Did you have a garden this summer? If so, you’re probably swimming in piles of produce that you just haven’t gotten around to using yet. Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s easy to have eyes that are bigger than your stomach at the grocery store and many people find themselves facing the end of the summer than more fruit and vegetables than they know what to do with now.
Sound familiar? Not to worry—too many vegetables is never a bad thing! Take a look at why three of the most common varieties of summer produce are so good for you and you’ll want to start cooking with them immediately.
• Squash & Zucchini
Squash and zucchini are both low calorie vegetables that provide you with lots of nutritional benefits. Summer squash provides high amounts of vitamin C, potassium and carotenes while zucchini is known for its high fiber content, which can help with digestion and lower cholesterol. Try grilling, sautéing or stuffing squash and zucchini for healthy sides or filling main dishes.
Considered a “superfood” by many, tomatoes are one of the best foods to have too much of for a couple reasons. First off, tomatoes provide high amounts of Vitamins A, C and E that can help burn fat and they also contain important carotenoids that help prevent inflammation. Secondly, there are dozens of tomato sauce and tomato recipes out there so you’ll have no problem finding ways to use fresh or canned tomatoes.
• Peppers & Chilies
Peppers are another summer vegetable that is great to incorporate into a variety of different meals. They contain numerous vitamins and are a good source of fiber as well—different colored peppers provide different health benefits, so make sure you try out each color. Peppers and chilies are also healthy for you since spicy foods have been shown to speed up metabolisms and can help with weight loss. Stir fry them, grill them or put them in pastas; there are endless ways to use them.
This recipe for Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini is perfect for using up extra zucchini and is dish that is easy to transition from late summer to early fall. Plus, with zucchini, lean turkey sausage and tomatoes, it’s a healthy dish that you can feel good about serving to your family.
Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 medium zucchini, each cut in half lengthwise
6 ounces turkey sausage (“Mom” prefers organic)
½ cup chopped onion
1 14.5 oz can Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, drained
1 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup Egg Beaters® Original
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (“Mom” prefers organic)
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray 13×9 –inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Scoop pulp from each zucchini half, leaving ¼ inch shells and reserving pulp. Place shells cut-side down on a microwave-safe plate and cover with waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH 4 minutes or until shells begin to soften slightly. Arrange shells in baking dish.
3. Cook turkey sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Remove sausage from skillet; set aside.
4. Cook onion and reserved zucchini in skillet about 5 minutes or until onion and zucchini are lightly browned and softened. Stir in drained tomatoes, cooked sausage and bread crumbs. Remove from heat; cool for about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in Egg Beaters and spoon filling into zucchini shells. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.
Serves: 2 (2 zucchini halves each—can serve 4 if serving along with sides)
Calories per Serving: 348
Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 30 min
About the Author
This recipe and image are courtesy of Meredith Kimelblatt, who writes on behalf of Hunts. If you’re looking for a healthy dinner idea, easy meatloaf recipe, or simple lasagna instructions, visit www.Hunts.com.