Zucchini Cups

Still on a Zucchini kick.  So I went to the store to buy some zucchini, and it was on sale, so I of course bought five dollars worth of zucchini.  I guess it’s safe to say I have a small obsession.

This is a little bit like the zucchini boats except a different type of meat/sauce inside, compared to the boats.  This mixture is more of a pasta sauce mixture, bolognese if you will. And this recipe calls for THICK ones, so be prepared when you get the zucchinis  from the store that they are of a large circumference.

Zucchini Cups!

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups
(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

Ingredients:
2  3 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (may need more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 T finely minced fresh garlic
1 lb. ground beef (10% fat or less)
12 oz. ground turkey (10% fat or less) I just used a lb. of ground beef.  It worked fine 🙂
(use any combination of ground meat you’d like, but use low-fat ground meat for the South Beach Diet.)
1-2 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional but recommended) we don’t have this in our house, much less know what it is.
2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce To make up for the fact that I didn’t use ground turkey, I used tomato-basil with less sugar.  
2 cups low-fat mozzarella That’s a lot of cheese.  

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Chop onion and green pepper. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then saute onion and pepperfor 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more, being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove the onion, pepper, and garlic mixture to a bowl.Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan. Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey, season with Spike seasoning, and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned. Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there is, then stir cooked vegetables and garlic back into the meat. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak liquid when they cook. (What to do with the leftover zucchini? Just. you. wait.)

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up. Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture into zucchini cups, pressing down with the spoon and mounding it up a little over the top of the zucchini. I may have missed the part where I was suppose to douse the mixture in cheese.  Truthfully, if you want to make it pretty healthy, it doesn’t need the cheese until the very end. Also however, I haven’t tasted it when in the mixture, so maybe it is necessary.  

Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese. Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

This recipe fufilled my love for Zucchini, and I would definitely make them again.  They can be used as appetizers as well.  The only issue that I had is eating them.  You want to be able to shove the thing in your mouth, but it’s too small.  So you have to use a fork, but then it’s tough to pick up the zucchini + the stuffing.  First world problems at its finest.
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