Meatball Stuffed Zucchini On A Budget!
Transformation is defined as a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, etc. I like to transform recipes. With the hundreds of thousand recipes on the internet, I set out to transform them into a group of frugal yet tasty recipes geared for the retired, students, single parent families, SNAP recipients, low income families and anyone still suffering from the recession.
Here is another recipe that uses clever substitution of garlic powder for garlic cloves, parsley flakes for fresh parsley and cooked lentils for ground beef to lessen the burden on your pocketbook. These subtle changes take this recipe from $1.77 a serving down to a meager $0.91 per serving. The amount of time needed to prepare this recipe stayed virtually the same, just the price of the dish suffered.
Preparation time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 Tablespoon canola oil $0.03
1 Tablespoon garlic powder $0.09
1-14 Ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped with scissors in the can $1.00
1 Slice white sandwich bread $0.12
¼ Cup buttermilk $0.13
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping $0.32
1 Tablespoon ground parsley flakes $0.14
1 Large egg yolk $0.17
1 Pinch ground black pepper $0.01
3 Cups cooked lentils $0.36
3 Small zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out and discarded $3.06
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the oil and 1 clove of garlic to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish; transfer to the oven until the garlic is sizzling, 6-8 minutes. Stir the tomatoes and a pinch of salt into the oil; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the bread and buttermilk or yogurt and milk; set aside for 15 minutes for the bread to soften. Stir in the cheese, parsley, egg yolk, remaining garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Mix in the lentils until well mixed. Divide the lentil mixture evenly between the halved and cored zucchini. Arrange the stuffed zucchini in the baking dish. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake until the zucchini is softened and the meat is cooked through, 30-40 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. To serve, spoon the tomato sauce over the zucchini and top with Parmesan cheese.