Meat, Tomato, and Cheese Zucchini Casserole
(Makes 6-8 servings) Phase 3 and Phase 4
2-3 med/large zucchini
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (may need more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 T finely minced fresh garlic
1 lb. ground beef (10% fat or less)
12 oz. ground turkey (10% fat or less)
2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce, sugar free
2 cups mozzarella or other mild cheese
Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Chop onion and green pepper. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then saute onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more, being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove the onion, pepper, and garlic mixture to a bowl.
Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan. Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey, season and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned. Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there is, then stir cooked vegetables and garlic back into the meat. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat while meat cools, cut zucchini into slices, discarding ends. Place in shallow baking dish. Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture over zucchini.
Bake zucchini for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous sprinkle of cheese. Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.