Stuffed Zucchini–A Frugal Seasonal Meal

By ERIN TURNER

The season of zucchini jokes has arrived.  Yup, the gardens are knocking out zucchini like crazy and people are finding them on their doorsteps.  This prolific squash has quite the reputation during this time of year–some of it good and some of  it not so good.  But the reality is: zucchini is the crop of the season right now which means it is abundant AND cheap.  This means frugalites stock up when the prices are the lowest of the year and they do what they can to preserve the food for the rest of the year.

For years, I have sliced the zucchini and put it in bags to freeze.  It works okay for stews and soups but it’s just not that great for sautéing or roasting after it’s been frozen.  For the bulk of my zucchini I normally shred a bunch and place in 1 cup bags to use for zucchini bread.

I have had various people tell me over the years to try stuffed zucchini.  Finally this last week, my boys had harvested a large zucchini and I knew what I wanted to do with it.  That night I baked up a stuffed zucchini and I haven’t stop thinking about it since.  What a terrific concept!  And who knew that you could plow through one of those green baseball bats in almost one sitting?

 

zucchiniMaking stuffed zucchini is so easy and very simple.  Depending on the size of your squash, you can feed quite a herd if necessary.  We have a family dinner this coming week and will need to serve 12 people so I plan on baking one very large zucchini for this dinner.  How easy is that? I also like the fact that after baking it, you can cool it and then freeze it for a “make ahead” meal. Think: school starting, fall sports starting, daylight getting shorter, etc.  Who wouldn’t love to pull out a pre-baked meal in the morning and have it ready for the family that night?  The other thing I love is that all of my family’s plates were clean the first night I served this dish.  Now later my middle son decided he didn’t like it but I had to laugh because he ate it all and didn’t complain onebit!

The other cool thing about this recipe is the ability to customize it.  If you’ve been reading my blogs for awhile then you know how much I love recipes which allow for some change-ups and flexibility.  With the stuffed zucchini, I am anxious to try a Mexican version with taco meat, olives and salsa.  My boys love Buffalo Wing sauce so I’m trying to work something up using that sauce.  There are lots of possibilities, so have fun with them!

Recipe:

  • 1 mid-large zucchini
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 T fresh basil  (I substitute the basil and garlic with 3 heaping  tablespoons of Pesto)
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 (32 oz) jar Spaghetti Sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice zucchini in half lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds, creating a “ditch” in the center of the zucchini half.

In a large bowl, mix together sausage, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and basil.  Once it is well blended, then begin to stuff into the center of the zucchini.  Split equally between both halves.  Place halves in a baking pan.  Pour spaghetti sauce over the top of meat mixture and zucchini.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until sausage is cooked.  Uncover.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place back into over for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven, let cool slightly and slice.

Zucchini 2

Again, I love the ease of this meal.  It really is a meal in itself but pairs beautifully with a fresh garden salad and a crusty piece of French bread.  Or if you do a Mexican version, some tortilla chips would be the perfect accompaniment!

Okay folks, the zucchini season is just gearing up so it’s the perfect time to find inexpensive zucchini for stocking up!  If you’re not finding it on your doorstep, then head to your local farmers’ market and scoop up a bunch for this tasty and frugal meal.

*****

 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive. And Check out our new Coupon section.

*******************

Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

Follow Me on Pinterest

 

MIM NewsletterLike this blog? Don’t miss another one. Sign up for our E-Newsletter.  It provides you with a list of all the week’s stories/blogs and is delivered to your inbox every Tuesdaymorning.