Friday, June 4, 2010

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini

First of all, I have to say that we don't normally grow our zucchini to the magnitude of just over two pounds a piece. I like them small and delicate for my fritters and casseroles. I'm weird that way. I'm not the one who prides myself on large puffy zucchini that's horribly tough and inedible. Nor do I leave them in bags on my neighbor's front porches late at night...on fire. You know who you are...evil zucchini vandals.

This monster zucchini-guy just happened to hide under a fat leaf and bulk up on carbs when I wasn't looking. I'm actually kind of glad he did, because I was thinking to myself, " self...I need to collect some seeds from these open pollinated grown from seed zucchini plants so I can see if they will really follow through and grow again next year from seed." I think that way in real life. I do. Scary isn't it? Yes, I actually address myself as "self" when I talk to myself. That is also perfectly normal...for a kooky chick. What is not allowing zucchini to get so large. They get seeds that are, what I refer to as "honkin' huge". I hate to break down and use slang. However, the seeds do get large when the zucchini is allowed to mature. At this point the bad boy squash is good for one of two things (in my mind anyway) zucchini bread or stuffed for dinner with the seeds removed.

We opted for the stuffed version. Call it Pizza Stuffed and guess what? The kids go baaa-zonkers! Bonus points if I can make it double as a freezer meal. True? Okay so here's the beast.

Here's how I do it.
You will need:

2lb large zucchini
4 oz lean turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
2 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
1 medium onion, minced
1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
3 eggs (or 3/4 cup egg replacement)
1T Italian Seasoning
1 tsp ground oregano
1 clove pressed garlic
6 oz tomato paste
2 T fresh minced Italian Parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Combine sausage and bread. Set aside.

Slice the zucchini into 6 pieces, about 2 inches long.

Pull the guts out with a spoon. Now seriously, what is the technical name for the guts? I know it's "pulp" or something neat. Technical smart stuff...leave about 1/2 inch at the bottom so the zucchini wedge is like a squash bowl. Doesn't that look righteous?

If any seed are there just staring at them out. I mean, tenderly remove them. Let's not be totally barbaric with the zucchini on steroids. After all, squash are the good guys. They just shouldn't lurk under large leaves and plan a revolt. It's just mutiny. Now, make an example of this freak, by mangling the innards and removing the vital organs. Oh dear...I don't know where that violent talk came from, but perhaps it's good I take it out on a vegetable. Right? Actually, I am referring to the fact that it is good to remove the large seeds and chop the pulp before you cook it. Now doesn't that sound more feminine and refined.

Take those seeds at the bottom out as well. Place zucchini in a microwave safe dish and heat on high setting 5 minutes while you cook the stuffing.
Saute the onion, bell pepper, carrots, pressed garlic and zucchini pulp until tender, about five minutes.

Allow to cool until under 140 degrees (so it won't cook the egg), about ten minutes. Add the bread, sausage, Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley, and eggs. Stir well.
Spoon mixture into zucchini shells, mounding if desired. I desire. Yes I do. Now here's the secret. You might miss it, so I'll type very slowly. Bake the zucchini in the oven, covered, for 15 minutes at 375 degrees OR microwave uncovered 5-7 minutes until stuffing is cooked through. No...I didn't add the cheese yet.

Once filling is cooked, top with cheese. If you use this as a freezer meal, cool at this point and place in freezer safe Ziploc bags. Remove as much air as possible. Did I mention these make great single servings to reheat later for lunches? Just thought I'd throw that in there. Now, if you decide you want to go ahead and have it for dinner tonight, place back in the microwave and heat about 3 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

You can bake it uncovered for another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Note: Don't heat the seeds if you are going to plant them though. We don't want to kill any enzymes. I let them air dry for 3-4 days and then bag them in a freezer bag. Seal tightly and place in a jar in the freezer.
We eat the rest of the Pizza stuffed zucchini for dinner. It's a romantic way to die if you're a zucchini...I suppose.

To serve freezer meal: Place individual portion of zucchini on a microwave safe dish and heat 3-4 minutes until heated through.

There you go.

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Yum, Yum! If only I had monstrous zucchini growing in my garden. If only my zucchini where larger than 1 inch right now. I guess we'll just have to wait.

Delish looking recipe!

Love ya!