Tag Archives: zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

 

With the end of summer and onset of fall, summer fruits and vegetables begin to close down shop. The last of the tomatoes are ripening on the vine, the peppers are turning red, and the final enormous baseball bat sized zucchini are finally the last of the crop with no more flowers in sight. If you’ve exhausted the number of times you can make stir fry, or latkes, or zoodles, and have bags full of shredded zucchini in the freezer for later, here is a great recipe to make zucchini taste brand new to close out the season!

This recipe has a lovely presentation, and will make people think you’re a master chef who spent hours in the kitchen. In truth this takes about 10 minutes of prep and assembly, then you simply bake it until ready. You can easily make this vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and using tofu or lentils or some other kind of bean / meat substitute.

20160711_181242

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 smaller zucchini, cored
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salsa (optional but recommended)
  • Optional: spices to taste

20160711_181432

Step 1: Cut the zucchini in half length wise, and use a knife or spoon to scrape out the inside core. Make sure you remove all the seeds, but you can save the pulp to add to the stuffing.

20160711_181622

Step 2: In a bowl, mix the cooked rice and meat (or beans, tofu, etc) with the pieces of zucchini pulp and salsa. Add the eggs and bread crumbs and any spices you want and mix well.

20160711_181919

Step 3: Spoon the stuffing mixture back into the hollowed out zucchini boats.

20160711_181928

Step 4: Bake face-up on a baking sheet in an oven set to 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until zucchini is soft enough to pierce with a fork and stuffing is slightly crunchy on top.

20160711_191627

That’s all there is to it! You can sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese or garlic salt right before serving, or add extra salsa on top. You can sneak extra veggies in there too, I added a few bites of some roasted beets I had in the refrigerator, as you can see by the lovely pink color.

 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 smaller zucchini, cored
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup salsa (optional but recommended)
  • Optional: spices to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the zucchini in half length wise, and use a knife or spoon to scrape out the inside core. Make sure you remove all the seeds, but you can save the pulp to add to the stuffing.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice and meat (or beans, tofu, etc) with the pieces of zucchini pulp and salsa. Add the eggs and bread crumbs and any spices you want and mix well.
  3. Spoon the stuffing mixture back into the hollowed out zucchini boats.
  4. Bake face-up on a baking sheet in an oven set to 350 for about 25-30 minutes, until zucchini is soft enough to pierce with a fork and stuffing is slightly crunchy on top.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegetarian/stuffed-zucchini-boats/

 

 

 

Save

Stuffed Squash Flowers

 

If there’s one thing every gardener knows, it’s to always over-plant zucchini plants.  Just kidding. Every gardener reading this just did a facepalm I bet.

Zucchini is notorious for going from a few fan-like leaves to a gigantic jungle of non-stop baseball-bat sized squash within days. The things just can’t stop won’t stop. And every summer, we still seem surprised when we end up with so many of the dang things, we can’t even give them away anymore.

(That won’t stop me from planting it and loving it every year!)

Squash flowers in the garden

Once you have exhausted all the stir-fried zucchini, zucchini bread, and Zoodles (zucchini noodles), you may stop to wonder, where do these things keep coming from?!

The answer: flowers!

Flowers get pollinated and produce new zucchini. Flowers are also tender and delicious when stuffed and fried. Why not do yourself (and your neighbors) a favor, and eat some before they grow into a 10-pound giant you forgot under a leaf until it got too big and woody to eat?? Also they are just really, really good.

Ingredients for stuffed squash flowers

Ingredients:

  • 6-12 zucchini or any squash flower
  • 2-3 tbsp cottage cheese (any kind of cheese)
  • 2-3 tbsp ground beef
  • 1 egg, or 3-4 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut preferably)

Fried stuffed squash flowers

Step 1: Rinse the flowers and make sure there are no friends still inside. Not a joke, I picked some flowers and dropped one in shock when it buzzed. A bee flew right out!

Step 2: Gently peel the flowers open, and pick out the stamen. Stuff a tiny bit of beef and cheese inside. To keep these vegetarian, you could use any cooked vegetable or grain combo and forego the meats and cheese.

