Shrimp Zucchini Boats

Fresh garden veggies are what summer is made for. Eating fresh and in season not only tastes amazing but is so enjoyable.

I’m sure everyone is well acquainted with the zucchini ‘boat‘ idea. Basically zucchini sliced in half lengthwise, hollowed out and filled with whatever you choose. I think incorporating the zucchini you scoop out into the filling is a good idea. This versatile veggie takes on the flavor of whatever your cooking, so the possibilities are endless.

For this recipe, I’m keeping it simple and filled the zucchini boats with rice and succulent pieces of marinated shrimp then topped them with parmesan cheese. I find the best zucchini to use is a medium size, about 8-10 inches in length. Zucchini that is smaller than that really tastes the best but should be saved for other recipes because their not big or sturdy enough to hold the filling. Those super large zucchinis are best for grating to add to baked goods like bread and muffins.

It seems like just about the time you think you made everything possible with this veggie, one more idea pops up. Yay zucchini!

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Shrimp Zucchini Boats
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Marinade
  1. In a container with a lid, place cleaned shrimp & remaining marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Rice
  1. Cook rice in chicken broth until tender.
Zucchini
  1. Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise; scoop out centers, leaving 1/8-inch thick shells. Place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Chop zucchini flesh that was scooped out of centers. In a large skillet, melt butter; add chopped zucchini & sauté until tender crisp. Remove from heat & add cooked rice, garlic powder & some of the parmesan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  4. Fill hollowed shells with rice mixture. Drain shrimp & place on top of rice mixture. Drizzle marinade over top of shrimp boats. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until shrimp is cooked & zucchini is tender crisp.

Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Like many recipes with folk origins, pierogi dough can be made in a variety of ways with some people using eggs & sour cream & others don’t. Making your own pierogis is actually an easier job than you might expect (just a little time consuming).

Like all ‘dumplings’, pierogis can pretty much do no wrong. They’re great as a side, as the main event or you guessed it ….. in a casserole or even dessert.

What makes it even better is that the filling possibilities are endless ….. the pierogi knows no boundaries!

Brion & I always enjoy a seafood meal. On a quest to come up with something different it occurred to me I had never put shrimp in a pierogi filling before. If it works in seafood lasagna why not a pierogis?!

Last summer I had posted a meal using a sun-dried tomato sauce. The once, incredibly popular, sun-dried tomatoes have become an underrated, ingredient that few people stock in their pantries anymore.

Sun-dried tomatoes are very versatile & can be used in unlimited ways, Because they’re dried, the flavors of the tomatoes are intensified. This sauce, with its bold & rich garlic & herb flavors was the perfect accompaniment for these shrimp pierogis. Definitely a keeper!

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Shrimp Pierogis w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Pierogi Dough
Shrimp Filling
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Pierogi Dough ( Yield = 18)
  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, beaten egg, butter & sour cream. Mix until dough comes together. On a work surface, knead dough for 3-4 minutes until elastic. Place in a plastic container with a lid & refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Shrimp Filling
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt 1 Tbsp each, oil & butter. Saute leeks, mushrooms & garlic until tender.
  2. Stir in half of the bottle of clam juice & the 1/4 cup chicken broth; bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add shrimp & 1/8 tsp pepper. Return to a boil, then reduce heat & let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain the filling, reserving liquid. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter. Stir in flour & mix until smooth. Gradually add in the milk & reserved liquid (from filling), while stirring constantly. Sprinkle in the rest of the salt & pepper. Bring sauce to a boil & cook for about 2 minutes until thickened, continuing to stir.
  4. Remove the sauce from heat & mix in the heavy cream & Parmesan cheese. Take about 1/3 cup of the sauce & mix it with the shrimp filling. Place remaining sauce in a bowl & set aside to be added to the SUN-DRIED TOMATO SAUCE later.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
  1. Add oil to skillet & heat on a medium heat. Add onion & saute until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, oregano & smoked paprika.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes, while stirring, then add remaining clam juice, sea salt & RESERVED sauce. Gently combine. Set aside until pierogis are cooked & ready to serve.
Roll & Fill Pierogis
  1. Remove pierogi dough from refrigerator & cut into 18 equal pieces (about 30 gm each). Roll each piece into about a 3 1/2-inch round. Place a heaping Tbsp of shrimp filling (about 30 gm) in the middle of pierogi. Dip your finger in a bowl of water & run it along the edge of the dough. Fold pierogi in half, carefully pinching together edges to seal it completely.
Cook & Serve
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop pierogis in & boil until all the pierogis float to the surface & dough becomes somewhat translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Remove pierogis with a slotted spoon, making sure to let as much of the excess water drip off as possible.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a Tbsp of butter. Place drained pierogis in skillet. Do not over-crowd so that they can all lightly brown on both sides. Reheat sun-dried tomato sauce & place in a serving dish. When pierogis have fried a bit, (blot on paper towel if you wish), then add to sauce on serving dish.
Recipe Notes
  • When making the pierogis, nothing wrong with rolling out all the dough at the same time & cutting your circles with a cookie cutter. I just personally like dividing the dough so I don't have to do any re-rolling with the scraps. Just personal preference.
  • If you happened to have any filling leftover, just add it to you sun-dried tomato sauce.

