Zucchini Boats

2 medium zucchini (about 8 inches)

3/4 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

2 tablespoons ketchup

Salt and pepper to taste

Trim the ends off zucchini. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving 1/2-in. shells. Finely chop pulp.

In a skillet, cook beef, zucchini pulp, onion, mushrooms and peppers over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat. Add 1/2 cup cheese, ketchup, salt and pepper; mix well. Spoon into the zucchini shells. Place in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

When scooping out the pulp for Zucchini Boats, a teaspoon is just the right size. Use your food processor or blender to finely chop the pulp quickly.

Grilled Zucchini and Leeks with Walnuts and Herbs

⅓ cup walnuts

1 garlic clove, finely grated

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise with some root attached

2 large zucchini (about 1 lb.), halved lengthwise

½ cup (lightly packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toast walnuts in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Chop very coarsely. Toss warm walnuts with garlic, lemon juice, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Brush leeks and zucchini with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 5–8 minutes for leeks, 8–10 minutes for zucchini.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board. Trim roots from leeks and cut leeks and zucchini into bite-size pieces. Add vegetables and parsley to bowl with walnuts and toss to combine; season vegetables with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Squash, Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

2-1/2 c. (about 1-1/2 lbs.) butternut squash (I buy the pre-cut squash)

1 large sweet potato

3 medium carrots, sliced

1 c. onion

1/4 c. thawed orange juice concentrate

3 c. milk

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Optional toppings:

sour cream

minced chives

sesame seeds, toasted

If you’re using a a whole butternut squash, cut a piece of the squash to equal to about 2-1/2 cups (about 1-1/2 lbs.), wrap cut end in plastic wrap and microwave for about four minutes. Microwave sweet potato, depending on size, about six to eight minutes. Slice carrots and microwave about six minutes.

Sauté onions in olive oil and butter in a large pan.

Transfer cooked squash, sweet potato and carrots into pan with onion; stir in the milk and orange juice, salt and pepper. Use a handheld blender to puree fully or you can use can pour soup into a blender. If using a blender, pour soup back into pan and stir over low heat until heated through (do not boil).