Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stuffed Zucchini and Life Updates

Now that summer is nearing an end, I figure I'd post the perfect summer dish. Yes, I seem to be a step behind on pretty much everything these days.

It's been a crazy summer here at Chez Shea, but a good one, for the most part. We bought a house and closed in July, then took off for a trip to the west coast for a friend's wedding, returning to get settled. I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy, which still feels pretty unbelievable and incredible. I'm very grateful for every little kick! We have just a little over 2 months to go. I'm anxious, but am trying to be patient. I'm hoping our little guy will stay in until he's fully ready. Being a first-time mom, I'm also very nervous.

Back to the food, I love this time of year when huge zucchini are easier to find at the farmer's market (next year: our garden!). I typically stuff them with whatever I have on-hand. Sometimes I will choose leftover meat of some sort (e.g. shredded chicken or crumbled ground turkey), but the emphasis should be on showcasing good, fresh vegetables. If doing as a side dish, I will omit a protein altogether. This time I went all vegetarian with chickpeas. I often bind with some sort of breadcrumbs, but the beans and fresh corn added enough starch in this case, so didn't want to add to it. My last a1c was a 5.4 and I'd like to keep it that way. Keeping blood sugar in check while pregnant is enough of a challenge!

Stuffed Zucchini

It probably could have used a nice herb garnish for more visual appeal, but I was really into simplicity tonight. And I may also be a little more lazy and anxious to just eat these days.

The constants, other than the zucchini, of course, are tomato, garlic, parmesan cheese, and oregano (fresh or dried). I will often add a second cheese, as well. If your house is too hot in which to bake, this dish also does really well on the grill! See the note below.

This particular batch included:

1 large zucchini, halved length-wise
2 c. garbanzo beans (organic canned)
3 T. fresh basil leaves, chopped
5 T. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 ears fresh corn (kernels removed from cob)
6 oz. extra, extra sharp cheddar, cut in a small dice
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan cheese to cover (approx. 1/4 c.)

Heat oven to 400 F. After halving the squash, scoop out the insides to make canoes, chop the insides and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the parmesan. Place the filling back in the hollowed out zucchini (in a large baking dish) and top with half of the parmesan cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for approx. 40 minutes. Remove the cover at 40 min. and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Brown for an added 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: To grill, wrap stuffed halves loosely in foil (careful, it will get juicy when opening), place on medium heat, close the lid, and walk away for 30-40 minutes. Vent the top and add the parmesan in the end for about 10 minutes until golden.


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