Fried stuffed squash flowers

Step 3: Roll the stuffed flowers in the egg or milk, and then in the breadcrumbs. Completely coat it. Heat the oil just until it start to sizzle, then add the flowers. Fry for 1 minute and flip, fry the other side. Place onto a plate, and then try to let them cool enough to scarf them down!

You could stuff these little guys with any number of things, from rice to quinoa, to shredded carrots or feta. If you want it to be totally vegan, use plain water instead of egg to make the breadcrumbs stick. I made 8, and my husband only got ahold of one of them before I demolished the whole plate! You’re lucky I even got photos…

 

Have you ever tried stuffed flowers? What do you stuff them with? Let me know below!

 

Beef Heart & Zucchini Stir Fry

 

Yup you read that right.

For my 400th (!!!) post, we are talking about beef heart. As in the thing that keeps the cow alive. (Sorry if that is a bit too real for you.) And also because I love all you readers who keep this fun for me! I can’t believe I have posted four hundred recipes and random ramblings, and y’all keep coming back for more…

But heart is really good! I promise. Just like chicken liver makes a great pasta sauce, give this organ a chance to impress. Organ meats are part of the whole animal, and humans have a very long history of using every bit. Only recently have our palates become pickier, such that regular pieces like bones, tail, tongue, and liver are no longer the norm, and are even looked at askance.

Organ meats can be tremendously beneficial for your health, supplying tons of iron, selenium, and other trace and important minerals. They can of course, also wreck your health, if eaten from tainted sources or too frequently. Organ meats do tend to include higher than muscle levels of cholesterol.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop has a great article containing many common objections to organ meats, along with the true facts. Beef heart is a great organ meat to start with, because it’s flavorful, surprisingly lean, and inexpensive. On average, a serving costs half of a comparable serving of beef chuck roast, and the taste is much milder than liver (for those having nightmares of “liver and onions” right now).

20100301-nastybits-fabricatedheart

A 3-ounce serving of beef heart has just 95 calories and 15 grams of protein, and only contains 3 grams of total fat in a 3-ounce serving, which is only slightly more than the same portion of chicken breast. Beef heart is a rich source of all the B vitamins except folate, but it’s especially high in vitamin B-12. Three ounces provide more than 200 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Many cultures which still enjoy organ meats use beef heart, such as anticuchos, a beef heart kebab which is the most popular dish in Peru. Argentina is a large beef producer, and nearly all the hearts are shipped to Peru because of such high demand. Beef heart takes well both to fast, high-heat searing and long, slow low-cooking. You can even ask your butcher to grind it up, and mix it into your lean ground beef. Bet you wouldn’t even notice a difference!

In this recipe, I combined very inexpensive, pre-cut heart with seasonally abundant zucchini for a ridiculously low-cost-per-plate meal, served with a simple sauce over rice. The beef (2lb) was $1.44, the zucchini was free from the garden, but let’s say you bought it at the store for about $1.00, an onion & some mushrooms would be about $1.00, and the 2 cups of rice maybe another $0.50 or so. A few tbsp of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce adds a couple more pennies.

That brings the total for two meals to about $3, or $1.50 per serving. Beat that, fast food!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 pounds beef heart cut into chunks or strips
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 pint mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

IMG_8965

Step 1: Dice the onion, mushrooms, and zucchini. In a frying pan, add 1 tbsp oil and the veggies. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until onion is translucent and the zucchini is softened.

IMG_8966

Step 2: If you didn’t buy pre-cut heart, cut the fat and tendons off the meat, then cut into chunks or strips. Add the meat and the sauces to the pan. Cook on medium heat 5-7 minutes, stirring, until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Step 3: In a separate pot or rice cooker, cook 1-2 cups of rice. Serve half the mixture over half the rice on two plates. You could also serve this over couscous, quinoa, barley, brown rice, on its own, or in pita pockets.

