Baked Zucchini Boats!

So last week at the Farmers’ Market my favorite farmer had a bounty of squash for us. Several varieties, from acorn to zucchini, were all lined up in their fall glory. I, of course, am drawn to the zucchini. In my mother’s garden as a child we had zucchini for WEEKS, in every possible variety, once it started to ripen. Raw, cooked, fried, baked, pickled – you name it; she did it. And you might think that as an adult I might turn my nose to the ubiquitous vegetable of my youth. But no. I still love the sight of its perfect green color, inside and out. The light texture, flavor… all of it. My favorite farmer even has yellow zucchini. Mom never enlightened me that this delight existed!

Last week he had advertised “baking zucchinis.” These are apparently the ones that grow so large that they are considered only good to cut up and bake with. Mom would have made zucchini bars or bread. Of course, I had to buy one. I knew I wanted to make zucchini boats!

When we got home from volleyball tonight, I cleaned it, sliced it, and cut out just a small channel down the center of both halves. From there I got creative and my new favorite Italian recipe was born. It’s very fast, very easy, and I think I actually like it better than lasagna. (No joke.)

Baked Zucchini Boats

Set oven at 375, line a pan and drizzle a bit of olive oil to prep.

Put a bit of mozzarella cheese in the channel of the prepped zucchini. TBH, I was out of cheese, so I literally used two string cheese sticks and laid them in the zucchini. IT WAS BRILLIANT!

If you like meat, brown about 1/3 lb. ground turkey and then put on top of zucchini and cheese. Put 12 oz. spaghetti sauce on top. Sprinkle some parmesean over.

Bake uncovered for one hour or until zucchini is tender to cut with a knife. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

This looks super-rich or extravagant, but remember you’re using zucchini instead of pasta, so although it will fill you up in that “comfort food” way, it won’t wreck you up like pasta will!

*I had some cooked brown rice in the fridge as part of my weekly food prep, so I added about 1/3 cup, just a couple of spoonfuls, to each boat. I liked!!

** IF you want to kick things up a notch, sprinkle some crushed red pepper on before you add the sauce. 😉

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