have made but neglected to write down is that I need to forget the water and just pour the can over the zucchini or use a smaller can of spaghetti sauce with a little water. Cover this with aluminum foil and put it in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes remove the foil and top with a little mozzarella and/or Parmesan. I used both but see how it was really floating on top and not settling onto the individual pieces?? I really should pay attention more when I am cooking! I'm blaming it on my kids tonight, just because they are always sucking my brain cells right out of my head. Put this back into the oven uncovered for 10 minutes or until the cheese golden.

Tonight I served this with a bag of these Italian green beans which we loved! Pictsweet is really my favorite brand of frozen veggies. They have a great variety. I do not mean a variety of broccoli with all kinds of different sauces I don't want on my veggies! That drives me nuts! Right now in my freezer I have their black eyed peas, baby limas, and their seasoning blend recipe helper that has onions, celery, green and red peppers, and parsley flakes in it. Check them out next time you are at the store.

We also had a fruit cocktail as Miles called it. That happens when I have several small bags of leftover fruit and I mix them all together.

Stuffed zucchini thank you for making my belly happy tonight. I have missed you and will make you again soon! You were divine!

I have good news to report. The slow child who is always the last one at the table ate almost every bit of her dinner and commented that she really liked the zucchini. "I mean a lot!" she said. The only thing that remained on her plate was a bit of potato. Moral of the story is that if Faith likes it then just about anyone will. So make it for your picky husband or kids this week! I promise you will all love it very much.


You didn't think I would let all that zucchini flesh go to waste did you? I guess I will be making something with this tomorrow!

I am off to go lay down in front of a TV and be lazy for the rest of the night. Hope you enjoy your evening as well!

STUFFED ZUCCHINI (changes made!)
4-5 small zucchini, halved and flesh removed
1-1   ½ lbs. ground turkey
½ tsp. sea salt
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tsp. Greek seasoning  (such as Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning)
5 cloves garlic
½ cup chopped parsley
3-3 ½  cups tomato sauce (or low sugar spaghetti sauce)
½ cup  water
1 cup Mozzarella and/or Parmesan Cheese (more if necessary to cover the tops)
Olive oil

Wash zucchini then cut each one in half and scoop out the inside. Heat oil in a pan with a lid. Place a few of the casings in the oil flesh side down and brown lightly using the lid to prevent the oil from splattering. Remove the first batch then follow the same for the rest of the casings.

Drain excess oil then add ground turkey and cook until all liquid evaporates. Add onion, salt, and Greek seasoning. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the onions are soft. Remove from heat and add the garlic and parsley.

Fill the casings with the stuffing and arrange in a large heatproof dish as close together as possible. Mix the water and tomato sauce together and pour over zucchini. Cover and bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Uncover , top with cheese, and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve with rice if desired.

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