Don’t let the title fool you; this recipe will work with most kinds of squash. I’ve used it with acorn squash, straight-necked squash, patty pan squash, and zucchini. I’ve not tried it with spaghetti squash, but it should work with that squash, too. Zucchini is just my favorite because zukes take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked with.
If you are using zucchini, though, the squash needs to be medium-sized or large. This is because at this size, they have pulp and seeds that are removed to create a “boat”, or hollow cavity.
First, rinse the zucchini well, but don’t peel it. The squash should be sliced in half lengthwise and the pulp should be removed. It is then ready for the stuffing, as follows.
Note that this can be made with whatever ground meat you have on hand. I’ve made it with ground beef, ground pork, ground venison, ground elk, and ground antelope. All of these are very tasty. Also, for large zucchinis, the stuffing can be increased by using more ground meat.
Cheesy stuffed zucchini ingredients:
- 1 prepared squash
- 1 pound ground meat, broken up
- 1 egg, scrambled
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (1/2 pound)
- 1 cup saltines, crushed coarsely
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dried sage or tablespoon fresh sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cheesy stuffed zucchini instructions:
1. Lightly brown the meat. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients, including the browned ground meat, except the squash and cheese.
2. Put the squash halves on a cookie sheet, cavity side up. Fill the cavities with the meat mixture.
3. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the meat mixture in the squash.
4. Bake at 350 F for 45 to 70 minutes, or until a fork will easily pass through the zucchini. Cooking times can vary a little depending on the oven and your altitude.
I like serving this with fresh sliced tomatoes over the top, but that is a matter of preference. This dish is hearty enough to be served as a main course, or it can be served as a side dish with a light main course. Be aware that the cheese makes it quite filling.
Although the cheese and butter add quite a few calories, the zucchini is low in calories, so it is a good trade-off for people on diets. (Margarine can be used instead of butter, but this isn’t as healthy.) This is also a fairly healthy dish since zucchini is so packed with vitamins and minerals. It can be made healthier by using whole grain saltines instead of the regular kind.
This is a great way to use zucchinis out of the garden. If you don’t grow your own and have difficulty finding medium to large zucchinis, simply use another kind of squash. This is a delicious dish, regardless of the kind that is used.