Monday, July 9, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Duel

As you may know, or at least have surmised, I love zucchini.  I think I could find a way to put it in a meal every day.  Although I don't always do that.  :)  Since it is summer and zucchini season everyone is always looking for more ways to make zucchini.  Here are a couple of stuffed squash recipes that we have tried recently and really enjoyed. 

The first recipe is one I just made up on a whim.  D loves Italian food and since I have given up grains, that makes eating Italian a bit harder.  I wanted something with a spaghetti/meat sauce and just made it up as I went along.  We have made this recipe a few times and really like the squash.  I tried it this last time in a Patty-pan squash instead of zucchini.  I had never cooked with Patty-pan squash before but we both enjoyed it.  It seems to have a texture somewhere between zucchini and spaghetti squash.   The pictures I have are of the the Patty-pan but I have done it with zucchini and it is equally good if not better. Here is the recipe.  Although it is more of a vague plan to follow than a full-on recipe.  :) 

Italian Stuffed Squash 
1-2 squash (zucchini, yellow, or patty-pan)
spaghetti sauce
ground beef or sausage
1 small onion
black olives
shredded cheese (Parmesan, cheddar, Italian blend, or cheese of your choice)
herbs/seasonings of choice (basil, red pepper, oregano, etc)

You will first need to prepare the squash.  This means cutting them in half and scooping out most of the seed part of the squash.  If you are using a fairly young zucchini or yellow squash, you can chop up this part of the squash and cook it in your filling.

For the filling I have made a spaghetti sauce similar to the sauce I made for the zucchini pizza post earlier.  I use the lowest carb tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce I can find.  It will usually contain no sugar.  Then I add spices to beef it up.  I have added homemade pesto before or just some fresh basil, a little garlic, some crushed red pepper and a little seasoning salt.  To finish the filling, brown up your meat.  I have done this recipe with ground beef and with hot breakfast sausage. I usually use a pound of meat.  If you like Italian sausage, I am sure that would be delicious too.  I don't like anise seed so I rarely use Italian sausage in my recipes.  In the patty-pan squash dish, I used hot breakfast sausage and then browned some mushrooms & onions as well.  Finally, I added a little diced garlic and the tomato sauce to the meat & veggies.  Next I added a few black olives to the mix and stired in some cheese.  I like to use Parmesan in the filling because it is a heartier cheese but I will use whatever is in my fridge.  You can use as much or as little as you like but I usually use about a half cup of shredded cheese in the filling. 

Now it is time to fill your squash. Place the squash into a baking pan.  I have used both a glass 9" x 13" baking pan as well as a baking sheet (used below). Then fill the squash until full & slightly mounded over.  Finally you can place a little shredded cheese on top. 

Next you will bake your squash at 350 for 30 to 35 min until the squash is fork tender and the cheese is melted & slightly browned. 

Take out of the oven, serve & enjoy! 

Stuffed squash recipe #2 was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe I found through  Here is the original recipe:  Stuffed Tex-Mex Yellow Squash.  As always, I changed it up a little.  :)  So here is what I did.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Zucchini
adapted from Martha Stewart
4 squash (yellow or zucchini)
1 lb ground beef
Worcestershire sauce
1 medium to small onion, diced
1-2 tsp minced garlic
2-3 mini sweet peppers, diced
black olives
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder (I use New Mexico chili powder)
4 Tbsp Red Chile Sauce
3/4 c to 1 c shredded cheddar cheese

First you will need to prepare your squash.  Cut in half lengthwise and then scoop out the part with seeds.  Save the scooped out part to add back to your filling.   I used a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the seed part.  I think it works pretty well.  Once you have them all scooped out you can place in the pan of your choice.  Like I mentioned in the past recipe, I have done stuffed zucchini in both a glass pan as well as a baking sheet as pictured below.  We actually cooked these on the an experiment.  So we moved them to aluminum foil on the grill. 

Next you need to make your filling.  This is similar to making a taco meat filling I think.  Brown your meat up.  I add a large dash of Worcestershire sauce to my hamburger any time I brown it up (for tacos, chili, etc).  As the meat starts to get done, I start adding in the seasoning.  I especially like for cumin & chile powder to cook for a while.  I think it makes their flavor better.  So I add in each of the spices (cumin, coriander, seasoning salt, black pepper & chile powder) and mix it up.  After the spices are incorporated, I add the diced onion, peppers & squash and let them cook down with the beef & spices.  I like to keep my veggies slightly crispy so I don't cook these for a super long time.  Finally I add in the garlic and let it cook for just a couple of minutes.  Last add in the red chile sauce.  You can choose to buy a canned or jarred version of red chile sauce.  It might be labeled enchilada sauce.  Or you could even use a favorite salsa.  I used some red chile sauce that we make called Chile Colorado.  I can share that recipe in a later post.

Last stir in about 1/2 c of shredded cheese.  I used Mexican cheese blend here but you could use your cheese of choice.  A cheddar would be good or even Monterrey Jack.  Then you need to fill your squash with your filling.  I prefer to fill my squash as full as I can get them, sort of mounding the filling up.

Last sprinkle on some extra cheese & place a few sliced black olives on top. Then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, till the squash are fork tender & the cheese is bubbly.  We cooked these on the grill on aluminum foil for about 15 minutes on low.  The bottoms of the squash did get a little extra grill flavor (i.e. black), but we still thought they tasted yummy. 

Hope you enjoy the dueling stuffed squash recipes!

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