Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Zucchini boats with quinoa stuffing

I've been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals as of late (not on purpose). This recipe for zucchini with quinoa stuffing was another one rescued from the recipe folder. It wasn't as easy to make as I'd hope, but it made a great Sunday dinner and worked well as leftovers for Mr. Snowgoose and his dad. It came from the September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine.


1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 medium zucchini
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
4 tablespoons olive oil


1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut-side up.

3. Fluff the quinoa and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.

4. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serves 4 (actually served five!)
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Cooks notes:

1. We had trouble scooping the seeds out of the zucchini to make a boat and wound up chopping it in half. Maybe next time we'll use a grapefruit spoon to scoop it out.
2. A coworker brought in the most delicious cherry tomatoes from her garden, so we used those instead of the ones I bought from the store.
3. It's an odd mix of ingredients, but the texture is nice. There is something crunchy, sweet, and creamy in each bite.
4. I might make a version of this using ground sausage or turkey.
5. I found the quinoa in the bulf food section at my neighborhood store. This is another under $10 meal!

Shrimp with tomatoes and olives

This was another recipe I found in my file, and it was only a year old! I had to work late last week, so I left the ingredients out with directions and came home to a late dinner made by Mr. Snowgoose (which explains why there are no photos of it). You can see how Real Simple did it here.


1 10-ounce box couscous (1 1/3 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
kosher salt and pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


1. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, olives, wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the shrimp, cover, and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with the couscous.

(Non)cook's notes:
1. I always by already cooked and shelled and de-pooped shrimp in packages from Trader Joes to make things easier.
2. This was really good hot or cold! I think this might find itself into our meal rotation since it was so easy and relatively cheap (under $10) to make.

Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta with Summer Squash Saute

Apparently I found this recipe in an Eating Well magazine three years ago and tore it out and managed to stash it away until it was forgotten. Flashforward to last weekend when I was sorting through my folder of recipes (and tossing out all the one I knew I'd never make) I came across this creamy Gorgonzola polenta with summer squash saute. Now I love polenta and squash and cheese, as do my father-in-law. Mr. Snowgoose likes polenta and cheese and will only eat squash if it's covered in oil or cheese.

Since summer is winding down and my neighbor had given us a bunch of squash, I opted it to make it for one of our Sunday night dinners.

Look at the size of this squash!


2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup water
3/4 cup cornmeal (I bought my cornmeal from a bulk bin at the store. It was wicked cheap)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 small yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


1. Combine 2 1/2 cups broth and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal and pepper until smooth. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and no longer grainy, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Gorgonzola; remove the polenta from the heat.

2.Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in zucchini and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften and brown in places, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Stir in the remaining 1 cup broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in basil; serve the sauté over the polenta.

Per serving: 264 calories; 14 g fat (5 g sat, 5 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 5 g fiber; 356 mg sodium; 351 mg potassium.

4 servings, 3/4 cup polenta & 1 cup vegetables each

Cooking time 40 minutes.

Cook's notes:

1. I added extra cheese which would have been fine had it not been such a rich cheese. It was actually too rich for my f-i-l. It kind of overwhelmed the squash, so your could barely taste it, which made Mr. Snowgoose very happy.
2. We used basil from our garden!
3. Since I had such a superlong summer squash, I just used one. We probably had more squash than we needed.

Mr. Snowgoose and I made it again last night, only we ommited the squash and added bacon. Polenta is super easy to make. I think I'll continue to experiment with different cheeses and veggies.