Thursday, August 6, 2015

stuffed zucchini from the garden

This was our first year attempting a garden from our own raised beds, we planted tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, onions and beans. A few weeks into June and it just got way too hot for some of the veggies and practically charred the onions and beans. Somehow, ironically, the yellow squash got squashed and never produced a thing. Our cucumbers and zucchini have been by far the most successful. We’ve made lots of pickles and we’ve eaten our share of zucchini. Now our tomatoes have taken off and I mean literally. After we came back from our trip three of our tomato plants were sideways like they were escaping. Cages mangled and all. Luckily we still have some tomatoes left, but since we have two growing seasons here, we’re going to attempt a round 2. Wish us luck! 
 One of my favorite recipes for stuffed zucchini is my moms. When we were back in Omaha my mom and I hit the farmers market and bought the biggest zucchini we could find and made Turkish Zucchini Dolmas. That’s the actual name of the recipe from our Better Homes and Garden Cookbook circa 1961.....yes 1961.....but we make it slightly differently and for the common person we just call it stuffed zucchini. By the way, if you ever come across the Better Homes and Gardens’ cookbooks.....snatch them up, they seriously have the best classic recipes!
Last night Kens and I went out to the garden and found a huge zucchini just waiting to be stuffed for dinner. Mike had never had this recipes and I told him if he didn’t like it then he was flat out crazy. Kensi only wanted the ‘meatball’ part which was totally fine with us since she really hasn’t eaten much with the virus she’s been battling. Finn just eats everything now. Luckily, with my few tweaks everyone really loved this recipe and it can continue to be part of our summer recipe stash!

Turkish Zucchini Dolmas
(Stuffed Zucchini)
1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 cup Onion, finely chopped
3/4 cooked Rice, any kind will do
1/3 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Fresh Mint, chopped
1 teaspoon Dried Dill
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
8 medium Zucchini or 1 extra large one
8 oz can Seasoned Tomato Sauce (I just use marinara and freeze the rest) 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Combine the first nine ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well. Cut both ends from zucchini. Using a spoon, scoop out the centers to make a boat. Remove the seeds and chop centers you removed and toss into the mixing bowl and combine. Place zucchini boats in 9x13 baking dish and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and fill using the mixture. Top with tomato sauce and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degree F for 45 minutes or until zucchini is tender and beef is cooked through. 


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