Simple Sunday Fare: Stuffed Zucchini with Sausage

Happy weekend, everyone. Temperatures are have been much more tolerable here on the east coast—enough to bake in a countertop oven, lol.

Sometime last year I posted a recipe for stuffed zucchini. Because I like to find creative ways to “use up” those little amounts of food in the fridge that will often otherwise get tossed, I wind up playing around with flavors. Here’s a take on the stuffed zucch that turned out surprisingly yummy and a bit differently flavorful!

You will need:

3-4 small sweet Italian sausage links

BBQ sauce of choice

1 large zucchini (or about 4 small ones)

2-3 small zucchini (about10 inches long, smaller diameters, coarsely chopped)

1 large onion, coarsely chopped (or more, to taste)

1 ripe tomato (optional, chopped, seeds removed)

canola and/or olive oil

½-cup of seasoned bread crumbs

1/4-cup grated cheese (I like parmesan)

fresh basil to taste (cut into small pieces)

fresh parsley (chopped, stems too)

salt, pepper, Adobo, paprika and/or oregano to taste

1 egg

Start with the zucchini and onion base (i.e., chopped zucchini and onion seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, Adobo, paprika—all your choice—and sautéed until crisp-tender). Make enough to stuff one of the clubs—er, larger zucchs.

Boil* 3-4 small sweet Italian sausage links to remove some of the fat and salt. Remove from pot, cut in half lengthwise and brush with BBQ sauce. Grill** until browned and sauce caramelized. Transfer to plate and slice into medallions or crumble. Set aside.

Cut a large zucchini in half lengthwise. (The bigger the better. This is a great way to use up those Bam-Bam clubs my husband often finds hiding at the bottom of his plants, lol.) Remove the seeds and as much flesh as you like. (I tend not to use the flesh from the large zucchini, as the seeds are quite big.)  Keep in mind, this part could taste a little bland if you don’t hull it out quite a bit. Depends on how much you like plain baked zucchini, lol.

Season each half with olive oil spray, salt, pepper and/or Adobo.  Place each half in a shallow pan or directly on rack of a 375-degree (F) for approximately ten minutes (or while you prepare the stuffing.)

In a separate bowl, place zucchini/onion mixture, tomato, sausage, bread crumbs, grated cheese, fresh basil to taste and one egg. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into each half of the big zucch. Sprinkle with more grated cheese. Wrap each ‘boat’ with foil and seal. Bake until large zucch is tender to your liking and filling is heated through. (I’m thinking about 30 minutes, at least 375 degrees F.) Uncover from the top and brown under broiler, adding mozzarella (or even feta cheese), if desired.

        

Remove from oven, allow to set at least five minutes then cut and serve. Depending on the size of the large zucchini, you can serve 2-4 or slice into smaller pieces and serve as an appetizer or side dish. Leftovers WILL taste even better once those flavors come together–enjoy! (FYI, my original recipe is here, on my Recipe Central page. Just scroll down to the seventh post, immediately following the photo of the pumpkin blossoms. You’ll also find the link to the base zucchini/onion filling and some other ideas on what to do with that!)

*You can skip boiling if you don’t mind the added fat/salt.

** Brown on a griddle or hot frying pan if grilling is not an option.

BTW, my online friend Stephanie posted a stuffed zucchini recipe at her blog the same day I made mine for the first time. I think hers look so much prettier; try them both and let us know your preference! While you’re there, check out her no-bake chocolate-peanut butter cookie recipe and her post on saving $$. You’ll be glad you did!

So how about sharing some of your favorite fresh-from-the-garden (or farmers’ market) recipe? I’m always game for trying someone else’s take on my favorites! And if this recipe sounded good to you, mind clicking on one of the SHARE buttons below to help spread the word? Thanks!

Until next time,

Joanna

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Simple Sunday Fare

Hey everyone,

Yes, I’ve been so MIA even I missed me, lol.

