GAR­DEN-STUFFED ZUC­CHINI BOATS

Taste of Home - - Cook Smart -

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.

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