Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Hi, friends! I've got a couple of things to report! 1) Feeling adventurous, I took a Pilates class for the first time ever last night in place of my normal Zumba class, and today, everything hurts. Pilates is a body conditioning routine that emphasizes developing a strong core and practicing good breathing. It also helps to improve muscle strength and flexibility, endurance, blah blah blah.
Though the objectives are lofty and lovely, the point is, today, I cannot laugh, cough, sneeze, or perform any actions that may accidentally engage my abdominal muscles because they hurt. *Sigh* Oh, and so do my inner thighs...come to think of it, my lower back, shoulders, and triceps are sore too. Sheesh. It's a good hurt, but it still hurts. On the brighter, less painful side, 2) I've lost a little more than eight pounds in the past three weeks :) I know it isn't much, but I think it's important to celebrate small victories. I'm excited and encouraged! :)
Anyway, onto tonight's recipe: when I'm at the grocery store, I try to buy ingredients that I don't use very often so as to branch out and try new things, in the hope of becoming a better, more mature cook and developing a more "refined" palate. Also, I want to mix it up for you guys! I find that sometimes I just resort to cooking and baking the same kinds of foods because they're easy and familiar.
Today, I used familiar ingredients to make a dish that I've seen many times but never actually prepared: stuffed zucchini boats. They're filled with savory ingredients like turkey sausage, Parmesan cheese, onion, and garlic, and brightened up with fresh basil and tomato! I adapted this recipe from Annie's Eats.

  • 1 zucchini, about 12 inches long (or 2 6-inch)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 pound lean turkey sausage or ground turkey (I used half a pound since it was only me)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine (I had red, so I substituted that for the white)
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I had fresh shredded Parmesan so I used that instead)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I hardly used any!)

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out insides with a spoon, leaving a shell about ¼-inch thick. Reserve about half of the insides.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and reserved zucchini insides to the skillet and sauté another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in the sausage or ground turkey and cook until lightly browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cooked onion and mushroom mixture. Add the wine to the pan along with the tomatoes and basil. Cook for 1 more minute. Drain any excess fat, and remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375. Once the turkey mixture has cooled a bit, mix in the Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper. Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture. Fill a baking dish with ¼-inch of water. Place the filled zucchini shells in the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the zucchini and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts-- Servings: 4 Size: 1 zucchini boat Calories: 245 • Fat:  15.9 g • Carbs: 6.6 g • Fiber: 1.9 g  Protein: 18.9 g • Sugars: 3.1 g 

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