Feeling as if my life is one distraction after another these days. Falling into that unproductive rut has been such a downer, I’m currently in near-total avoidance mode. That’s got me MORE bummed so now I’m kicking my own butt out of the hole (no easy feat to move this much mass, I promise). The French Open Tennis Championships, kids, their friends, gardening, the house–none of it is any help re: getting me on track.

The first zucchini blossoms–so early this year–and tonight’s dinner delicacy. (Recipe at my website–dee-lish! Just make sure to scroll down the page a little. :))

See how DBD (Distracted by Dust) I am? Anywho, This 30-40-minute recipe/meal was due to post on my blog two Fridays ago, as promised to my online friend and cooking aficionado, Stephanie. (Check out her blog and some of her awesome recipes: comfort food from scratch, and many dishes/desserts from typical household ingredients—my favorite kind.)

Once Stephanie took added a part-time job (cooking, of course) to everything else I’m sure she does, she asked for quick, from-scratch meals that could be made in a 30-40-minute time frame. Here’s the one I offered. Hopefully, some others found their way to her sooner! (Sorry, no photo of this one.)

Pork Chops with Zucchini, Onions and Rice (serves 3-4)

For the rice: white or brown rice (1 cup)

2-2/3 cups water

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

butter or olive oil (optional)

In a small saucepan you can cover tightly with a lid, bring water and seasoning(s) to a boil. Keep flame on high and add rice. Stir continuously for one minute then lower heat completely. Cover and let rice steam until done (about 23 minutes). When finished, keep rice covered for at least five minutes to allow all the water to be absorbed. Fluff with fork then cover and set aside. (Please note: brown rice will take about 40 minutes to cook.)

For the zucchini and onion:

2-3 zucchini (about8 incheslong and 2-3 inchesthick) cut into 1-inch pieces

1 med or large onion, chopped

canola or olive oil

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

Over medium flame, heat a large frying pan and add enough olive (or canola) oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When hot, sauté the veggies to desired doneness. (You can also coat with cooking spray and roast in a 400˚F for about 20 minutes. This cuts back on oil—and calories—and brings a unique sweetness out of the vegetables. Stir at least twice while veggies are in the oven.) Set aside.

Meat: (At least 4) boneless pork chops (boneless chicken breast or top sirloin make nice substitutes here, but you may want to marinate them in Italian salad dressing or Worcestershire sauce and olive oil, respectively)

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

oregano

fresh parsley

small clove of garlic, finely chopped

olive oil (1-2 tbsp, or to taste)

Flatten 4 boneless pork chops to desired thickness. Season with salt/pepper/adobo to taste. Spray a cast iron (or heavy aluminum frying) pan with cooking oil and heat over medium to high flame until a drop of water dances then evaporates. (Pan should be hot enough to sear the pork chop when it makes contact with the pan.) Place pork chops on pan and cook about five minutes before turning over. Cover and cook another 5-10 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to plate on which you’ve already mixed together oregano, parsley, garlic and olive oil. If you like, add juices from the meat to the plate too. Turn meat to coat.

That’s it! Serve immediately with veggies and rice. (Hint: If you’re using rice you made the day before, stirring together the rice and veggies in a frying pan coated with olive oil for a quick stir-fry. Yum!

Some easy substitutes for your sides: peas with onions and bread crumbs (see this post for how to on the peas) and a microwave-baked potato. (Yes, I much prefer oven-baked but at 7-10 minutes as compared to 6o in a conventional oven, the former speed-cooking method wins). Another thought: making the rice, chopping the veggies and pounding those pork chops the day before will cut your cooking time that much more! Finally, having your favorite crusty bread frozen (wrapped in foil and ready to pop in a 400-degree oven (Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes saves a trip to the bakery too).

Thanks so much, everyone. I appreciate your indulgence and hope you’ll try this very simple meal. Let me know how you made out. Any variations on the theme? Housing some awesome recipes at your blog? Share links in the comments!

And while we’re talking about sharing, please help this girl get ’round the web just a little faster by clicking one of the SHARE buttons below. (Assuming you liked this post and deemed it worthy of being thrust beyond my tiny corner of cyberspace!)

Have a great day! Go Rafa!

Joanna