Cheeseburger Stuffed Zucchini

Complete CRAZY talk!  It’s a cheeseburger in a zucchini boat!  Honestly, all the goodness of a gouda cheese burger without the guilt of that carb-crazy bun.  Trust me, as you read through the ingredients you will question if I am a mad person!  Just give it a shot and you will see that deliciousness just arrived in a zucchini boat.  Set Sail!- Amanda  

cheeseburger zucchini

Cheeseburger Stuffed Zucchini

1 T olive oil

1 lb. ground beef

1 small yellow onion, diced

coarse salt and fresh black pepper

1/2 T Tony Chachere’s seasoning

1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced, seeds removed

1/2 cup dill pickle, diced

Sauce:

1 T butter

1 T all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 T Dijon mustard

1 + 1/2 cups Gouda cheese, shredded, divided

3 medium zucchini

green onions, snipped with kitchen shears, for serving

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add ground beef and onion. Season well with salt and pepper. Add Tony Chachere’s seasoning.  Brown the ground beef until cooked through breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off excess grease.

Add the ground beef mixture to a large bowl and mix in tomatoes and pickles.

In the same skillet heat the butter for the sauce over medium-low heat, whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Turn heat down to low and add 1 cup of the Gouda stirring until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Meanwhile wash the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds leaving the zucchini intact. Place on a large baking sheet or roasting pan.

Stir the cheese sauce into the ground meat. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the meat into the zucchini boats, sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/2 cup of Gouda.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until heated through. Sprinkle with green onions to serve.

Zucchini Tots

As Chris prepared some mean hamburgers, I whipped up some zucchini tots.  These bite-sized tots are the perfect guilt-free alternative that complete our hamburger night.  Just a little prep work and pop those tots in the oven.  Nothing to it!- Amanda

Zucchini Tots

1 cup zucchini, grated- like a cheese grater- The whole zucchini!

1 large egg

1/4 onion, diced

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1 T parmesan, grated

1/8 cup Italian bread crumbs

1/8 cup Panko

Salt and Pepper

Take grated zucchini and by using paper towels squeeze out the excess water.  This will make sure your tots are not soggy.  No one likes a soggy tot! In a bowl combine all ingredients: egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, Panko,  zucchini, salt and pepper.

Prepare mini muffin pan by spraying with non-stick spray. Using a spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  Makes about 12 tots.

Zucchini Fries

It’s that time of year when the grills are heating up with yumminess.  I promised I would be sharing my favorites and some new summery side dishes.  This past week when Chris was grilling hamburgers we thought it was no better time to create a french fry substitute.  In about 25 minutes, I created zucchini fries that were devoured without any guilt.  This recipe is versatile and can compliment any meal.  It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure in the kitchen.  You pick the veggies and seasonings.  Could it be any easier?  Eat your veggies! -Amanda

Zucchini Fries

Choose your Veggies– Zucchini, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Squash (you get the idea)
Choose your Seasonings– Always start with pepper and sea salt.  Just stick with one extra seasoning to make sure your veggies don’t come out crazy! Need some ideas: paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage.  You can also use premixed spice blends like Spike, Italian, Mexican, Old Bay.

Cut your veggies into 3-inch sticks.  Try to keep the same thickness to help even out cooking.
Now it’s time to play with your seasonings.  Start with pepper and easy on the sea salt.  Then get creative with a seasoning that excites your palate or compliments the main dish you have planned.  This time I used freshly ground pepper, sea salt and Spike (a favorite premixed spice blend).
Lightly toss your veggie with olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.
Spread your seasoned veggies over a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper and a light layer of olive oil.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes (flipping halfway through) or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.