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Zucchini and Ground Beef Orzo Casserole

zucchini and ground beef orzo casserole Entree
Zucchini and Ground Beef Orzo Casserole
  • Prep 40 min
  • Total 1 hr 25 min
  • Servings 6

Ground beef and zucchini make a great pairing is this surprisingly light casserole. There’s enough creamy cheese and orzo pasta to make this taste indulgent, but the zucchini plays a role too, as it has a naturally buttery taste and silky texture, both of which are enhanced by baking. And if the pound of zucchini wasn’t enough to meet your veggie quota, there’s also a can of tomatoes and an onion, so this dinner is a guaranteed way to get your family to eat some nutritious ingredients! The combination of kitchen staples and easy prep make this a perfect weeknight meal, which can be served up in just over an hour! MORE+ LESS-

November 5, 2018

Ingredients

1/2
cup uncooked orzo pasta (3 oz)
2
teaspoons vegetable oil
1
lb zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise, cut in 1/8-inch slices
1/2
teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2
teaspoon salt
1
lb ground beef (at least 90% lean)
1/2
cup chopped onion
2
teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1
can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
1
cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1/2
cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4
cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
1
tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2
teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4
teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Steps

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  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
  • 2
    In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium heat. Cook squash, Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in oil 4 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash has started to soften but is still crisp-tender. Transfer to large bowl; stir together with orzo.
  • 3
    In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook beef, onion, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain, and add to bowl with squash. Add crushed tomatoes, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil, thyme and pepper flakes; stir to combine. Spoon mixture into baking dish.
  • 4
    Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbling on edges and completely heated through. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese; let stand 5 minutes.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t have fresh basil or thyme? 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried Italian seasoning can be substituted for the fresh herbs.
  • Ricotta is an Italian fresh cheese made from sheep, cow, goat or buffalo's milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Traditional fresh ricotta is smoother than cottage cheese and tastes mildly sweet.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: About 1 Cup
Calories
320
Calories from Fat
130
% Daily Value
Total Fat
15g
23%
Saturated Fat
7g
33%
Trans Fat
0g
Cholesterol
70mg
23%
Sodium
560mg
23%
Potassium
640mg
18%
Total Carbohydrate
20g
7%
Dietary Fiber
2g
8%
Sugars
6g
Protein
26g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
10%
10%
Vitamin C
15%
15%
Calcium
25%
25%
Iron
20%
20%
Exchanges:
1 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 1 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 3 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
1
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
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