Summer harvest in August and September gives you plenty of options to create healthy dinners for your family while saving you money at the same time! Farm stands are brimming with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, and your local grocery store is just about paying you to take home a bushel or two of sweet corn, zucchini, and other plentiful items. Plus, if you look around your neighborhood, you may find some friendly neighbors that will gladly share some veggies and herbs from their garden! While the Summer is ripe with produce, it’s a good time to blanch and freeze some for later or try canning them. Opening a jar of garden tomatoes in January is a flavorful treat! Eating fruits and vegetables that are considered “in season” will save you money all year long. Take that extra money you save each week and deposit it in your savings account. Trust us, it will add up!
So, what should you be buying now?
Here’s a healthy recipe you can try tonight:
Lasagna Zucchini Boats
(Recipe Source: Cooking Classy)
Yield: 8 zucchini boats
- 4 medium zucchini (2 1/2 lbs), sliced into halves through the length*
- 1 cup (8.6 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 8 oz 93% lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
- 4 tsp olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 3/4 cup roasted garlic marinara sauce
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg and 1 1/2 Tbsp of the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble beef into the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned (there shouldn’t be any excess fat but if you happened to use a fattier beef then just drain excess rendered fat). Stir in marinara sauce and 1 Tbsp of the basil, remove from heat.
- To assemble boats, brush both sides of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in two baking pans. Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into an even layer. Divide sauce among zucchini adding a few heaping spoonfuls to each. Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender – about 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops with fresh basil and parsley and serve warm.
*Look for zucchini that is wider and more uniform in width. The skinnier zucchini won’t fit much filling.