GARDEN-STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS
These boats are basically a one-dish meal that cover all the bases. Feel free to swap in any of your favorite garden goodies. —Janie Zirbser, Mullica Hill, NJ
Prep: 40 min. + cooling Bake: 25 min.
Makes: 3 servings
3 medium zucchini
³₄ lb. ground beef
³₄ cup chopped onion
¹₂ cup chopped green pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced
1¹ ₂ cups water, divided
³₄ cup fire-roasted diced tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes (with seeds and juices) ¹₂ cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers, drained ¹₃ cup chopped fresh mushrooms ¹₄ cup ditalini or other small pasta 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme ¹₂ tsp. minced fresh oregano or ¹ ₄ tsp. dried oregano ¹₄ tsp. salt ¹₄ tsp. pepper ¹₄ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
Pasta sauce, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Halve zucchini lengthwise; place cut side down in an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scoop out seeds, leaving a ¹₄-in. shell.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking into crumbles; drain. Stir in 1 cup water, tomatoes, red peppers, mushrooms, pasta, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook until mixture is thickened and pasta is cooked al dente, 12-15 minutes. Stir in Parmesan.
3. Spoon mixture into zucchini shells. Place in an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with ³₄ cup Italian cheese blend. Pour the remaining ¹₂ cup water into bottom of dish. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Serve with pasta sauce if desired. Per serving: 489 cal., 24g fat (12g sat. fat), 103mg chol., 992mg sod., 28g carb. (10g sugars, 4g fiber), 36g pro.