I have an abundance, a plethora, a boat load, a copious profusion of zucchini, now I know this is not the first time you have ever heard anyone say this ~ I am certain, but, I really, really mean it this time! If zucchini were gold I would be rich!
Now, I had to ask myself, “Who can I pawn this off on(I mean give these blessed vegetables to)”? No one really wants these 2 foot long green monstrosities; I needed to be honest with myself. So I grated too many; I figured I would freeze bags and bags of the green goodness, I could make breads, zucchini chocolate chip cake, use some in veggie lasagna this fall and winter…but now my freezer is running out of space.
I remembered a recipe from a few years ago; Zucchini boats! This was the answer, at least for today. They were yummy, even my family thought they were yummy (a bonus). I prepared them similar to stuffed peppers, with a rice, beef, and tomato mixture ~ all topped off with melted cheese.
Now, let me see if I can recollect how I made them, you see, I am not good at using recipes, I have many, many cookbooks (as in maybe 50 or more) and I read them all. And, that is where our relationship ends. When it comes to soups, stews, casseroles, and such I pretty much wing it! The end result is nearly always delicious.
go ahead gather your garden goods and lets get going!
family size recipe serves 6-8 folks
3 or 4 medium to large zucchini ( halved and hollowed)
1 medium onion finely chopped (I chop mine very fine because I don’t like onions, but you needn’t bother if you like them coarsely chopped)
1 large green pepper chopped about the same size as the onion ( so that they cook evenly)
garlic to your taste, I love it, so I load ‘er up!
for seasoning, I use Italian herbs, you could even used the pre-mixed Italian seasoning packaged dried herbs. Now here is the tricky part ( for me) because, I use enough…what ever that means to you…I would say taste the meat onion, pepper mixture after it is cooked ~ go from there.
Salt and pepper to taste
6 servings of rice- roughly 3 cups (cooked) you could use instant,jasmine, or brown rice(which I prefer)
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey
1 large can diced tomatoes(I use the basil, garlic type)
spaghetti sauce ( your home made or your favorite)
cheddar cheese (or your favorite) to cover
I use a very large cast iron skillet (your can make the whole wretched mess in this one pan) you should see this thing! anyway…
Have the halved (I just smiled at that…) zucchini hollowed out…just past the seeds, set aside.
warm the skillet over medium heat, add olive oil to just cover bottom (not your bottom), add chopped onion, pepper, garlic, and seasoning saute until soft, and the onion is translucent… remove from pan, set aside.
add the ground meat to the skillet that you just sauteed the veggies in, cook through..drain.
Now, add the sauteed veggies, cooked meat, and rice (cooked, remember..hard crunchies, no good) in this large skillet and mix together, add tomatoes and heat through…breath deeply…yumm, smells great right.
remove skillet contents to a large heat proof bowl,rinse the skillet, if you are using a cast iron pan like I do ( if not get out a large baking dish) big enough to hold your zucchini.
Fill the halved zucchini with the rice mixture and place them in the skillet( or baking dish) as you go..when your filling ups are complete..pour spaghetti sauce or even seasoned tomatoes sauce around them, filling the bottom of the pan, no need to cover them with sauce, just enough so they bake in it. cover each boat with cheese, cover with foil. and bake at 375 until zucchini is fork tender, don’t be afraid to uncover and check on them…then continue baking uncovered until the cheese is done just the way you like it! I didn’t put a baking time in here – it will all depend on your zucchini size and thickness 🙂 Now make a beautiful crisp salad and enjoy!
I love this time of year!