Friday, August 30, 2013

Disaster Chef: Foodie Friday: Stuffed Zucchini, Squash, and Peppers

Today I'm putting aside Project Pinterest to share one of my very own recipes. It is super simple and delicious.

I started out trying to find a recipe on Pinterest for stuffed zucchini, but I couldn't find any that matched what I wanted to do. I already had in my head what it should be like. I found quite a few recipes, but none that looked like what I wanted. So, I kind of winged it (that's my usual cooking style anyway). They turned out really well! I was so dern proud of my little old self for making something tasty that I just had to share my own recipe. I later used this same exact formula for making peppers, and they were also excellent.

First, I put on some brown rice to simmer, since it takes 40-45 minutes. I left the timer on for this, and asked my sister to turn the stove off when it went off, and I took a little walk. Of course she didn't turn it off, even though she was home, so the rice got a little scorched. But I managed to salvage all but the bottom layer, which by this time was hopelessly fused to the bottom of the pan. The rest of it tasted fine, so I forged onwards. Word of warning, do not count on others to turn off your food, even if you set the timer, even if they are going to be eating said food!

I would recommend just letting your rice simmer while you do the rest of the dish.

First, cut your squash lengthwise into halves and scoop out the seedy soft part in the center. Save this and cut it into small pieces. (If you're using peppers, just cut out the stem and core, pull out any veins and seeds you can and tap the top of the pepper on the cutting board to knock loose any seeds. Throw that stuff out).

Then you will put the hollowed out veggies in a steamer basket and steam them for a few minutes if you don't want them to take a long time to bake. (If you have an hour or so to bake them, you can skip this step).

While your veggies to stuff are steaming, cook the stuffing. You will need:

Ground meat--beef or sausage (I used about 1/2lb for 6 small zucchini/squash)
1/2 large onion
2 large tomatoes, or a 16 oz can diced/chopped/stewed tomatoes with juice
1-2 cloves garlic
olive oil for frying
1 bell pepper chopped, any color (omit this if you're making stuffed peppers)
handful of fresh basil (or dried if you don't have fresh)
a few pinches of fresh oregano (or dried)
grated cheese (any kind)
parmesan cheese

Put olive oil in your pan and fry your onions and peppers for a few minutes. Then add the meat and zucchini innards and saute until cooked through. Add tomatoes, cooked rice, parmesan and basil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Now, retrieve your zucchini or peppers from the steamer. If they are still firm, that fine. I'd try to steam them for about 10 minutes after water comes to boil.

Spoon filling into zucchini, squash, or peppers, top with cheese and fresh oregano. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you're stuffing raw veggies, 40 minutes to an hour will be needed to cook them. If all your ingredients are already hot, these cook super fast! 

I cooked these in a bread pan, so they wouldnt tip over. Worked great!
I also added some very mild homemade salsa to one batch and it turned out great. When I made stuffed peppers, I used 2 fresh tomatoes and 1 c. canned tomatoes. Feel free to experiment and mix it up!

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