feasting with friends

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed zucchini [eggplant, peppers or tomatoes for that matter] is a great weeknight dinner. I use it as an opportunity to use up odds and ends of veggies hanging around in the refrigerator. The gardening season is still in full swing here in Michigan. I still have an abundance of zucchini and the eggplant is just starting to produce. The peppers and tomatoes are a little slower in the production category though. We’re still in the “one at a time” phase. At least we can easily supplement those with the local farmer’s market. This post is simply the evolution of what I had on hand to create what I could call a meal. It turned out pretty darn good too! Served with a salad, it provided a substantial daily serving of vegetables. I need those “light on meat days” every once and awhile. This could also be made meat free, making it a great vegetarian option.

Ingredients:

3 Links turkey Italian sausage [spicy or sweet depending on taste], removed from casing

2 large whole zucchini, stems removed; slice in half lengthwise; pulp removed and set aside [my zucchini were about 9″ long and 2″ in diameter]

1 medium eggplant, diced

1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup mushrooms, sliced

2/3 cup  of reserved zucchini pulp, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup bread crumbs or panko

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 medium tomato, sliced and halved

salt & pepper to taste

1+ Tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

•Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking dish [mine was about 9×13] with cooking spray and set aside.

•Cook turkey sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat. If the sausage is extra lean, add about 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Cook until well browned. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

•Meanwhile, trim the ends off the zucchini. Scoop the flesh out using a spoon, leaving about 1/4 to 12 inch border from the skin. Set the pulp aside. Place the zucchini shells in the prepared baking pan. Salt & pepper to taste.
Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

•To the same skillet used for the sausage, add the diced onion, green pepper and red pepper. Salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil if pan dries out. Cook just until the veggies begin to soften. Add the cubed eggplant and the mushrooms to the pan. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the mixture, salt/pepper and cover the pan. Covering the pan will help “steam” and cook down the eggplant which can have the tendency to act as a sponge with any moisture in the pan. I find I use a lot less oil this way. Stir periodically, adding more oil if needed. After about 10 minutes, add the zucchini pulp; heat through, uncovered. Add the minced garlic; cook until fragrant. Return the cooked sausage to the pan; stir well to blend thoroughly. Add the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed.

key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini  key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini  key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

•Fill each zucchini shell with 1/4 of the vegetable mixture. Cover the baking pan with foil and cook for approximately 15 minutes until zucchini shells have softened.

key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini  key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

•Remove foil. Place tomato slices (3-4 pieces) on top of each zucchini and sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Return to oven; cook approximately 5 more minutes to melt the cheese and heat the tomatoes. Serve with additional cheese to taste.

key Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

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