Thursday, August 10, 2017

Italian stuffed Zucchini Boats

My daughter, Megan, told me the other day about this delicious recipe from pinterest, Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  The next day I looked it up and the recipe came from the blog Valerie's Kitchen.  I happened to have met Valerie years ago at an event.  I've made many of her recipes so I wasn't surprised how good this was.  This serves 4-6 but I have no problem making this for just my husband and I as the leftovers were just as good!

Valerie's recipe serves 6 but she served it with rice.  I didn't make any sides and ended up eating two.  So GOOD!

Recipe slightly adapted from Valerie's KitchenI made a few changes but you can view Valerie's recipe here.  

I loved this sauce, it was packed with flavor!
Favorite brand of Ground Turkey

3 medium zucchini
1 (26 ounces) jar tomato basil marinara, divided (I used Muir Glen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic 
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms or cremini (Baby Bella)
1 pound lean ground turkey
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 mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons Italian style panko bread crumbs

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
2.  Measure out 1 cup of the marinara sauce and set aside. 
3.  Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. Use the tip of a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh from the interior of the zucchini, so they resemble boats.  Chop the zucchini flesh and set aside.
4.   Place the scooped out zucchini boats into a 13" x 9" baking dish Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until just slightly fork-tender. Remove from oven, and set aside. (Don't worry about the liquid in the pan as you'll wipe that out before adding the sauce)
5.  Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper saute for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute. Then add the mushrooms and cut up zucchini.  Saute for another 5 minutes.  Add turkey, stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks until thoroughly cooked. Drain off oil/liquid and return the skillet to the heat.
6.  Add the parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and remaining marinara sauce in the jar (remember 1 cup is set aside for later).   Continue to cook and stir well until combined. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
7.   Remove partially cooked zucchini boats from baking dish and pour out any water, using paper towel dry the dish. Pour the 1 cup of reserved marinara sauce into the empty baking dish and place zucchini boats on top of the sauce.
8.   Divide the filling between the zucchini boats.  Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is fork-tender. Remove dish from oven and remove foil, sprinkle zucchini boats with mozzarella, Parmesan and the panko bread crumbs. Place dish in the oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.  
Serves 4 - 6

When I cut into this pepper, it made me smile to see it had a heart!  

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