Stuff yo face, I mean veggies.

Ok so this idea is kind of a culmination of a few things. Not the idea of stuffing your face, the idea of this stuffed veggies recipe. Anyway, get amped guys. This is just a peak into the method behind the madness of this fun lil blog here. I realized that we try to always provide recipes that use and reuse ingredients. We want there to be enough overlap that when you are spending money on something, its being used to its full value. However, I can’t say that’s been true for the mirepoix mix that I reference in my turkey meatloaf recipe. So I got to thinking on what else I use that with. Not that you need a specific recipe because its something so multi faceted that it can be thrown in a frittata, it can be used as a starter to soups and stews (says the label on the packaging. ha so ya I felt like a fraud, saying hey guys just throw it in anywhere). Then, I ate this delicious stuffed zucchini the other day from this Italian deli I frequent (shout out to Tredici’s). They made the marinara fresh and it was stuffed with hot sausage. I was in love. All I had to do now was to find a way to make it easy & healthy (I mean some of us are still sticking to 2014 resolutions). Anyway, let’s get right to it. Oh and don’t be scared of the long list of ingredients, this dish isn’t complex, there are just layers to its yumminess.

Vegetables:

  • 3 large zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 3 bell peppers (any color works)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Filling:

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups of the mirepoix mix
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup white wine, such as pinot grigio
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (use dark meat if possible)
  • 1 large egg, beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 2 heavy baking sheets with vegetable oil cooking spray. For the vegetables: Using a melon baller (or spoon since I have no such melon baller in my kitchen) remove the flesh from the zucchini, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Reserve the flesh. Place the  zucchini and peppers, hollowed-out sides up, on the prepared baking sheets. Season with the salt and pepper. For the filling: Place the zucchini flesh in a food processor. Add the garlic, mirepoix, chili flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend until all the vegetables are finely chopped/mixed. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the blended vegetable mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. (make sure to taste the mixture before blending in the meat, make sure there is enough flavor & its seasoned enough). In a medium bowl, combine the cooked vegetables, turkey, egg, 1 cup Parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Mix the ingredients until well combined. Spoon the filling into the hollowed-out vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan on top of the filling. (I also did some shredded cheddar because more cheese is never a bad thing). Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the vegetables are tender and the tops are golden brown, 45 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a platter and serve. You can accompany with marinara from the call it what you will recipe.

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*I was out of zucchini & did it with squash, stick with zucchini though because you will get more “flesh” from the center to mix with the meat. I would also chop up the tops of the peppers and blend with the other veggie mixture. It makes the stuffing less meaty and more flavorful*

Happy Eating, XO.

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Turkey Meatloaf

What a bad rep meatloaf has. Often referred to as: cafeteria cuisine or diner drab, meatloaf is known as dry & un-flavorful. Plus if you take away the fat of pork or beef, you are setting yourself up for failure. FALSE! The old myth that only fat=flavor is debunked with this recipe. Not only is this meatloaf delish, its a great example of comfort food done right.

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1.5 cups of mirepoix mix (you can chop your own or buy the pre chopped stuff. Its just diced celery, carrots, and onions so don’t be fooled by the fancy French name. Note it can be equal parts of each or adjusted based on what you like. I personally decrease the carrots and increase the onions, but to each his own).
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I lied its actually a total of 2 tbsp. 1 will go in the dish and 1 will be used as a glaze: see cooking instructions below).
  • 1 tbsp. bbq sauce (any brand of the bottled stuff, don’t need home made on this one).
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I do the Italian seasoned ones, but if you have plain lying around don’t sweat it).
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic (keep a jar of this in your fridge, upwards of 5 recipes on the blog use it).
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I add a few pinches of red chili flakes too, but I love spicy).

In a non stick pan, sautee the mirepoix, olive oil, salt pepper, garlic, and chili flakes. Once the veggies are softened (and cooled! don’t add hot, straight from pan. you will end up cooking the egg versus using it as a binder) add to the meat, along with the egg, sauces, and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour in meatloaf pan and take the same portions of the sauce (1 tbsp. worcestershire, 1 tbsp. bbq, and 1 tbsp. ketchup, mix and pour glaze on top of the meatloaf (I spread it with the back of  a spoon to coat evenly. Trust me on this, not only does it hold in the moisture, but it adds a great crust of flavor since the sugars will caramelize when baking). Throw into a pre heated oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes based on how deep your loaf pan is. Comment below if this hasn’t changed your mind about meatloaf. Note, I served with the pantry gravy (recipe under sauce boss) when my dad came over for dinner. Also note, word on the street is there is a great variation on this using dry French onion soup mix, stay tuned for more on that.

Happy Eating, XO.