Bacon & Potato Cheese Ring

If foods were granted awards, bacon wouldn’t rank high for healthiness but it might win first prize in the food addition category.

Bacon simultaneously appeals to all three flavors many people crave …. sugar, salt & fat. Its the perfect combination that goes to the brain which says, take another bite. Even the distinctive scent of bacon is unique.

Flavor variations of bacon include peppered bacon, Applewood, chicory, maple and wood smoke options, which are derived from woods that impart their own unique flavor notes. It all becomes very, very complex. This ‘salty-sweet-fat’ combination has been used to enhance any food group from breakfast to dessert nowadays.

This recipe combines bacon with potatoes and cheese to make an ultimate comfort food meal.

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Bacon & Potato Cheese Ring
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Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cook potatoes & mash. Add flour, egg, butter & Parmesan. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Line a 10-inch ring mold pan with half of the bacon so that the slices overlap & cover the inner & outer walls of the pan.
  3. Distribute about 2/3 of the potato mixture evenly over the bacon. Use a spoon to create a 'tunnel' in the potato all the way around the pan.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. Place the cubes of Swiss cheese in the tunnel then add the rest of the potato mixture on top, smoothing it flat.
  6. Add another layer of bacon on top & bake for about 50 minutes. Flip out of ring pan & bake another 40 minutes or until bacon is browned.

Belgium Meatballs w/ Sour Cherries

This is an example of great classic Belgium cuisine. Sweet, sour and savory all in one dish! It seems, in Europe alone, many countries have their own special version of meatball dishes, from Swedish and German meatballs in brown or white sauce to Italian meatballs with their classic red sauce.

Although meatballs are a staple of Belgium home cooking, you will find a variety of different recipes throughout the country.

Boulets a la Liegeoise, (a traditional Belgium meatball originating from the city of Liege), are a blend of ground beef and pork, eggs, some bread crumbs, salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg. That’s it …. no fusion cooking, bells and whistles. Just good, plain food made special with a tart cherry sauce.

I just couldn’t resist making a variation of these since Brion & I have our own little cherry tree in our back yard.

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Belgium Meatballs w/ Sour Cherries
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Servings
Servings
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Instructions
Meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients & mix well. Measure out 20 meatballs, approximately 40 gm each, & place on the baking tray.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
Cherry Sauce
  1. Measure cherry juice & cornstarch into a dish to combine.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat cherries & add cornstarch mixture. Stir until sauce thickens, add honey & stir again.
  3. Remove from heat. Drizzle over meatballs or serve on the side. Serve hot.
Brown Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt butter; add flour to make a roux. Cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Slowly add beef broth, stirring until sauce thickens. Season to taste.
  3. Serve as an alternate to the cherry sauce with Belgium meatballs.

Sausage & Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

While there are numerous ways to enjoy spaghetti squash, I favor stuffed. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to stuffing. Beef, turkey, chicken along with rice and a nice smoky cheese like Gruyere or even mozzarella and Parmesan work really well.

It’s called spaghetti squash for a reason. Just steam, microwave or bake the squash in its shell and scrape out the flesh with a fork or spoon. No need for a spiralizer as it separates its own flesh in slender pasta-like strands. It makes for a remarkable stand-in for pasta dishes and with such a mild flavor you can chose from any number of sauces to give it a flavor boost.

This stuffed squash is the full meal deal. Along with veggies, you have chicken, sausage and cheese. Super good!

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Sausage & Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, German
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Drizzle cut sides of spaghetti squash with oil & season with salt & pepper. Place cut side down on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Using a fork, break up squash strands. Set aside.
Filling & Topping
  1. In a large skillet, scramble-fry sausage in olive oil; drain on paper towels. Add another Tbsp oil to skillet; saute onion & pepper about 3-4 minutes then add tomatoes, zucchini, garlic & lemon zest. Season with salt, pepper & Italian seasoning & cook 3-4 minutes more. Gently stir in squash, cooked chicken & sausage & remove from heat.
  2. Divide mixture between spaghetti squash halves (or quarters). Top each spaghetti squash portion with mozzarella cheese & return to oven to melt for 5 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan & serve.