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YIELDS:

2 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 5 mins

COOK TIME:

0 hours 13 mins

TOTAL TIME:

0 hours 18 mins

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ingredients

2 Medium zucchini cut in half horizontally and the insides scooped out and chopped

½ Lb. 99% fat free ground turkey

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil + more for brushing cut zucchini

½ Cup marinara sauce

½ Tsp. dried oregano

½ Tsp. dried basil

½ Tsp. onion powder

½ Tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 Oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces

¼ Cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Fresh Basil Leaves and more grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil to make clean up easy.

2. Prep your cut and hollowed out zucchini “canoes” by brushing them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Put them on the prepared baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes to soften slightly.

3. Meanwhile, add the tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat. Add the turkey meat, chopped zucchini and all the seasonings and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Cook stirring, until there is no pink meat showing.

4. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

5. Remove the “canoes” from the oven and fill each zucchini half with a quarter of the meat mixture. Top each with a tablespoon of the shaved Parmesan and pieces of the torn mozzarella.

6. Place under the broil and broil until the cheese is melted and brown in spots. Serve topped with more grated Parmesan and torn basil leaves. Enjoy.

NOTE: There is nothing like a good ‘ol stuffed zucchini to get a healthy and easy meal to the table fast. If you use some great store bought sauce (my favorite go to sauce is Rao’s Marinara) you can get this done in minutes. Because it is so light and packed with good for you “stuff”, I like to serve it with crusty Italian bread on the side.  All part of my “master plan” to eat what I want by balancing each meal.

If you want to make your own marinara sauce, I have a great recipe. Marinara Sauce. Since I make this in bulk and keep it in smaller two portion containers in the freezer, I’m always ready to go when I’m in a time crunch (which is most of the time!).

A couple of tips for getting great “canoes” every time. First, I roast the zucchini to soften them up a little bit before broiling them and getting that cheese all melted. By brushing them with the olive oil and adding salt and pepper, you are giving the dish a flavor boost. Don’t overcook the zucchini because they’ll get real soft and fall apart when stuffed. 10 minutes seems to be the magic number in my oven.  Test them in your oven.  You want to be able to pierce them with the tip of a knife but there should be a little resistance. 

You’ll note, I add a bunch of extra spices to my basic marinara sauce because zucchini can be bland. You aren’t using that much sauce in this recipe (just enough to keep the meat moist) so I think adding the extra flavor really works here.

I used shaved Parmesan but grated Parmesan works just fine. If you want to get the shaved slices, just use a vegetable peeler to shave off cheese from the block.  Since there aren’t a lot of ingredients in this dish, use the best ingredients you can find and you’ll have a delicious and satisfying canoe everytime.

FYI: for my WW friends, I’ve used 99% fat free turkey to keep the points at zero. I did add the good for you olive oil to give it moisture and flavor. However, you can easily make this dish using ground beef, 97% fat free turkey, etc. Again, this is more of a guideline that a recipe. Whatever you do, don’t throw out the middle of the zucchini that you scoop out. That is great food. Just chop it up and add it to the mix and you get more vegetables into your diet without even trying.  If you have kids, this is a great way to get them to eat their veggies too.

Since I make a lot of zucchini canoes when I’m eating healthy and trying to hit work deadlines, I’ve created different international flavors to keep it interesting. So, if you like the idea, try my Mexican Zucchini Canoes and my Greek Zucchini Canoes. They are all good and they add variety to my rotation.

By now, you must be wondering why I don’t just call them boats like everyone else. Very simply, these things always fall over…LOL. Hard to flip a boat, easy to flip a canoe, hence the name. It doesn’t matter what you call them they are fun. Enjoy.

 

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