19 July, 2010

Monday Recipe Swap: Zucchini

Mrs. B gave me a wonderful idea for a post today: Recipe Swap!  Zucchini is one of my favorite summer veggies.  It can be used for almost anything.  Plus, for those of us who are trying to lose weight, it is a very versatile vegetable.  

This is my favorite pasta recipe for zucchini and worked very well for friends who had kids that refused to eat any kind of vegetable.  I love being sneaky!  Please post your favorite zucchini recipes in the comments section!

Stuffed Shells
serves about 10

You Will Need
12 oz (1 box) jumbo pasta shells (approx. 40 shells)

For Sauce:
1 (28oz) can peeled plum tomatoes
1 (14oz) can peeled plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin or pressed - I press my garlic
Salt and Pepper (to taste) - I never use salt
2 - 4 sprigs of fresh basil

For Stuffing:
1 lb bag of baby spinach
2 tspns olive oil
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thin (use a mandolin if you have one)
2 scallions, chopped
2 cups (16 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 thin slice ham, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch grated nutmeg
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

1. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add shells and cook partially (they should still be firm) for 6 to 7 minutes.  Drain in colander and immediately transfer to baking sheet.  Spread out so they do not stick together.

2. Pour tomatoes into a bowl and mash with hands or in a food processor.  Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Cover, reduce heat to low.  Add tomatoes with juice and basil.  Bring to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, partially cover until thickened (about 20 minutes).  Remove from heat and set aside.

3.  Add spinach to a skillet.  Place over medium heat, cover and cook, tossing every now and then with tongs until wilted.  Drain and let cool.  Chop and transfer to a bowl.  Set aside.

4. Using the same skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add zucchini and cook until tender and lightly browned.  Add scallions and cook with zucchini for about a minute.  Add to the bowl of spinach.  Add the ricotta, the ham and 1/2 cup of mozzarella, the parsley and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.

5. Pre-heat oven to 350.

6. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a two 9 X13" baking dishes.  Fill cooked shells with the cheese mixture (about 1 Tbsp/shell) and arrange shells side-by-side in prepared dishes.  Spoon remaining sauce over the shells.  Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until filing is heated through and cheese is melted (25-30 minutes). 

- from Cook Yourself Thin

*If you're making this a magical recipe, you can obviously add intentions or "extra ingredients" as needed.  Whenever I cook something I add intentions and love while mixing the ingredients together.  With this recipe you can add your specific intentions when mixing the cheeses together or when sprinkling them over the shells before baking.


Indigo said...

Ahhhh Zucchini! YUM!

Well, I cheat a little bit.
I know a local organic farmer who grows incredibly huge zucchini's! Every year I go out to his roadside stand and pick up a dozen. (he sells them for 75 cents each! Awesome deal!)

I bring them home and cut about 1/2" off the top and bottom then I shred them in the food processor.
I put 2 cups per freezer bag and label them! So for the winter anything I make, Spagetti Sauce, Stew, Veggie soup, Chocolate cake, carrot muffins, ANYTHING I can sneak the zucchini into and the great part is the kids do not notice the extra veggie in their food!

Now our favorite recipe with zucchini is Zucchini Pancakes!

1 1/2 c. grated zucchini (absorb moisture in paper towel, if too wet)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of onion powder or garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of celery salt (which I use in place of reg. salt)
1 egg

Mix it up! And make 'em like regular pancakes!
We have them with Salsa or Mariara Sauce. Delicious! And the best part is my boys eat them willingly! :) Enjoy!
BTW this is such a great idea! I hope more folks post up recipes and ideas!!!

Willow said...

Sounds delicious!

Hecate said...

My CSA posted this recipe. Saute some onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the chopped up zest of one lemon, a bunch of chopped up mint, and some cubed zucchini. Add juice of the (just zested) lemon. Cook for a bit. Quite good and uses up a lot of the zucchini that your neighbors sneak onto your porch this time of year.

Risa said...

So YUM!!


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