This is my idea of “toning it down” after Thanksgiving. Because melted mozzarella is the epitome of restriction.
Honestly, I’m pretty horrified by just how gross my gluttony has been. Would you freak out if I told you I’m still eating leftovers? Yes… still. Like, I reheated stuffing at 7:00am yesterday and considered it a light breakfast. And then I had sweet potatoes at midnight because that’s a totally normal time/food for dessert.
Essentially, I’m beyond help. So here’s my desperate shot at redemption – Baked Zucchini.
At this point it’s downright offensive that I can even think about eating, let alone do it. For all intents and purposes I’ve eaten on the hour, every hour, for the past week. About half those meals included booze, naturally. And the other half were followed by naps. NAPS. Because eating your face off is really strenuous stuff.
So basically I’ve gained like 30lbs, ripped through half my clothes, and now barely fit through doorways.
Dramatic? Sure. Accurate? Not really.
The problem with these post-holiday hangovers is that you know you should redeem yourself with like, 12 hours at the gym followed by 8 sticks of celery and a tall glass of air. But after a bender of butter, breads, and sweets, you’re not in a position to make good choices. Now your body is actually craving all this crap, so you need to re-set your taste buds. I tried to take a short-cut to resuming a normal appetite by taking a day to “fast”. And guess what happened? I lasted till about 1 o’clock, then I inhaled 15 cookies.
It was super successful.
So since the extreme approach was a total fail, I decided I needed to ease myself back into normalcy. Baked Zucchini seemed like a good approach because it’s just like baked ziti, but without all those fussy carbs, so that felt like a good start. And with a melty cheesy blend of ricotta and mozzarella, it didn’t feel too restrictive, either. In fact, it was just the perfect “Hey, remember when you weren’t a beast?” kinda meal.
Because I was desperate for portion control, I broke this recipe out into individual servings. But if you’re lacking in the mini casserole dish department, fear not. Simply double the recipe and you’ll have ample food to fit a standard 8″X8″ or 9″X9″ dish. Just beware – The more you make, the more control you’ll need. Ya know… assuming you even have any to begin with.
Clearly, I have none.
- 8 oz Julienned Zucchini (~3 cups)
- 1 cup Diced Yellow Onion
- 3/4 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella (I used Sargento)
- 1/3 cup Part Skim Ricotta (I used Polly-O)
- 1 cup Marinara Sauce
- 2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Crushed or Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp Basil
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt & Coarse Black Peppercorn – approx.
- Using food processor or mandoline julienne zucchini, leaving skin on or off depending on your preference. Set aside.
- In large skillet saute onions in EVOO over medium high heat until soft and slightly translucent. Next, reduce flame to medium before adding in zucchini, garlic, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and a few dashes salt & pepper, combining well. Saute for 5-6 minutes until zucchini begins to soften, then stir in marinara sauce and ricotta, mixing thoroughly. Lastly, add ~1/4 cup shredded mozzarella to pan, stirring well before removing from heat.
- Transfer mixture into mini casserole dishes (4″ X 1″), then equally top with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, then turn oven to broil and cook for 5 minutes more. Once cheese has melted and the tops have browned, remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly, then immediately plate and serve.
>> Double recipe to fill an 8″X8″ or 9″X9″ casserole dish.
when in doubt, add cheese.