It’s zucchini season right now. If you do any of the grocery shopping for your family you have probably noticed the great selection, and the even better prices, the last few weeks. Considering how many meals I make with zucchini, this is a good thing for the limited budget I try to spend for my family of four. I say try, because I can’t seem to stay within that budget. Ever.
There are so many ways to make zucchini boats, that at first I didn’t know what to try first. I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do, but then when I actually started creating, it went in a totally different direction. This recipe tastes very close to a pasta-less lasagna; still good, but in my head I was creating more of a hamburger helper filling for the boats. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow though, and so I followed my muse. And thank goodness I did, because this is damn tasty!
My mom and I get together every Wednesday for dinner, ostensibly for some family bonding time. In reality though, it’s an opportunity to watch Survivor with the only other person we know who likes the show.
So here I am, trying to create a recipe that I’ve never made before, on a night my mom comes over for dinner. She’s never seen this before. The meals I usually prepare for her are meals I’ve made at least several times. I know what I’m doing and, for the most part, everything normally runs smoothly. Not so much this time.
Let’s just say, I’ve named my blog appropriately. I was very much a mess in the kitchen. Not just in the physical messiness that ensued, but in the sheer chaos that is my mind as I try to figure out what the hell I’m creating. It might have been mentioned several times that I should record this process and put it on YouTube. If I was more confident in myself, maybe. But at this stage in my life, not going to happen. Here’s a hint though: there are several words that describe me (besides messy)… scatterbrained, forgetful, easily distracted… you can probably see the theme.
There’s a reason, my blog is a mix of random crap, recipes, and short stories.
So my mom got to see the “magic” behind the scenes. I don’t think she found it quite so magical though. At least she got to have dinner and a show!
And if you don’t like this recipe, but have zucchini lying around just doing nothing like a… zucchini… you can always become a YouTube sensation by scaring your cat with it.
If you want to skip the instructions with the pictures, and just want the written recipe, click here.
Zucchini Boats – Italian Style
- -As many large zucchini as you like. We used 6 (figure at least one zucchini per person).
- -1 lb ground beef
- -1/2 red bell pepper
- -1/2 green bell pepper
- -1/2 yellow bell pepper
- -1/2 orange bell pepper
- -1/2 yellow onion
- -4 oz mushrooms
- -2 tbsp tomato paste
- -1 tbsp garlic paste
- -1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- -2 tsp Lite salt
- -2 tsp black pepper
- -shredded mozzarella for topping zucchini boats
- -shredded Parmesan for topping zucchini boats (not pictured, but very much needed)
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Wash all the vegetables.
3. Prep a shallow sheet pan with baking spray.
4. Slice the bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms into large chunks and place in a food processor, but don’t turn it on just yet.
5. Split each zucchini in half lengthwise.
6. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the inner core of each zucchini half.
7. Place about half of the zucchinni innards into the food processor. The rest can be discarded or composted. Finely chop/mix all the vegetables together in the food processor.
8. Place the hollowed zucchini halves on the prepped sheet pan and sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste (this is NOT the 2 tsp of salt and pepper, which will be used later).
9. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes.
10. While the zucchini is baking, brown and drain the ground beef. By the time this is done, the zucchini should also be done, don’t forget to pull it out of the oven!
11. Return beef to pan. Add tomato paste, and stir into beef a little.
12. Add diced veggie mix, garlic paste, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir thoroughly.
13. Heat, stirring often for 5 – 8 minutes.
14. Scoop the beef/veggie mixture into each baked zucchini boat. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the portions!
15. Sprinkle the top of the boats with shredded mozzarella and finish off with shredded Parmesan cheese.
16. Bake for another 10 minutes.
17. For a crispy, browned crust, finish under the broiler for 5 minutes.
Unfortunately, these were way higher in carbs than I had thought they would be at 18 g net carbs per serving (two zucchini boats). If you are following a low carb lifestyle, using a low carb tomato paste (or removing it altogether) will help lower that carb amount.
Using a calculation of 6 servings, this came to about 370 calories, 18 grams net carbs, 29 grams of protein, and 20 grams of fat per serving. I used the MyFitnessPal recipe creator to calculate nutritional information. Nutritional values may change based off the ingredient brands you use, and of course, the size/number of servings you make.
I hope everyone enjoys! Let me know what you think in the comments!
Please don’t mind the mess.
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