Happy First Day of Spring!!! You know what that means? Stop by your local Rita’s Italian Ice and pick up your free regular ice! Although you may have snow on the ground if you’re like me, anything that is free is something I like. Well, I am a Rita’s addict, so that may play a role as well. Last week they finally had Juicy Pear, one of my absolute favorites. My boyfriend and I had this for dinner; he knows me too well! 🙂
But now that I have taken a short hiatus from one of my favorite vegetables, zucchini, I thought it was about that time I made another healthy meal! If you’ve seen some of my earlier posts, Baked Zucchini Fries or Parmesan Zucchini Pasta, you know how healthy implementing zucchini in for your favorite potato or other carb can be! This week I experimented with one of my favorites, the twice baked potato. When I went out for my boyfriend’s mother’s birthday two weeks ago, we each got the twice baked potato as our side. With a huge seafood meal there was really no room for a heavy potato, nor did we want to waste the extra calories on a potato after all we just ate! (Secret: we actually went to Sweet Frog later that night!)
However, I got to thinking how I could make a delicious side or even a complete meal without all of the carbs and junk a potato with sour cream, bacon, and cheese has. Then the light bulb went off, why not core out zucchini and fill them with a stuffing? Bake them twice and you have a fabulous side for two or an easily made dinner for one!
Zucchini: 1 medium
Tomatoes: 4 grape tomatoes
Garlic: 1 clove
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons
Parmesan Cheese: 3 tablespoons
Bread Crumbs: ¼ cup
Mozzarella Cheese: 1/8 cup
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees . Cut the zucchini lengthwise and hollow them out with a small spoon. You should be able to scoop the inside of the zucchini right out, if not you can also take your knife and cut some strips in the center to remove easier.
Place them in the oven to cook while you are making your zucchini stuffing! You don’t need to worry about timing it, just let them in there until you finish your stuffing. Now take the zucchini you removed from the boats and finely chop. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat with another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add your crushed garlic, chopped zucchini, and your favorite spices. I used Italian, oregano, red pepper, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently. In the meantime, finely chop your tomatoes and add them to the skillet as well. Cook until the juice has slowly cooked off. While this is cooking mix your bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese together. When the liquid is out of your zucchini mixture add the rest of your dry stuffing. Remove from the heat and mix together. Remove your zucchini boats from the oven and fill each with a mound of your yummy zucchini stuffing!
I mean how good do those look already?? Now you’re ready to bake these zucchinis once more. Place them back in the oven and let them back for about 5 minutes. I then added a little bit of mozzarella cheese to the top and placed back in the oven for another 1-2 minutes, just enough to let it melt.
These are best when eaten warm, so don’t be afraid to put them on a plate and dig in! I cleaned off my plate pretty darn fast that’s for sure. These were absolutely perfect and if weren’t for the fact I only have one zucchini, I would have made a few more!
Now don’t these give you that feeling of a twice baked potato? However, unlike your favorite twice baked potato that is loaded with carbs and fat, these zucchini boats have so many nutrients and you can tell just from the colors that you’re putting better foods into your body. Vegetables don’t have to be boring and neither do your dinners. Spice up your next meal with a Twice Baked Stuffed Zucchini!