It’s Boating Season

We’re in the midst of boating season here in the Midwest (and everywhere else in the US) – water boats AND zucchini boats! I’m not much of a water boat kinda gal, but I’m all about the zucchini.

Why don’t I like boats? Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you. I’ve had bad experience after bad experience on boats. I’ve been stuck in the middle of Lake Erie on a broken-down boat during a round of severe storms that produced tornadoes and water spouts; I’ve gotten sea sick on a new boyfriend’s parent’s sail boat (while it was docked!); and, I’ve almost barfed on so many rocking, boat-like rides at fairs, carnivals, and theme parks that I’ve lost count. Hum…now that I think about it, most of my experiences have a common thread – throwing-up! Again, I hate boats.

Weird side-note: Mr. M and I are planning a cruise for our one-year wedding anniversary. I don’t know what I was thinking when I suggested it. He wanted to stay at a resort, but no, I insisted on a cruise. It’s a better deal; we can visit more places without the hassle of traveling to them; the food is (supposedly) good; we can go rock climbing in the middle of the ocean and be greater daily by a towel animal. I don’t see Sandles commercials promising towel animals!

Anyway, onto a tastier topic - zucchini boats. Zucchini is abundant in this part of the country at this time of year. We can still get the sweeter, more tender small squash (traditional green zucchini and yellow summer squash), and the bigger, more pulpy squash are starting to show up on break-room tables with signs begging people to take them home. Before I start stocking-up on hand-me-down gourds, I’ve been delighting in the smaller varieties, purchasing in bulk and receiving a discount from our local farm stand. The other night, I created this delicious dish….

I forgot to take the picture until I'd eaten half of my dinner. Oops!

Zucchini Boats with Quinoa & Mushroom Stuffing

2 – 4 small zucchini, halved lengthwise with seeds and pulped scooped out

1 c dry quinoa

2 TBSP + 1.5 c vegetable broth

16 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 med/lg onion, diced

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. Roast the zucchini on a foil-lined cookie sheet while the stuffing cooks (about 30 minutes), flipping half-way through the cooking time. (I flipped when I put the lid on the quinoa.) The boats should be fork tender, but still holding their shape.

Saute the onions and garlic with the 2 TBSP’s of vegetable broth until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they shrink (about 10 – 15 minutes). Add the quinoa (rinse if necessary) and toast for about 3 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Add the remaining vegetable broth. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa gives off its little round threads (FYI – red or black quinoa will take longer to cook and the threads are harder to see). Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the zucchini shells from the oven and fill with stuffing mixture. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture forms a nice, crunchy crust. Optional add: Top with veggie cheeze or cheeze sauce.

I had a lot of stuffing left over, so I added chickpeas to it and ate it for lunch and dinner the next day. Sooooo good!