Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beef and Quinoa Stuffing for Zucchini or Peppers

With this being the third day in a row that I've posted about "stuffing" something, it appears that if it ain't nailed down, I'll stuff it and bake it. So please take special care to watch over your small dogs and cats this week. (Just kidding....geez)

The zucchini were another gift from the guys at work and they were perfect for stuffing because they were the overgrown home garden variety, the kind with lots of seeds in the middle. If you were to use regular-size zucchini, I would cut them in half, lengthwise and stuff them as zucchini boats. The green bell peppers were actually from our own garden and since this stuffing recipe makes a ton, I decided to use the leftovers on them.

Ground Beef and Quinoa Stuffing (enough to stuff four large zucchini or four large bell peppers. I did a combination of both)

To prepare zucchini and bell peppers:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the zucchini into 3 inch sections. Carefully remove the seeds and hollow out the center of each section, making sure not to hollow completely through the section. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place zucchini and/or peppers in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Drain any liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the zucchini or peppers. Set aside. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

For the stuffing:

3/4 cup quinoa
beef broth
1 pound lean ground beef
kosher salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper (any color) seeded and diced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh oregano, chopped
1 TBSP fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, reserve a little for garnish
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

While the zucchini and/or peppers are baking, prepare quinoa according to package instructions, using beef broth instead of water. Set aside.

In large skillet over medium-high heat, crumble ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned. Drain and remove from pan to a small bowl.

In same skillet heat olive oil. Add the onions and bell pepper and season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute until onions are translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 3-5 minutes, or until mushrooms have given up most of their liquid. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and parsley and saute for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato paste and Worchestershire sauce. Add the cooked quinoa and ground beef. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over all and stir well to combine. Remove from heat.

Stuff zucchini and/or peppers with mixture.

Bake the zucchini for an additional 25-30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness. I like my zucchini tender/crisp so I baked them for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Cover stuffed peppers with jarred spaghetti, marinara or tomato sauce. Return peppers to oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with your favorite cheese. Return to oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly.


Karen said...

I have some quinoa in the pantry - I'm afraid to use it! LOL When we get zucchini from our garden, I'll add some to my meat mixture and give it a try!

From the Kitchen said...

This is one of those "aha" moments. I love stuffed peppers. My husband doesn't like the pepper part. I never thought about stuffing zucchini! Thanks for the heads up to a delicious dish.


Moogie said...

Mags, Yes you've nailed it this time. You get a big YUM!!!

SeattleDee said...

I usually stuff vegies with a chorizo and rice combo, but now I'm inspired to make it healthier by using quinoa. Thanks for the idea.

Lynda said...

This is a great idea to use the rather large zucchini that appear in the garden! I've always used smaller ones for stuffing, and use the larger ones for grating for bread. Not anymore.

June said...

Mags - if somebody tells you to "get stuffed" you'd really take it to heart wouldn't ya? These look delicious especially the peppers. Wow you grow 'em beautiful don't ya!

Grumpy and HoneyB said...

Ok, so next time mom says she has some zucchini and its not teeny tiny, I will TAKE it. lol. Grumpy won't eat stuffed peppers but I bet he'd eat the zucchini. I love the stuffing recipe!!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Yum! Love the stuffing recipe... Looks great. What I really love, though, is how you stuffed those zucchini by standing them up and hollowing out the middle. I might have to steal that idea (but will give you credit, of course!)

Mary said...

I'm TOTALLY trying this recipe this weekend! I did stuffed peppers for the first time a couple weeks ago but now, I just give this a go! Thanks!!

Delightful Bitefuls

Meagan T. said...

I just made this recipe and it was AWESOME! My five year old loved it and my 11 month old, too! I could have eaten all of them myself. I used bell peppers and bison meat. Will definitely make this again... and again. Thanks for sharing!

Mags said...

Meagan: Thanks for reporting back and letting me know you enjoyed this recipe!