 

Beef Heart & Zucchini Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 pound beef heart cut into chunks or strips
  • 1 white onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or fish sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion and zucchini. In a frying pan, add 1 tbsp oil and the veggies. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until onion is translucent and the zucchini is softened.
  2. If you didn't buy pre-cut heart, cut the fat and tendons off the meat, then cut into chunks or strips. Add the meat and the sauces to the pan. Cook on medium heat 5-7 minutes, stirring, until meat is thoroughly cooked.
  3. Serve half the mixture over rice, couscous, quinoa, or on its own with juices.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/finances/beef-heart-zucchini-stir-fry/

Chicken Piccata with Zoodles

 

Ask any gardener, and they will tell you that by mid-to-late summer zucchini plants are going bananas, and you can’t give the stuff away fast enough! This is an awesome time of year, when zucchini can be had cheaply at the super markets and farmers markets (or maybe your neighbor, just ask nicely).

photo 2
My striped zucchini

Be prepared, there may be lots of zucchini recipes in the near future, especially since I planted 8 plants this year! Here’s an article with a dozen recipe ideas, I’m sure at least a few will find their way to my test kitchen in the upcoming months.

photo 1
The regular and grey zucchini

This recipe was my first experience with the new food craze of “zoodles”, the cute name for noodles made from zucchini. You can try to hand-julienne them, but a mandoline slicer makes the job far easier. Bascially, the whole zucchini gets shredded into thin noodle-like strands and cooked, then treated like pasta. But way healthier! You’ll get loads of vitamins, plus fiber.

This chicken piccata recipe makes enough for 4. You could easily cut this in half, or double it and freeze some, depending on your mood. I mixed half regular pasta and half zoodles for my first taste, but you can feel free to go all-in, or even use spaghetti squash pasta instead.

Ingredients:

  • 4 half chicken breasts
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 huge ripe zucchini
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-6 tbsp capers
  • Sea salt to taste

IMG_8767

Step 1: In a frying pan, heat up 1 tbsp oil. Dice the garlic into tiny pieces, and cut the ends off the zucchini. Add the garlic and chicken to the oil, and cover the pan. Cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, then flip and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink at all.

IMG_8772

Step 2: Boil your pasta noodles 8-10 minutes. While pasta is boiling, take out the mandoline and slice the zucchini into thin strands*. Add the zoodles in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking with the pasta.

*See bottom of post for full instructions

IMG_8774

Step 3: Drain the pasta and zoodles. Add to the pan with the chicken, and pour in the oil, lemon juice, and capers. Cover, and steam cook 5-7 minutes.

IMG_8775

Once everything is heated through, place on plate, season to your liking, and serve! This is a double-portion, because my fiancee eats like a racehorse who just finished the Triple Crown.

IMG_8777

The capers and lemon juice give this dish a nice tangy flavor, while the zoodles add a mellow vegetal taste.  You could also use shrimp here, or broil or boil the chicken instead of pan-frying. Go forth and get your servings of sneaky veggies!

 

To make zoodles:

1. Set your mandoline to the thinnest setting. This will make long thin sheets. Add the comb to slice into noodles.

2. Place the zucchini flat on the mandoline top-to-bottom (lengthwise) and push down the mandoline face. This will cut the first layer. Move the zoodles from  underneath the mandoline to a plate.

3. Put the zucchini back to the top of the mandoline, now flat side down, and push down again. Continue until you have a very thin layer left. Hand-slice this layer, or be very very careful to not slice off your thumb!

Ratatouille niçoise

There are several recipes or types of food which I’ve heard of, tried, or seen but have not yet tried to cook myself. One of those is ratatouille. The 2007 Disney movie brought the dish into the main stream consciousness with its adorable main character, Remy, a rat who just wanted to be a great chef. Ever since then it’s been in the back of my mind as a ‘make this someday’ dish.

Ratatouille the dish is traditionally a French dish consisting of stewed vegetables. It originated in the French province of Nice, and comes from the Occitan language “ratatolha” and the French word “touiller” meaning to toss food. There are similar dishes in many other cuisines, including the Catalan samfaina, the Majorcan tombet, the Spanish pisto, the Italian caponata, Greek tourloú, and Filipino pinkabet. French chef Michel Guérard came up with a new version called Confit byaldi for the Disney movie. It can be served as a side dish, or made a whole meal when served over rice.

