This past week I made a stuffed zucchini bake. My sister had given me a massive zucchini and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Surprisingly, it brought up a lot of nostalgic memories of my childhood.
My grandma always had an amazing garden growing up. During the summer months we always ate an abundance of fresh produce any time we were over at her house. She had a way of taking vegetables and making them delicious, even for kids! Any time I’m eating fresh raspberries, plums, or other garden items, I think of my time at Grandma’s growing up.
My Stuffed Zucchini Story
When I was about 10 years old, I had the opportunity to go on a mini vacation with my grandparents and my younger brother. We were going to their cabin up in the Idaho mountains. I was super excited. There are few things that fan the flames of a young boy’s imagination than spending time outdoors. The cabin was always like that for me. Grandpa would always be tinkering with something for us to be entertained by, and Grandma would serve up some seriously delicious meals.
As a kid, I was wary of vegetables. I think most kids feel that way. So I was a little nervous on this trip when Grandma called us in for dinner and saw a strange green vegetable on the middle of the table.
At this point in my life I don’t remember ever eating zucchini. This was something foreign to me. It looked ok though. I could see it was stuffed with ground meat, rice and seasonings. It had a generous helping of cheese melted on top. My choice was to eat dinner or starve.
Expanding My Horizons
Fortunately for me, my grandma could cook cardboard and it would earn a Michelin star. She’s that good with food! I think that naturally happens when you are born in Kentucky. You grow up knowing how to turn humble ingredients into delicious masterpieces.
I had faith that if Grandma was putting something on the table, it was going to be great. I dished up and dug in. My memory is fuzzy on the exact details of the dish. However, I know it was a stuffed zucchini bake, and I know it was delicious! When it comes to food, you simply can’t judge a book by its cover. If you take a minute to expand your horizons, you never know what new foods you might fall in love with.
My Recipe for Stuffed Zucchini Bake
I was a little surprised that stuffed zucchini was able to bring up so many memories. Food does that to me. I asked my grandma what she did for her stuffed zucchini bake growing up. Her answer, was that she always just threw things in a hollowed out zucchini and baked it. I thought I’d do my best to replicate that free-spirited kitchen mindset. Here is my recipe for a Mexican inspired stuffed zucchini bake. So go ahead and make the recipe. Add a little of this and a little of that, and be sure to make some memories along the way.
Mexican Stuffed Zucchini
- A massive zucchini(or several smaller ones)
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1/2 cup Herdez guacamole salsa
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese(it’s what I had, feel free to use a good melting cheese of choice)
Brown the ground beef and add the taco seasoning. Set it aside to cool. In a bowl combine beef, rice, beans, salsa, and cheese together. Cut zucchini in half and scrape out the seeds. Spoon the beef mixture into the zucchini. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Add more cheese to the top of the zucchini and bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!