Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Boats

A few weeks ago, I decided to create a dinner dish featuring the amazing zucchini from the local farmer’s market. Normally, I would have followed an actual recipe, but since none of them tickled my fancy, I set off to combine the flavors I wanted to eat that night! And here you have them:

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Guts scooped out and ready for filling!

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Onion, red and green bell peppers, and garlic cooking in olive oil.

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Filled zucchini boats with lots of cheesy goodness!

Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Boats [loosely based off Skinnytaste]
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 whole zucchini
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara [I made this version from Skinnytaste]
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Directions:

In a medium pan, heat the oil on medium heat until it’s warm. Add the garlic and cook for approximately 30 seconds. Add the onion and peppers to the pan and let cook until the onions are translucent.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil <- this is for the zucchini in a minute or 10. Also, crank that oven up to 400 degrees.

While the stuffing is cooking, slice the zucchini in half hot-dog style [length-wise]. Cut off the ends and scoop out the inside [aka the guts] with a small spoon or if you are fancy and have a better tool – go for it:)! Then add the zucchini boats to the boiling water and let them cook for a minute. This helped soften them up and get the cooking process going. Once the zucchini are cooked, spread them face up in a baking pan.

By now, your onions/peppers/garlic mixture should be done and ready for the quinoa to be mixed in [I had some on hand, otherwise start the quinoa first, then proceed as directed above]. Add the filling to the zucchini boats filling them to the top. Then top with marinara and cheese <- I’m a cheese lover so I tend to go overboard; feel free to scale back.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until your zucchini are sliceable with a knife – then serve.

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P.S. This dish makes for killer leftovers, too. I ate boats for days afterwards, as the serving size for these bad boys was 1.5 boats per meal seemed just about right.

Chocolates, Bodypump, & Date Night

Before Nick’s mom left for Tunisia earlier this month, she surprised me with a bag of goodies for my birthday. Not being one to wait, I dug in immediately. Among my treats, were these 2 Lindt bars:
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Oh my! They are were tasty!! I carried both to the office for an afternoon treat/pick-me-up and neither lasted very long. O.M.G. these things are good!

After crashing by 9:30p, I was awake and ready to pump it up and tackle the morning session of Bodypump at my gym.
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Uh oh, this isn’t going to be good…I *might* be becoming addicted to Bodypump. Although I know and feel confident I could handle higher weights, I’m maintaining my use of lower weights for the time being and focusing on my form until I’m accustomed to completing that many reps in a single session; I’d really rather not injure myself at this point. Half marathon training has begun!! Saturday’s run will be the longest training run yet – 10 miles on the schedule! I have a plan for it, so I’m ready to take the challenge.

Anyways, back to daily life: Nick and I decided Thursday night would be our date night for the week and treated ourselves to Villa Francesca to take advantage of the Groupon I purchase 2 months ago <- we’ve been a little busy since then!
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Of course, we were sure to include our girl, Sizzle in the mix [love, love, love restaurants that are pet-friendly]. My take: the food was delicious! I was hungry once again and devoured the Mozzarella Caprese and most of my Penne Con Pollo Promodoro. My only request would be that the Penne dish needed more cheese [but I am a cheese addict]; otherwise the wine, service, and quality was delicious. We are looking forward to our next trip back.

A Little Bit of This, A Little of That

And now you think I’m sharing another recipe, but I’m not – I do have one for later this week [stay tuned for Quinoa-filled Zucchini Boats]. Our weekend was full of randomness and it was great!

We kicked off our weekend with a home-cooked meal and a low key Friday night.
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Skinnytaste’s Baked Chicken Parmesan [with leftover marinara from earlier in the week], along with green beans a la Run Eat Repeat [No TJ’s seasoning present in my house, so I created my own mix].

Once I woke up Saturday morning, I was grateful it wasn’t pouring and set out to conquer my scheduled 9 mile run – which turned into 9.5 miles with my first Garmin fail.
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Although my run was longer than my Garmin said, it was still shorter than Runmeter said when I mapped it out. I was shocked when I saw the elevation gain of 1,427! That’s 2x the route for the Thunder Road Half Marathon in November. If I keep this up every week, I’m hoping I can reach my goals!

Later on after an ice bath + a few errands, this happened:
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And then this:
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I’d say the froyo was better than the movie, but that is always the case!! It’s going to be a problem when my office is across the street from a froyo place. Anyways, Admission was fine, but Nick and I both felt it left a bit to be desired with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in leading roles.

Later on, I headed to bed to start a book:
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And just over 2 hours later, I was done with it. I could not put this book down after the first 2 chapters! The story had relatable characters, a story line that kept you involved and wanting to know the end. Definitely a great read! Mental note: Reserve more Sarah Jio books now!

Sunday began bright and early with a trip to Cary to drop off my old washer and dryer at Nick’s mom’s new place.
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We were only in Cary long enough to take the washer and dryer inside then back home to the Queen City! We are planning to return soon and explore the area a bit.

And of course, once we returned to the QC, we stopped off at one of our favorite watering holes, VBGB for a few drinks and snacks.
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That would be a lambic for me and an IPA for him. After a few snacks, we headed home and now, Nick enjoyed Cloud Atlas and I blogged!

Side Note: I might have figured out my new routine for recovery…Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves the night before, Leg Compression + Compression Leggings [love these Old Navy ones – cheap and efficient] following my ice bath [first one ever!], and finally one more night of calf compression. I woke up Sunday ready to MOVE! Next task on my list…determine the ‘right fueling’ for me.