Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Savory Post: Stuffed Zucchini Boats

As much as I have divulged to you my intense love of baking, this doesn't hold true for cooking. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cooking, but I don't love it. Cooking is something I have to do for my family and the harriedness of most days leaves me rushing to throw together something that is quick and easy, yet homemade and tasty. Dinners also have to be something we will all eat with minimal coaxing, so as to maintain my sanity at the end of the day.
There are people who are naturals at this - they can look in their fridge and create a masterpiece from what's at hand. I am not one of those people. So trying to figuring out what to make for dinner most nights adds to the stress of this seemingly harmless question: What's for dinner? I bet you're wondering where I'm going with this. How is she going to end up at dessert? Dessert for dinner, perhaps? No. As much as I myself could eat dessert for dinner every night of the week, I would not subject my family to that (though I think my kids would gladly vote for it).
As I was preparing dinner this morning (You heard me right. I have a busy evening, so I prepped dinner this morning. Don't you do that sometimes?), I was thinking about how people are always so impressed with it - the healthfulness, the ease with which it comes together, the delish factor. So I decided to post it on my blog! That's right - a savory recipe on my sweet blog! I think pizza was the only other savory recipe I have posted in my short blogging career.
I'm not sure where this recipe came from - I might have caught it on TV one day or read it somewhere - but I'm delighted to share it with you.This dish is fun to make and fun to eat - Stuffed Zucchini Boats. It is made by scooping out the innards of a zucchini and filling them with a yummy ground turkey mixture and then baking and topping them with cheese. It satisfies all healthy dinner requirements and I can throw it together in under 15 minutes and then refrigerate until dinner time, when I bake it off to oozy, bubbly, cheesy goodness. Today, I served them with garlicky breadsticks, which was just baked strips of pizza dough brushed with a mixture of melted salted butter and minced garlic. Kids enjoy the fun factor, getting to eat "boats" for dinner and I am happy knowing that dinner, for today anyway, was a success.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats
(Origin, unknown)

6 large zucchinis, well scrubbed
1 t salt

1 lb ground turkey
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 T ketchup
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T tomato paste
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c parmesan cheese

6 T ketchup
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 350F.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh to 1/4" thickness. Place the zucchini on a sheet pan. I like to cover my pans in foil. It makes for an easy clean-up. Slice a thin piece off the bottom of each zucchini half so that they stay in place when on your tray rather than roll around. Sprinkle 1 t salt over the zucchini and let them sit while you prepare the filling. This helps to pull out any excess moisture from the zucchini.

In a bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine. Wipe the zucchini of any excess moisture and then use a spoon to fill the zucchini boats with the turkey mixture.
To make the topping, whisk the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to combine. Spread on top of the stuffed zucchini.

At this point, the zucchini can be covered and refrigerated until you are ready to bake them.
When you are ready to bake, put the tray, uncovered, in your preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out the tray and sprinkle the zucchini boats with 1/4 c parmesan cheese. Place it back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes, so the cheese can melt.
Serve warm and enjoy.

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