Zucchini Stuffed with Tuna

I know what you’re thinking, canned tuna? Stuffed in zucchini? This can’t be worth making unless you happen to have leftover zucchini and canned tuna you don’t know what to do with. Even when my mother said she tried this recipe years ago and highly recommended it, I was skeptical. It really is delicious though…no really. Garlic is cooked with the zucchini flesh, mixed with tuna and parsley, then kept moist by soaked bread (what? Bread soaked in water doesn’t sound appetizing? Well once you see how moist it keeps the filling, it just might be). Baked in a mushroom tomato sauce until the zucchini is soft, all of the elements come together in this bright clean tasting dish. You could use fresh tuna, but why bother when canned tuna does such a terrific job that after the zucchini is baked, it tastes a lot like Tilapia or any mild fish. With little carbs and little fat but both protein and vegetables, this is also a perfect dish for the supposedly “healthy” month of January.

Other than converting the size of the zucchini and canned tuna, I really didn’t need to change much in this recipe. Of course, a little sprinkle of Parmesan on top never hurt anyone… but this dish is perfectly tasty as is.

3 medium zucchini
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 slices bread, soaked in water, then squeezed dry and crumbled
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 can (5oz) tuna, mashed
1/2 pound small white button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups tomato puree or sauce
1/2 stock
grape tomatoes (optional)

Cut zucchini into 2 inch pieces. Scoop out centers using a sharp knife or melon baller. Chop zucchini centers coarsely. Mix bread, tuna, parsley, and pepper.

Combine zucchini centers with garlic and saute in half the oil till soft. Combine with tuna mixture.
Sautee mushrooms in remaining oil until soft. Add tomato puree/sauce, a little salt and stock. Simmer 15 minutes.
Stuff zucchini shells with tuna fish combination. Place into tomato puree mixture.

Bake until zucchini are very tender. Top with half a grape tomato, if using.

Serves 4

From “The Art of Good Cooking,” by Paula Peck. Adapted by Megan Peck.


Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash

3 chicken thighs, skinned
3 chicken legs, skinned
3 scallions chopped
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/4 cup tomato purée
1/2 cup sour cream

Place chicken in a low, wide saucepan which may be covered. Add scallions, garlic, dill, chicken stock, and white wine.

Bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer chicken 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken pieces from liquid.

Optional: place in baking pan in 300 degree oven while preparing the sauce.

Skim off fat from liquid in pot. Reduce the liquid over high heat by half. Stir in paprika and tomato puree. If sauce is very thin, continue to cook it down until it thickens slightly. Remove sauce from stove and stir in sour cream.

Pour over chicken.
Sprinkle with any leftover dill and serve.

Serves 3.

Adapted by Megan Peck



Indian Beef Curry

Vegetable Curry

A cousin to Punjabi Vegetable Curry, Beef Curry is basically an Indian style meat and potatoes. Comforting and hearty with soul warming spices like cinnamon, the braised meat gives this dish a slow cooked flavor you crave on those freezing cold winter nights. Serve with Sauteed Cabbage in White Wine or by itself with just rice and Raita (shown here).

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or fat skimmed from basic braised beef)
3 tablespoons curry powder (or 1 tablespoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1/2 tablespoon turmeric)
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 medium red bliss potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup stock or broth
1 recipe Basic Braised Beef
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oil or fat in heavy wide pan, and add mustard seeds. Just before seeds begin to pop, lower heat and add remaining spices: curry powder, cinnamon, and black pepper. Stir for 2 minutes, then add diced potatoes. Season with salt.

Stir in Basic Braised Beef. Add the stock and cover. Simmer over low heat until meat and potatoes are completely tender. Add more stock or broth as needed to ensure meat and potatoes do not dry out. Stir in cayenne pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serves 6.



Punjabi Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking”

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Indian style recipes in “The Art of Good Cooking.” This was the first one I tried from the book and to be honest, I was skeptical. I first experienced well made tasty Indian food in high school. I say “well made” because prior to this, my experience with Indian food consisted of overly spicy burning your entire mouth to the point that you can’t taste and might as well be eating canned dog food mixed with oil and heavy cream. My stepmother introduced me to healthier, flavorful dishes, mostly of north Indian decent.
This recipe uses curry powder which was more available than spices such as turmeric, cumin, and ground coriander that curry powder can (but not always) be essentially comprised of.
A vegetarian dish that if served with rice and a side of Raita is easily a full satisfying meal. It has over 5 different vegetables which makes the dish more lively, and each one is easy to find and inexpenive. Like most curries, a fair number of ingredients are needed for this recipe. I find that each one creates a distinct layer of flavor within the dish that contributes to the overall highly spiced (but not necessarily hot and spicy-that’s up to you) multi-fascited profile. This is no boring dish.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 large onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated or minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder (or 1 tablespoon each ground coriander and cumin, 1 /2 tablespoon turmeric)
1 fresh serrano pepper or cayenne pepper to taste
1 small cauliflower cut into florettes
2 red potatoes peeled and diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup stock (or as needed)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 pound fresh green beans trimmed and cut in half (or 1 package frozen green beans)
1 package frozen peas
1 lemon juiced
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a deep pot over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When seeds begin to pop, stir in green pepper, onions, garlic, serrano pepper if using and ginger, and saute until tender. Add curry powder, cayenne if using, salt, and pepper. Add cauliflower and diced potatoes and toss in spice mixture. Add stock and tomato sauce. Cover pot and simmer over medium low until potatoes and cauliflower are tender – add more stock if needed. Add green beans, then peas. Continue to cook until all vegetables are tender. Do not allow to dry out too much. Alternatively, you may turn up the heat at the end if there is too much liquid – there should not be too much sauce surrounding the vegetables. Add lemon juice. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and shredded coconut. Serve with fluffy steamed basmati or jasmine rice and Raita.

Serves 6-8


Turkey Sausage with Sauteed Sweet Potatoes and Apples

A rustic seasonal dish that combines the comforting flavors of fall and Thanksgiving. For the apples, I use granny smith which are very tart and require slightly more sugar, but any firm crisp apple may be used. The brown sugar helps brown and caramelize the apples almost like an apple pie. The original recipe from “The Art of Good Cooking” did not have sausage but I found that the saltiness balances the sweet and acidic flavors from the sweet potatoes and apples. The sausage also rounds out the dish to make it a complete lunch or small dinner.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound sweet turkey sausage
1 1/2 – 2 sweet potatoes or yams peeled and cut in 1/2″ cubes
3 semi-tart, hard apples peeled cored and sliced 1/4″ thin and halved
1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
pinch of salt
crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Heat a medium sized skillet large enought to hold all of the sausages in one layer over medium heat. Add oil. Place sausage in pan and brown on all sides and remove. Add about half the butter. When butter has melted, add sweet potatoes and sautee until crisp and tender all over

While sweet potatoes cook, heat a large skillet over medium low heat. Add remaining butter. When butter has melted, add apples, sugar, and lemon zest. Sautee for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the sausage at an angle in 1-2 inch pieces.

When apples are slightly browned and dry but not quite soft, add orange juice. Add the sweet potatoes and sliced sausage to the pan. Cook until orange just evaporates and sausage is cooked through.

Serve and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4


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