Zucchini Boats

Hi there! If anyone else has a garden this summer, then I’m sure you can relate to the abundance of veggies that are coming from that garden right now, right?! Unfortunately for me, the only thing in abundance is massively large summer squash. I mean, seriously? Look at the size of these things! It’s just not normal.

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Anyway! I’ve seen some zucchini boats floating around the blog world and internet world and since I had a decent sized zucchini (not obscenely large like the summer squashes above), I figured that was the perfect thing to make this week! I didn’t want to stuff it with ground chicken since I just used ground chicken in my Summer Squash and Zucchini Lasagna that I made last week, so my mom suggested that I buy uncooked chicken sausage, take it out of the casing and cook it on the stove as I would ground chicken or sausage. Mom, this was a great idea! Chicken sausage is so much more flavorful than ground chicken so it’s always a great addition to a veggie-filled meal.

I also cooked up my favorite veggies to have in any dish: onions, peppers, broccoli and corn. As I thought about what I could use to help keep everything together in the boats, as well as provide a little boost of flavor, I remembered another trick from mom: add cream cheese or any other type of cheese dip to veggies, because it makes it seem like you’re eating a rich, cream sauce when you’re not! Mixing red sauce and cream cheese was just what the dish needed! I highly suggest trying this recipe if you, too, have zucchini and/or summer squash growing out of your ears.

Zucchini Boats- Stuffed with veggies & a light creamy red sauce

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3 uncooked chicken sausage links
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cream cheese
  • herbs and seasoning

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1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the seed part to create the “boat” that will hold the stuffing.

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2. Cut up the veggies and cook them in the pan. I always cook the onions first (for about 3 minutes or until translucent) and then I add the green peppers, broccoli and then corn. While these are cooking, I throw all sorts of herbs and seasonings into the pan: sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, etc.

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3. When the veggies have finished cooking, remove from the pan and add the chicken sausage (removed from the casing). Cook just as you would cook ground chicken. When it’s fully cooked, the veggies back in, as well as 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and 1 tbsp. of cream cheese. The cream cheese helps to make a nice, smooth sauce (learned this tip from mom).

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4. Once everything is combined, scoop it into the boats, top with cheese and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese gets nice and browned.

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2 words: Holy.Yum! Such a healthy and light summer meal! Now I just have to figure out what to make with the 3 ginormous summer squash and 1 more good sized zucchini….

Questions for you: What’s your favorite recipe that incorporates zucchini’s and/or summer squash? I’m in desperate need of good ideas!! Do you have a garden? What’s your favorite summer veggie?

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Wednesday Workout: Burpees, burpees, burpees. I <3 Burpees!

This week’s “Wednesday Workout” isn’t necessarily a workout, but rather an ode to burpees! It’s no secret around here how much I love burpees; in fact, there’s RARELY a time where I teach a class that doesn’t include them. Lately, I’ve been learning all sorts of new ones that I’ve been bringing into my classes and based on my member’s reactions to them, they love to hate them!  Which is why I am writing this post for you today: I want to share my love of burpees and all my favorite types of burpees with you! I am hoping you’ll either incorporate them into your workouts that you do or teach, because they really are one of the best cardio workouts.

*Side Note: I thought it would be fun to incorporate both step-by-step pictures AND video’s for my favorite burpees- let me know what you think! I apologize that the video’s are blurry; it must be something internal because the camera wasn’t moving when the videos were taken and I took a couple “test” videos and those came out just like these. I hope you can ignore that and focus on the burpees instead 🙂

1. Basic, most common burpee- this is the one I did up until just months ago. Starting from standing, place your hands on the ground, jump or step your feet out so you’re in high plank position, jump or step your feet back into your hands and do a nice, big jump at the end!

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IMG 0183 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

2. “Real” burpee (or, CrossFit burpee)- Start out just as you would when you do a basic burpee, but instead of jumping out into high plank position, jump out and drop your whole body onto the ground. From there, lift your whole body up, jump your feet in and perform a big jump at the end.

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IMG 0184 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

3. Surfer burpee- Perform a “real” burpee, but instead of jumping your feet in and doing a big jump at the end, push yourself up from the ground and land in a “surfer” stance. Drop back down to your stomach, jump up and land in a surfer stance at the other angle. I love these because they work your legs A LOT when you land in the low squat “surfer” stance.

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IMG 0185 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.
4. Frogger burpee- Perform a big forward jump, drop down into a “real” burpee, push yourself up and do a 180* jump so you’re facing the other direction. Jump in that direction, drop down into a “real” burpee, and continue on.

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IMG 0186 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

5. Burpee/Push-up/Side plank/Tuck Jump- I have no idea what to call this burpee, but I recently learned it from someone at a work conference (not a workout conference, mind you, I just talk about fitness all the time and found someone else who loves fitness!). For this one, you start out doing a basic burpee, but when you jump out to high plank, do 1 push-up then open up to a side plank, come back to center and do 1 push-up, open up to a side plank on the other side, come back to center and do 1 push-up and then jump your feet in and instead of just jumping up, do a TUCK JUMP at the end of the burpee. Killer!

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IMG 0187 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

6. One-Legged Burpee- Follow all steps as the “basic” burpee, but instead of jumping out with both legs, tuck in one knee and only jump back with one leg. Alternate legs jumping back for each burpee. You can also hold a small bender ball in between your knees here, too!

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IMG 0188 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

7. Angled Burpee Jumps- Start out with a “basic” burpee, but when you jump your feet out into a high plank, jump them out to the left. Jump them back into the center (at your hands) and then back out to the right, back to your hands, back out straight, and then jump them in and do a big jump at the end. So, it goes: down, out left, in, out right, in, out center, in, jump up.

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IMG 0189 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

8. Burpee w/squat landing- This is similar to the “surfer burpee” in that you don’t perform a big jump at the end of the burpee. Instead, when you jump your feet in, you stick your landing in a nice, deep squat. In addition, lift your hands so you have to balance in that low squat. After your landing is “stuck”, place your hands back down, perform a “real” burpee and then push yourself up and stick that low squat landing.

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IMG 0190 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

Your turn!! Share with me: What is your FAVORITE burpee? Least favorite? Did I miss any?