Smoky Stuffed Zucchini

Happy Monday, all!

Man, those words may have never come out of my mouth in the same sentence before. I have lots to be excited about right now, though!

First things first. I got my house all decorated for Christmas last night, and it feels ah-mazing. This is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love reflecting on Christ’s birth and the impact it has had on our world and will continue to have forever. I have always been fascinated with the whimsy and joy of this season. It just resonates deeply with my soul. Not to mention the fact that Christmas music is the bomb.com. I don’t even mind the fact that I feel like I’ve just finished cleaning glitter up from last year’s Christmas by the time it’s time to decorate for this year’s!

Also, I’m headed to see my hubs this weekend! I don’t mention him much on here because he isn’t around much. Lol. But seriously. The pilot wife life is no joke. I treasure the weekends I get to spend with the Mr. We’re in a season right now where I have to travel in order to see him, and I ain’t mad at it. It’s hard for him to be away, but I love having excuses to explore new cities!

Alsoooo, it may or may not be my birthday month. Growing up, I kind of hated having a birthday so close to Christmas. Now I love it! I have always loved a good celebration, and in recent years I have realized that I can turn every Christmas party into a birthday celebration, even if nobody else is on the same page 😉

Now, enough chit chat. On to tonight’s recipe: Smoky Stuffed Zucchini.

This is an easy weeknight dinner that can realistically be done in 40 minutes or so. It’s been a favorite in my household for a while now, and I am ready to share it with the world.

It requires less bake time than a stuffed pepper and is just all around better, in my opinion. It’s smoky, spicy, cheesy, and sooo versatile. You could easily turn this into an Italian-style recipe. All you’d need to do is swap the Mexican spices for a little marinara and the cheddar for mozzarella and BOOM! You’ve got a low-carb alternative to lasagna that *might* satisfy a pasta craving. (Read: It won’t. Still good, though.)

You will likely have some extra filling left over. It’s delicious over rice, or just by itself. I’ve even made nachos with it!

Anyways, I’ve talked enough. Try this recipe! I hope you love it!

Bon appétit!

Smoky Stuffed Zucchini

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise with middles scooped out (reserve the middles for the filling)

1 lb lean ground sirloin

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

1/2 tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground coriander

Ground cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking spray

1/2 block reduced fat cream cheese

1 cup mild cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend

2 green onions finely sliced, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°.

2. Begin browning ground sirloin in a large skillet. Season with salt and pepper.

3. When meat is cooked about halfway through, add diced onion and bell pepper, zucchini middles, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, and more salt and pepper. Cook until meat is brown and veggies are soft.

4. Add the cream cheese to the meat and veggies and stir until melted.

5. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease the foil with cooking spray. Place the hollowed zucchini on the greased baking sheet.

6. Spoon meat and veggie mixture into zucchini and bake for 10 minutes.

7. Remove zucchini from oven and top with shredded cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

8. Remove zucchini from oven and garnish with green onions.

9. Serve and enjoy!

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