In my version, I pulled together several variations, and used what I had available in my kitchen. I had planned on a potato leek soup sometime this week, but silly me had only bought one leek, so into the ratatouille it went. While I’m at it, I’ll throw the potato in there too. Oh, and a single turnip I had bought for who knows what reason. Also I had no fresh tomatoes, but my pantry is never without a can of diced tomatoes.



Ingredients:
3 zucchini (I just happened to have three different colors, so at least it’ll look pretty)
1 turnip
1 potato
1 leek
1/2 red onion
3 large bulbs garlic
1 leek
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 green bell pepper, sliced

Step 1: Slice the onion into thin strips, dice up the garlic, and slice the leek. Add them and the bell pepper to a frying pan on low with the butter and cover.

Let that cook and caramelize, stirring occasionally, while you preheat the oven to 350 and proceed to the next step. 

Step 2: Slice the zucchini into thin coins. Peel and slice the potato and turnip as well.

 Step 3: Layer the potato, turnip, and zucchini in a casserole pan.

Step 3: To the pan add the can of diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then pour over the vegetables in the casserole dish.

Step 4: Cover in foil and bake at 350 for 45 min to an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when the slices are soft when poked with a fork.

I also took the foil off after 45 minutes and let it bake another 15 minutes to evaporate some of the juices. You can now serve it over rice or couscous, with fresh crusty bread, and/or sprinkle on some mozzarella. Deliciously vegetarian and very low fat and low calorie. Bake up a batch, put on the Ratatouille movie or some classic Julia Child and enjoy!

If you have a favorite French recipe, anecdote of your trip Paris or first year of chef school, or a story of attempting a French recipe that ended unfortunately, please share here!

Easy side dish: Oven-Roasted Vegetables

.
This is seriously one of the best side dishes ever! You can use literally any vegetable you have on hand, it takes only a few minutes, and it is super healthy AND tasty. I could eat oven-roasted veggies with every meal and not get tired of it.
.
Ingredients:
1 baking potato, diced
1/2 onion, cut into strips
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
Nature’s Seasoning
Garlic salt
 .
Step 1: Dice up your veggies. This is the only work you have to do.
.
Step 2: Coat your veggies in olive oil, put into an oven-safe pan.
.
Step 3: Sprinkle with seasonings. Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
You could use any kind of potato here, add broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, bok choi, kale, mushrooms, eggplant, the list goes on and on. Enjoy!


 

Moroccan Beef & Couscous

.
So this is another one where I had some odds & ends, found a recipe that used most of the ingredients, then changed it to fit what I felt like making. Original recipe is from GoodHousekeeping.
.
Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 can chickpeas
1/2 zucchini, diced
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1/2 cup carrot, sliced
2 tbsp dried onion (I would have preferred a whole onion diced, but didn’t have one)
2 tbsp dried cranberries
Cinnamon, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper
1 box wheat couscous
1 cup chicken stock

Step 1: Dice the vegetables and saute in a frying pan over medium heat.

Step 2: The recipe called for the beef to be cooked in the same pan, but if I were to do it again I’d cook the beef separately so I could drain the fat easier. Cook the beef until no longer pink.

 
Step 3: Add 2 tbsp of the cumin and paprika, and 1 tbsp of garlic and cinnamon.
.
Step 4: Open and drain the chickpeas, add to the pan and heat through. Stir in the cranberries and cover 2 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the couscous as directed. I put it in a microwave-safe pan with a cover, added the stock and included spice packet and microwaved on high 5 minutes.

Step 6: Fluff the cooked couscous. Put about 1/4 cup in a bowl, and spoon 1/2 cup beef and veggie mix on top. Enjoy!

I was given the advice to add onion (which I definitely will next time) and pineapple to add a bit of sweet, which I totally agree with. I might try adding eggplant too. You could use any vegetable you like, and try different spices too. The beefy, soft veggie, sweetness combo is perfect over soft fluffy couscous.