Plus, an infographic on the benefits of eating venison!
Oh, it’s the dog days of summer all right. It’s too hot to do anything, even eat. Well, almost. At this time of year when triple digits are the norm, I always gravitate towards lighter fare. This is a challenge because our freezer is mostly full of heavy meats, and I just can’t justify yet another rotisserie chicken when we have all this great meat hanging around that’s both better for the environment and better for you. So what do I do? Stuff vegetables with it!
These stuffed zucchini are kind of filled with Italian wedding soup ingredients. Italian sausage? Check. Kale? Check. White beans? Check. This makes for a dinner that is pretty good for you (despite the inclusion of sausage) and full of all kinds of good things like fiber and vitamins. One note: cut the kale really small, especially if you’re using the curly kale, or it will try to jump ship out of the zuke boats. Spinach, as always, can be substituted for the kale.
If you want the recipe to be even lighter and even healthier, exclude the parmesan from the main mix and just sprinkle it on the top, or omit it all together.
- 6 Large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 12oz Italian sausage (removed from casings)
- 1 can white beans (rinsed)
- 1/2 bunch kale (trimmed and finely chopped)
- 1 Large tomato (finely chopped)
- 1 cup parmesan (grated)
- salt and pepper to taste
|Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the zucchini long ways, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with salt and lay upside down over paper towels to let drain while you prep everything else. Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. Add the sausage and cook, breaking apart into small crumbles with a wooden spoon or a spatula, sauté until cooked through and starting to get crispy and set aside off the heat to cool.|
|Combine the chopped tomatoes, white beans, kale, about 3/4 c of the parmesan and the cooled sausage mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Line a baking pan with foil and lay the zucchini face up. Fill them with the sausage stuffing, pressing as much into the well made from scooping out the seeds as possible. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the zucchini has softened but isn't too wilty.|
|Once out of the oven, sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the zucchinis and serve warm. Goes well with rice or crusty bread.|
Non-game substitution: Regular ‘ol Italian sausage will do the trick.
Vegetarian substitution: You can omit the sausage all together for a light and lovely vegetarian meal. Leave out the cheese too and it’s vegan!
Also, today we have a special treat from our friends over at Good Game Hunting. An infographic, yesssssss! This highlights the benefits of eating wild game over factory-farmed animals. Most people have become very far removed from the process of putting a meal on the table. As a result, our agricultural practices have gotten dirty and somehow in the mix we have started treating animals like they are disposable. While hunting is considered a sport and the culture has acquired stereotypes that are less than refined (thanks a lot, Duck Dynasty), I have yet to find a hunter that disrespects the animal or treats the animal as abysmally as does the factory farm that put that filet mignon on your plate. So let’s all eat more wild game!
Do keep in mind there is but one caveat to this infographic, and that is in the cost analysis. In Montana, yes, venison only costs $.95 a pound because they have a lot of public hunting land, and the animals are bigger. I’m assuming this is also not taking processing fees into account. Here in Texas (and many other places), it is not this inexpensive when you account for hunting lease expenses (at least $1500 annually) and the fact that our deer are much smaller. So, let’s say you get 45 pounds of meat from a Texas whitetail deer, let’s assume you shoot 3 deer annually (you get 5 tags, for no more than 3 bucks), plus processing fees (which, I forget how much this costs because all that happened back in January and I’ve drank since then) but it does vary greatly depending on what you get. I know it’s cheaper if you skin and quarter it yourself, etc. Let’s just say $100/per animal not counting anything having to do with trophies. All that comes out to about $13/pound. $11/pound if you process it yourself. Less if you shoot all 5 deer the state allows in one season. And this is not even including gas, tags, and ammo. So, the meat is definitely more a happy bi product of the hobby and not exactly a cost cutting device. Despite the cost, eating wild game is a lot better for you for all the other reasons listed in this info graphic. Enjoy!