I love to cook. I love going in the kitchen with a glass of wine and chopping, slicing, and sauteing to my hearts content. I love that after a day of dealing with work demands, the kitchen is my fortress; no one comes in and tells me what to do. But, sometimes life gets in the way of my desire to cook. That’s why I love “prep once, eat twice” type of meals. I’m not talking about leftovers either; I’m talking about one night of chopping, slicing and sauteing and two nights of eating. Now, night two does involve some cooking, but we’re talking about a minimal effort here. Dish one is a perfect “Meatless Monday” dish. Dish two would be a great later in the week dish when someone has to work late, or you need a quick bite before an evening activity. It starts with chopping a whole bunch of vegetables. Don’t have something? Substitute. Don’t like something? Leave it out. Have some leftover taco meat or chicken in the fridge? Toss it in! This dish is infinitely flexible.
For the purposes of creating a recipe, I diced one red pepper, one summer squash, one onion, one jalapeno, a handful of artichoke hearts, and a stalk of broccoli.
Mix it all together in a large bowl and add in 1-2 cups of spaghetti sauce. Stir in 1/4-1/2 cup of cheese of Italian blend cheese (or whatever you have in the fridge). Season with salt and pepper as well as two tablespoons of Italian seasoning blend. Stir to combine.
For dish one, preheat the oven to 375. Halve two large (preferably straight) zucchini lengthwise.
Using a spoon, carefully scrape out the middle of the zucchini to form a boat. Repeat with the remaining three halves.
Season the insides with salt and pepper and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet (I was out of foil, so I used my silpat.)
Scoop the mixture into zucchini halves, filling each half generously.
Sprinkle a little more cheese on top and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy with a side salad.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook 1/2 pound of pasta according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, heat a medium size saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and when hot, add the remaining vegetables. Cook 5 minutes or until softened.
Add the pasta to the pan, along with 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce. Toss to combine. Top with grated cheese and serve.