You can make this casserole up to two days in advance, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator—but you'll need to bake it an additional 10 minutes. If you're cooking for one or two, the leftovers make great lunches and dinners throughout the week. Serve with a mixed greens salad.
2 medium zucchini
1 (17-ounce) tube of basil and garlicflavored polenta (such as Marjon)
Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
1 pound ground sirloin
1 (24-ounce) jar fire-roasted tomato-garlic pasta sauce (such as Classico)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Italian blend cheese (such as Sargento)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut diagonally crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut polenta crosswise into 8 slices; coat both sides of each slice with cooking spray.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add polenta slices; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Arrange polenta slices in an 11 x 7inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Reheat pan over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring to crumble; remove from pan, and drain, if necessary. Add zucchini to pan; sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add beef, pasta sauce, and pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Spoon beef mixture over polenta; sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese melts.
As a shortcut to making polenta from scratch in a saucepan, use precooked polenta. Look for flavored or plain 17-ounce tubes in the produce section of your supermarket. This precooked polenta works well in recipes that call for it to be cut into slices or cubes and sautéed, baked, or grilled.
The first time I made this, I followed the recipe closely and it was pretty good, but a little dry. The second time I added garlic an chopped onions to the meat while scrambling the meat and chopped eggplant to the zucchini. Delish! Kept well in the refrigerator for leftovers too!
I wasn't able to find the garlic basil polenta, so I substituted quinoa polenta. My pkg. of ground beef was about a pound and a quarter. I changed the recipe a bit more by cooking the ground beef with chopped onion, and added garlic to the zucchini. I also used a different pasta sauce and whole milk shredded mozzarella and provolone blend, because that's what I had on hand. It was quite tasty, and I will be making it again.
This is pretty good. I made it first with the flavored polenta and the sauce described. It was pretty good. Last night I made it again with regular polenta, made sure it got crisp, added garlic to the meat, and sauteed the zucchini with a bit of butter and garlic because I didn't have time to let it bake. It was much better this time. I also used my family's favorite sauce rather than the on described. The family ate it all gone...I should've left more out rather than freezing it!
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