Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stuffing Vegetables

This vegetable post is a follow up from Friday's Moment. We are starting to see more tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers and eggplant in our csa these past few weeks.  There isn't enough to make a big meal out of one vegetable but if there is one or two or each vegetable put them all together with some meat or vegetarian stuffing we have stuffed vegetables.
I have done this a few times and have always wanted to share but wasn't so sure how because I don't have  a written recipe and there are so many variations and possibilites.  So I decided to just break it down by vegetable and then explain the filling.

1. Tomatoes (mine and Stefania's favorite):
I cut off the tops and freeze them for soups or another recipe.  Next scoop out the middle without puncturing the sides.  Set aside the inside juice for something else or freeze. You are now left with just the shell set aside till they are ready to be stuffed. 

2.  Zucchini:
Wash and slice lengthwise.
Next cut out or scoop with a spoon as much of the inside withouth pucturing the zucchini shell.  Set aside the inside of the zucchini for the stuffing or another recipe. 
As for the shell you can do one of two things Option 1:  Steam the zucchini shell for about 3 minutes till tender.  Cool down then stuff when ready.  This will cut down the cooking time when they are stuffed and in the oven.  Option 2:  Set the shell aside in a pan till ready to be stuffed. If you choose to stuff them when the zucchini is raw it will take longer in the oven to cook almost 1 hour. 

3.  Bell Peppers:
Wash, cut off stems and take out seeds and white inside pepper.  The bell peppers must be steamed for about 3 minutes, cooled down and then suffed.  Steaming them a little will help with the cooking time in the oven otherwise they will  cook too slowly.

4. Stuffing the vegetables: 
Now that you have your vegetables lready you can begin stuffing them with your favorite meat or vegetarian mixture.  My meat is cooked turkey meatballs. I would recommend preparaing and cooking your filling ahead of time. If the filling is not cooked it will take much longer in the oven. 

This is where the helpers come in for the stuffing and pouring sauce in the bottom of  the baking dishes and over the vegetables.    If allowed sprinkle a little mozzarella cheese.  Then cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes.  Remove the cover the last 5 miinutes. 
Enjoy your summer stuffed vegetables!
There will be a post in the next day or two of how I used the insides of the vegetables.

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