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Zucchini stuffed with italian sausage, mushrooms and onions
I went to the farmer's market yesterday afternoon and picked up some local veggies.  I was getting low and was craving the garden-fresh taste of good vegetables.  I saw some zucchini that were perfect and grabbed six of them, along with some very colorful cherry tomatoes (even purple ones, which were quite tasty) and walla walla onions.   I had gotten a delivery of some more italian sausage from my Ruegsegger Farms and was staring at this, wondering what I was going to do with it.  I remembered that a friend had sent me a stuffed zucchini recipe of hers and thought, lets give it a try.   Try we did and it was fabulous.  There is just the two of us now and I still haven't learned the trick to downsize my cooking for two, so I always seem to have plenty.  At least Tom gets a great lunch the next day!  Because there were extras (I made 6 boats - 3 zucchini's halved).  I caught him walking around later in the evening with one of the leftover ones; he just picked it up and was eating it.  Guess it was that good.  

Here is the recipe, revamped of course, enhanced, but nothing is ever set in stone.  Flip a few things around and try to make it your own!

Stuffed Zucchini
(serves 4-6)

4-5 zucchini (make them medium size, not too skinny and not the big fat ones either - just a nice, average sized zucchini)
1 c panko breadcrumbs (can use fresh bread crumbs.  I had a loaf of challah lying around and put a few slices in the food processor and used that.  Worked perfectly)
1 to 1-1/2 lbs bulk Italian sausage
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1/2 c diced mushrooms
1 T butter or olive oil
1 c Parmesan cheese
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste.

the zucchini boats
Wash and prepare zucchini, by cutting off the stem and splitting lengthwise, in half.  Scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, creating a boat.  Place the scooped flesh into a mixing bowl.   Place the zucchini halves on a baking pan (I use a jelly roll pan) that is sprayed with Pam.  Drizzle olive oil over the zucchini halves and sprinkle the boats with salt and pepper.

Using a medium-sized sauté pan, sauté onions in butter/olive oil, until transparent and soft.  Add to mixing bowl with zucchini flesh.  Sauté chopped mushrooms in same pan and when soft, add to bowl as well.   Brown Italian sausage in same pan, until just slightly brown and crumbled.  Add to bowl.  In bowl mix veggies and sausage well.  Add breadcrumbs, cheese, worcestershire, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Scoop stuffing into zucchini boats.  Sprinkle tops with a little bit of parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, until zucchini is soft.  

Can be served with a salad for a full meal or cut into quarters and serve as a side dish!


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