|Stuffed Zucchini, a classic dish from my childhood!|
Circa 1970's when I was a kid living in Albuquerque, we had a garden. I mean a big garden, it took up more than half of our backyard, and my mom grew everything, the kids in the neigborhood called her Mother Nature! One of the many favorite things we grew was the zucchini, I loved it so much that I grow it myself now. One of the things that happens when you grow zucchini is that if you turn your back for one minute, a zucchini can go from being just a regular zucchini, to being a monster zucchini and if you're not careful, you can end up with lots of them! When I was a kid, my mom came up with a solution to this problem, a street side zucchini stand! Forget lemonade, we were selling vegies! We would set up a table right there on the corner and cover it with our giant zucchini harvest and my sister Robin and I would sell them to drivers by. Free with every purchase of a giant zucchini was a recipe card (this was before we all had printers) hand written by my mother for her wonderful stuffed zucchini. We always sold out! When they get that large, the seeds tend to get a bit tough, so hollowing them out and stuffing them is the way to go! One Zucchini can feed an entire family.
This year when the giant zucchini harvest started to come in, I contacted Mom for that old recipe. She thinks she had first found the recipe in Woman's Day or Family Circle magazine (our version of the Internet back in the day) So she used that recipe as a base and tweaked it like all good cooks do. It was one of our summertime favorites, I made it for my daughters when they were little and so I was really excited to revisit this favorite from my past. My son Tristan and I took to the kitchen and come up with our version of moms classic stuffed zucchini recipe, we hope you love it!
|Tristan helped me in the kitchen, you have to scoop out the insides of the zucchini.|
|I chopped up fresh herbs, my favorite way to cook.|
|Brown the hamburger, soon it will be mixed with all kinds of good things!.|
|Stuffed Zucchini all ready to go in the oven!|
One giant zucchini, at least a 2 lb one, or substitute several small ones
1 lb ground beef
1/2 large onion diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
the pulp from the zucchini with seeds removed, chopped finely
1 cup bread crumbs
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 sprig of each chopped, fresh basil, rosemary, oregano
1/2 tsp cracked red pepper
1 tsp Cavendars Greek seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain off the fat, then move the beef to one side of the pan and saute the onions and garlic on the other side until the onions. Mix the meat in with onions and garlic remove the meat from heat and let it cool.
Cut the stem off of the zucchini and slice the zucchini lengthwise. With a spoon scoop out the seeds and pulp from both halves. Pick the seeds out of the pulp the best you can and chop the pulp finely. Add it to a large bowl along with all the herbs and seasonings, bread crumbs, tomato sauce, egg, and 1 cup of the cheese and mix. When the ground beef is cool enough that it won't cook the egg, add it to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini halves, it's ok if it mounds on top. Then top with the rest of the other half of the cheese. Place in a 9x13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray and add about a 1/4" water in the bottom and bake at about 350º until the Zucchini is tender when pierced with a knife and the cheese is a little brown on top.
Serve this dish up with lots of love and some crusty hot bread and a summer salad. Pasta salad is a nice side dish for this one too. I have so many giant zucchini, I'm going to scoop out the centers of a couple and freeze them like that so we can have this dish later in the year.