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Chef Donna: Quick and easy zucchini treats

Stuffed Summer Squash / Zucchini Cups I love finding great ideas on the internet, especially when those ideas help use up all the zucchini we seem to have on ha...
Zucchini Cups FOX43

Stuffed Summer Squash / Zucchini Cups

I love finding great ideas on the internet, especially when those ideas help use up all the zucchini we seem to have on hand this time of year!  I’ve taken the idea for zucchini cups and made it simpler, faster and tastier!  The recipes for the tequila-lime-spiked tomatoes and the tomato sauce will find plenty of other uses in your kitchen!  Use the spike tomatoes on tacos, salads, and quesadillas, or with grilled meats or fish.  The tomato sauce recipe is the fastest way I know to turn canned sauce into homemade-tasting tomato sauce!

 

Recipe:  Stuffed Summer Squash / Zucchini Cups

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

For the tequila-lime-spiked tomatoes

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced thin

About 1 tablespoon high quality white (or silver) tequila

Lime Frost Sea Salt, available at www.spiceandtea.com

Lime Sugar, available at www.spiceandtea.com

 

For the tomato sauce

1 can (14.5 ounces) tomato sauce (or smaller)

About 8 cloves garlic, finely minced (use less if using a smaller can of sauce) (or substitute 2 teaspoons Vik’s Garlic Fix, available at www.spiceandtea.com)

¼ cup fresh, chopped basil leaves

2 sprigs fresh oregano

 

For the zucchini

2 to 4 zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long each

1/2 cup finely chopped onion, optional

1 red pepper, finely chopped, optional

2 lb. fresh sausage*, casings removed and cooked (substitute: cooked chicken, coarsely chopped then processed briefly (until ground) in food processor)

1 cup fresh shredded cheese (use a combination of cheddar, mozzarella or any other mild/complementary cheese for your sausage)

 

*choose highly seasoned sausages, preferably with a bit of cheese or vegetables already blended in, such as chicken sausage with spinach and feta, or brats with cheddar cheese. 

 

Preparation

Make the tequila-lime-spiked tomatoes.  Place the tomatoes (and juices) into a non-reactive bowl, drizzle tequila over the tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes and tequila with 1 teaspoon of TSTE Lime Frost Salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of TSTE Lime Sugar. Cover and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes, tossing frequently, or up to 24 hours.

 

Make the tomato sauce.  Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer gently for 15 minutes to infuse the flavors into the sauce.  Keep warm until ready to use.

 

Preheat oven broiler and prepare a rimmed sheet pan by lining it with aluminum foil, then lightly spraying it with non-stick spray.

 

Heat a bit of butter and olive oil in a medium size pan and sauté the onion and pepper until just soft, if using.  If your sausage is already cooked, add it to the vegetables and heat through.  If not, then add the sausage and cook, breaking up the mixture with the back of a wooden spoon) until brown and just cooked through.

 

Meanwhile, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices and using a melon baller or spoon scoop out the center of the zucchini, going all the way through and leaving a hole in the bottom of the cup for the juices to escape.  Place in microwave safe dish or bowl and cover with plastic wrap; steam cook for about 2 minutes to soften the zucchini.  Remove from the bowl, let the liquids drain off and arrange the cups on the prepared baking sheet.  Spoon a little of the prepared tomato sauce I the bottom of each cup, then the cooked sausage mixture (push the mixture gently into the cup and form a little mound of sausage above the top of the cup), and then top with a bit more tomato sauce.  Sprinkle the tops of each cup with the cheese, and place under the broiler about 3 minutes, until cheese is melted and zucchini cups are warmed through.  Using a spatula, remove the cups to a serving plate and garnish with a tequila-lime-spiked tomato.  Serve immediately.

 

Chef’s Note:  To make the flatbread pizza, use the same recipe/ingredients above, just thinly slice the zucchini and place on the flatbread before putting under the broiler.  You can steam the zucchini before using on the flatbread if you don’t like that fresh crunch.

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