Zucchini is awesome. It's a squash, but it has a mild flavor. Put enough dip on it, and you'd hardly know you were eating a vegetable. Heck, people put it in bread to eat for breakfast or a snack. That's versatility. You never hear about people getting that creative with broccoli.
The first time I'd heard of stuffed zucchini, I was intrigued and had to make it right away. The great thing about stuffing a zucchini (or anything, I guess) is you can put whatever you or your kids want into it. Although, if you ask your kids, they might say mac and cheese. A mac and cheese zucchini would be weird. I'll wait for someone else to try it out.
Here's what I made recently. If you don't like my ingredient list, think of alternatives you would use before you turn away.
4 medium zucchini
2 small chicken sausages, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp. minced garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a glass 9 X 13 baking dish with nonstick spray, or whatever you usually use. Wash zucchini, cut off the ends and slice lengthwise. Pretend you're a TV chef and start talking about what you're doing. Using a spoon, scoop out the middle part of the zucchini halves, leaving a "wall" and the skin. Set aside the zucchini pulp.
Pour a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken sausage and cook until heated, about four or five minutes. Stir in the zucchini pulp, tomatoes, onion and garlic. When it's good and bubbling, add a dash of cayenne pepper (or however much you like). Spoon the skillet mixture into the zucchini halves.
Place the filled zucchini in the baking dish, and pour the broth into it. Then put the dish in the oven to cook for 30-35 minutes.
Are you still talking like a TV chef? Take a sip of wine or throw a kitchen towel over your shoulder and pretend you're making a lot of money for this show.
In the past, I have made a filling mixture that included bread crumbs and shredded cheese. You could make it with bacon, corn, beans -- whatever kind of good stuff you like. My friend tried this and said it needed salt. But she might be the one who makes mac and cheese zucchini.
More from food