Zucchini Boats

zucchini boats

We love zucchini in this house–zoodles, zoodlasagna, zucchini muffins…  If I had a sunnier yard, I would have a garden full of zucchini every year.  I’m pretty sure I discovered zucchini boats during a very brief low-carb diet stint I had.  Why on earth I ever thought that was a good idea for someone that loves bread as much as I do, I will never know.  Despite my quick abandonment of a bread-free life, this recipe stuck around.  These days, this is another of my stand-by, easy to assemble dishes that often ends up on the table at the end of a busy day.  Scooping out the zucchini is the only fussy bit but it isn’t a horrible task.

scooped out

This is a great method to remake leftovers that linger in the fridge.  I’ve made these with leftover taco meat, bulk sausage, as well as chili that I have strained a little to remove some liquid.  Any type of flavored meat will be delicious in zucchini boats and the zucchini soaks up the flavor of whatever seasonings the meat bring.  For this version of the boats, I had some leftover cooked up bulk hot italian pork sausage in the fridge.

assemble!

Zucchini Boats

Zucchini.  In this case, choose larger zucchini so they will be big enough to fill.  Plan on 1-2 zucchini per adult.

Meat filling.  Bulk sausage, taco meat, ground beef, chili are all great choices.  You will need about 1/2 of a cup for each pair of zucchini boats.

Some type of sauce.  Unless you are using chili which has some liquid component to it already, you will need some sauce.  I opt for a basic marinara or a jarred pizza sauce if I have it in the fridge.

Cheese!  I use mozzarella or shredded cheddar/jack mix.  Whatever seems like it will pair with the meat best.

Assemble!  Slice the zucchini in half length-wise and scoop out some of the middles.  You can use a spoon or a melon scoop.  This is the trickiest part of assembling and I have found holding the zucchini in my hand rather than keeping it on the board minimizes breakage.  Season the zucchini with some salt and pepper after you’ve scooped them out.

Fill with the meat mix of your choice and spoon some sauce over it.  Top with the cheese of your choice.

Bake at 400 until golden and delicious.  About 20 minutes.

goldenanddelicious

Zucchini with Fried Onions

Zucchini was pretty much absent from my childhood.  I don’t know if it is a general midwestern thing or just my family’s general dislike of vegetables. Whatever the reason for my zucchini-barren upbringing, I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life making up for lost time.

Years ago, I came across a recipe for Zucchini Parmesan Crisps in one of those 4 ingredient/15 minute magazines by the checkout. It is completely delicious but, honestly, kind of a pain in the ass. “Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.” Ain’t nobody got time for that when we all want a pile of these things on our plate.

Enter the tart pan and french fried onions.

Zucchini

I’ve made some modifications to the original recipe in this photo but I’ve also made the original breadcrumb/parmesan topping and added it to the tart pan arrangement and its quite delicious as well.

My Lazy Zucchini:

2-3 Zucchini, depending on size
3 tblsp Zesty Italian dressing (or olive oil)
French Fried Onions
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 450.

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch rounds and line them up in circles in the tart pan, overlapping them slightly.

Drizzle with the salad dressing or olive oil. (I recommend the salad dressing. Its easy and adds a lot of spices and flavor.) Add your salt and pepper as well.

Crush up the onions a little bit and sprinkle on top. You can use as many or as few as you like–basically whatever is left in the can after everyone eats a handful.

Throw it in the oven. It won’t take long to cook–maybe 10 minutes? I pull it out when I can stick a knife into a zucchini without a lot of resistance and the onions are nicely browned.

These don’t keep well but you probably won’t have any leftovers anyway.