When your garden is overflowing with zucchini this is great recipe to cook for tonight and also several to freeze for another.
But first a confession. I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen, as a young bride and then as a mother. Each plateau entered me into a new level of cooking and culinary experiences. For whatever reason, over the years I have collected many of the recipes I have enjoyed making and the family enjoyed eating. I mean boxes full and they moved with us just like the furniture. Remember, we never had a computer until the 80’s so how else could I save them all to fall back on.
Every now and then I shuffle through the boxes and make an effort to discard a few of the recipes, but somehow that never happens. They are like old friends and they remind me of times gone by. Sometimes I marvel at my accomplishments when I think of a well-orchestrated meal and other recipes make me shudder when I recall the disaster.
One such remembrance although it embarrassed me, also makes me laugh. We lived in New Jersey, it was the 70’s, we then had 3 children, maybe 4, we proudly had a garden and we grew zucchini – lots of zucchini. I had pages of recipes for zucchini but my favorite was to make a stuffing and freeze the zucchini for a quick supper after a busy day.
That day came. Charlie called to tell me he was bringing his boss home for dinner. I was trying to get ready for a PTA Meeting. It was a year when I was President. I was rushed. What to do first. Straighten up the house, polish the kids and have them ready for bed and plan a dinner for Charlie and his boss. Yes, the zucchini enters the picture. Prepared a few side items, set the table and put the zucchini in the oven with instructions for the babysitter who was going to entertain the children until bedtime so that Charlie had time with his boss. All in order, I left confident of the meal.
Returning home, I was surprised that Charlie’s boss was still there. After some social conversation he mentioned that dinner held a added surprise for him. Seems that when he cut into his zucchini a nice fat worm landed on his plate. Not to worry he said laughing, it was fully cooked. With all that the zucchini went through before I froze it I don’t know how I missed the worm. I laugh about it to this day. That should be the worst thing I ever served, but it was not!
- 4 medium zucchini or 2 large
- 1 pound ground beef – or half beef and half pork
- 1 medium onion – chopped
- sprinkle of garlic powder
- 3/4 cup marinara sauce
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper – to taste
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
- Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving thin shells but make sure you do not cut through the skin. They will look like little boats.
- Place shells in a lightly greased microwave-safe casserole dish. Cover and microwave on high for a few minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook your choice of ground meat together with the chopped onion.
- When the meat is no longer red, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the zucchini pulp and continue to cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; and the zucchini pulp is hot. Drain most of the liquid.
- Remove from the heat; and spoon all into a bowl. mix in the egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and about half of the cheese and mix well. Add the marinara sauce and mix well.
- Divide filling among the zucchini shells. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 350º for about 25-30 minutes or until the filling is completely cooked and the zucchini shell is tender
- To serve, pass more hot marinara sauce and some crusty Italian bread.