I absolutely live for the overabundance of zucchini and yellow squash that come with the summer months. It may seem daunting at first, what to do with so many of these guys, many who are as long as your arm. But for me, that is part of the fun; discovering new and exciting dishes to use them in. Playing around in the kitchen tonight I put together this one, and we all loved it!
Ground Meat Stuffed Zucchini Boats
2 zucchini's or yellow squash, about 12 inches long (or 4 6-inch)
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup banana pepper or green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced (I used my mom's wonderful canned tomatoes, but fresh would also be great here)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Basil
1 tsp minced fresh Thyme
1 tsp minced fresh Sweet Marjoram (you can also use Oregano if you are unable to find Sweet Marjoram)
¾ cup Sun-dried Tomato Feta Cheese, crumbled (you could also use Parmesan or Mozzarella)
½ tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
20 wheat crackers, chopped (or a ½ cup bread crumbs)
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out insides, leaving a shell about ¼-inch thick. I liked using a mellon baller to do the scooping and then a spoon to scrape it smooth. Reserve about half of the insides.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the reserved zucchini insides to the skillet and sauté another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in the ground meat and cook until lightly browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Drain of any excess fat. Stir in the cooked onion and squash mixture. Add the tomatoes, basil thyme and sweet marjoram. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cracker crumb and set aside to cool a bit.
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Once the meat mixture has cooled a bit, mix in the feta, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Fill the zucchini shells with the mixture. Place the filled zucchini shells in the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove the zucchini from the pan and serve immediately.