We are right in the thick of good ol’ summer in Minnesota. Hopefully you’ve had some time to enjoy this short lived season with some grilling, some swimming and some days off. Summer is a great time to make some of those dishes that are best with fresh vegetables right from the garden or the Farmer’s Market.
If you like pizza you may want to give this recipe a try. Once the zucchini are out in full force you’ll be able to make them as often as you want.
Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- 3 medium, uniformly-sized zucchini
- 1 (24 to 26 ounce) jar tomato basil marinara, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped brown button mushrooms
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- 1-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons Italian style panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Measure out 1 cup of the marinara sauce and set aside.
- Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the zucchini flesh (see recipe note), chop it and set it aside. Place the scooped out zucchini boats into a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and add about 1″ of water. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until just slightly fork-tender. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, add olive oil to a 12″ skillet and place over MEDIUM heat. Add turkey (or beef), onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks. Continue to cook and stir until meat is thoroughly cooked and veggies have softened. Drain off as much grease as possible and return the skillet to the heat.
- Add the chopped zucchini flesh, mushrooms, remaining marinara in jar (reserve 1 cup for later), parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, fresh ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Remove partially cooked zucchini from baking dish and pour off water. Pour the 1 cup of reserved marinara sauce into the empty baking dish and place zucchini boats on top of the sauce.
- Divide the filling between the zucchini boats. If you have extra filling, spoon it into the dish around the zucchini boats. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is fork tender. Remove dish from oven and set oven to BROIL.
- Remove foil and sprinkle zucchini boats with mozzarella, Parmesan and the panko bread crumbs. Place dish in oven, watching closely, and cook for just a couple of minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.
Mmm, delicious, pizza in a zucchini.
As long as you bought some zucchini, how about making dessert with it also. These cupcakes look awesome, lets face it anything that has almond extract in it is. H
- 3 large eggs
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first five ingredients. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to egg mixture and blend well. Stir in zucchini.
- 2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
- 3. For frosting, combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
- 4. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.
And what can you do with all the rhubarb this time of year. Well, that’s easy, make some delicious strawberry rhubarb jam of course. Here is a great recipe to try.
12 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
Until next time ~Katherine