Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Zucchini Boats with Ground Beef

Summer is underway and my garden is out of control! In the second week of July, we ended up picking close to 10 lbs of raspberries. Seriously.

Another common overgrowth item is zucchini or yellow squash. The problem with overgrown zucchini is that once it reaches a certain point, sauteing or grilling isn't really optimal -- the seeds are too big and tough. What I like to do is make cute little zucchini boats! Here's what you need and what you need to do for a yummy trip for your taste buds (get it? because they're boats?).

2 large zucchini
1 lb ground beef
2 cups pre-cooked rice or quinoa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach, fresh and raw
1 can of cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 a lemon

Preheat the oven to 375, then line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Halve the zucchini, then use a spoon to hollow it out, removing the seeds, until the desired shape of a boat. Spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, and put in the oven for 12 minutes. You can start the next step while the zucchini are in the oven -- remove when the 12 minutes are up or the zucchini begins to brown.

In a cast iron skillet, start the olive oil on medium heat, then add the onions. Sprinkle with salt and stir until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add the beef, plus salt, pepper, and paprika. When the beef is browned, add the tomatoes. Continue to stir until tomatoes soften, then add the rice or quinoa. When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Add the juice of half of a lemon.

Use a spoon to scoop the mixture into the boats, making as high as you want. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes, then remove. Sprinkle with cheese. Put back in the oven for another five minutes or until the cheese melts. For extra flourish, you can top with chopped basil or parsley.

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