Posts Tagged ‘Meatless Monday’
Ah summer… the sun is shining, days seem longer and gardens are producing tons of fresh fruits and veggies. There is nothing better than garden fresh veggies. Crisp peppers, corn on the cob, zucchini for days and vine ripened tomatoes. However living in Pittsburgh we have all but a brief window of time where we can grow our own veggies like that. Nothing is better than homemade pasta sauce with garden fresh garlic, herbs and those juicy tomatoes. Well thankfully RAGÚ came out with their new Homestyle pasta sauces! You can get garden fresh taste with that rich homestyle way just like Nonna! So when the great folks from RAGÚ reached out to me to check out their new RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauces I was ecstatic. You see RAGÚ Homestyle pasta sauce is about tradition, family and amazing flavors. So today I’m sharing with you my Italian Veggie Stuffed Zucchini Boats Starring Ragu Homestyle Thick & Hearty Pasta Sauce. Get on the boat to YUMVILLE with this dish!
This time around I decided to go with their Homestyle Thick & Hearty Roasted Garlic pasta sauce. Since this dish was meatless I really wanted to give the veggie filling tons of flavors. This sauce was the perfect way to go! Rich, thick, bold and the roasted garlic flavor was amazing!
Did you ever go through a phase where you on this kick with a certain food that you literally ate it every day either as the main dish or as a side to it? Sure you’d change the ways it was use but it still was the same thing. Well that’s kinda how this recipe came about. See Mr. Fantabulous was on this major sweet potato kick. Every week I’d bake 5 pounds of them. For him it was always the same way – butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. For me I went honey and cinnamon, roasted grape or even into a sweet potato pecan casserole. But it was towards the end of the week and we were both getting tired of the same old thing however I had large cooked sweet potato in the fridge and I just couldn’t bear the thought of another sweet potato. Well that’s when this idea hit me… sorta.
See I hadn’t set out on making vegetarian meatballs however it kinda just happened. I was making my Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs for us (and for the freezer) when I this recipe kinda just popped in my mind.
By now you know I have issues with some vegetables still even as an adult. If you compare my childhood vegetable intake to my adult vegetable intake it’s drastically different. Growing up the only vegetables I would even consider eating were corn, potatoes and canned peas – ONLY canned peas. Anything else you would have thought by the squinched up face I made that you were trying to give me poison. I wanted no parts of anything else. Now there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not nomming on a raw pepper – red, orange or yellow though never green. To me green peppers are bitter. I crave jicama, love raw carrots (still hate them cooked), onions… yes ONIONS (not raw) are my friend. Like caramelized onions are incredible. And let’s not forget about Brussels Sprouts! They actually don’t suck! I’ve featured them in numerous dishes and salads. My shaved Brussels Sprouts salad is one of my favorites to date!
But… I still have issues with tomatoes. Like I love tomato sauces and stuff like that but tomatoes in a chunk form… *shudder*. They just bother me. And oh dear God if one is raw and I bite into it by accident I honestly think I’m going to die. LOL Well okay maybe it’s not quite that dramatic but I have issues with raw tomatoes. Now I have grown up to the point where if they are on a white pizza and roasted that I’ll eat them. I think it’s because that liquidy crap inside has dried up and ceases to exist. It’s the no-squish factor. Yeah I know, I’m weird but we all have our own idiosyncrasies.
Well I was bound and determined to incorporate more tomatoes into my diet.
So I’ve been on this major, MAJOR veggie burger kick. My Chunky Portabella Veggie burgers have been a viral success! It was only befitting that I give you another veggie burger that both vegetarians and carnivores would love! Let me introduce you to these lovely Chunky Portabella Parmesan Veggie Burgers! See marrying Mr. Fantabulous there was certain criteria I had to meet in the kitchen – know how to make Italian Gravy, Canolis, Struffoli and Chicken Parmesan. However there are days when I’m just not feeling meat. I love it but it doesn’t love me back at times so I had to find alternatives that when I made say Chicken Parmesan I didn’t have to stray and make a completely separate meal for me. This is one of those dishes.
See Mr. Fantabulous was craving chicken parmesan and I well, wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong it’s friggen awesome but I was kind of ‘chickend-out’ if you will. But I didn’t want to make something totally different for me. I was going to just make myself a veggie burger but then this hit me. Why not make an Italian version of my veggie burger and adapt it to be like chicken parm?
One thing that is awesome about living in Pittsburgh (other than the city just rocks) are the farmer’s markets we have. I am such a huge supporter of locally grown produce from folks that are just like you and I. Farmers are such an important part of our lives yet people often take them for granted. They get up before the butt crack of dawn (yes it’s an official time) and often don’t rest until late at night when most of us are fast asleep in our jammies. It’s a thankless job yet they do it day after day. It’s honorable and real.
So the other day I was at our local market that sells locally grown produce. Seriously it’s some of the prettiest stuff. The tomatoes were bright red and firm to the touch. The peppers were crisp in a myriad of colors. Then I spied the zucchini section. Now it’s funny as a child I would have given you my Barbie collection just to get out of eat zucchini, onions, tomatoes or pretty much any veggie that wasn’t corn or taters. If my dear mother were here today to see my cook (on purpose) with onions, tomatoes, zucchini and other non corn/tater veggies she would think I plain lost my mind. Lori Ann doesn’t do vegetables. But as you grow up your taste buds mature and change. Now granted there are some foods that I would prefer to send to the pits of hell (like cherries as they are the grossest things EVER) than eat them. But as I grew older I grew to really respect the ingredients and understand how their flavors work in recipes. It made sense to have onions or tomatoes. And eventually I began to fall in love with caramelized onions and mushrooms. Now I won’t eat a raw onion and I will gag til there is no tomorrow if you force me to eat a raw tomato but when cooked something magical happens to them.