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FRESH GARDEN RECIPES: Stuffed Summer Squash Boats . . . Corn Salad . . . Green Beans with Almonds

Stuffed Summer Squash Boats 2 slices bacon, finely chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 4 medium to medium-large summer squash 2 large cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press 1 pound ground beef Salt and freshly ground black pepper to tast...

CHEF JEFF -- ONE BYTE AT A TIME: Corn and Black Bean Salad
Combine seafood with fresh garden vegetables in this poached shrimp with corn and cherry tomato salad. (McClatchy Tribune)

Stuffed Summer Squash Boats

2 slices bacon, finely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium to medium-large summer squash

2 large cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

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1 pound ground beef

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 large roasted red pepper from a jar, chopped

4 slices stale or briefly toasted country bread, processed into medium crumbs

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

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Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped bacon, stirring and cooking to release fat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the chopped onion and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until onions are quite soft but not brown, stirring occasionally (if bacon is unusually lean and does not release enough fat, add a bit of olive or vegetable oil).

Meanwhile, make squash "boats" by cutting the squash in half horizontally; with a sharp-edged spoon, scoop the flesh from the squash; set the squash shells aside and chop the flesh; set aside.

Add the garlic to the pan with the onions and cook briefly, stirring; raise heat to medium and add the ground beef, breaking it up with your hands as you add it to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook until beef is no longer red. Add chopped squash, stirring, and cook about 5 minutes; then stir in tomatoes and roasted red pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs, grated cheese and herbs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place squash "boats" on a heavy rimmed baking sheet or in an ovenproof pan large enough to hold them; if any of the squashes roll, you can shave a small slice from the bottom to create a flat surface for them to sit on. Divide filling among the squash shells and bake for 30 minutes if you prefer firmer shells or longer for softer shells. Filling should be nicely browned.

Yield:Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 256 calories, 14 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 51 milligrams cholesterol, 182 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 55 percent of calories from fat.

Corn Salad

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4 ears sweet corn

12 cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped fine

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup red onion, diced fine

½ teaspoon salt

6 grinds of pepper

1 head leaf lettuce

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook the corn for 3 minutes then plunge the ears into an ice water bath. When cool, cut the kernels from the cobs.

Mix the corn, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, oil, onion, salt and pepper. Taste for acidity and adjust as needed.

Place a lettuce leaf in the center of 4 plates and fill with corn salad.

Yield: Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving 157 calories, 14 percent of calories from fat, 2.8 grams fat (0.4 grams saturated, 1.5 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 5.2 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 4.7 grams fiber, 302 milligrams sodium.

Green Beans with Almonds

½ pound fresh green or yellow wax beans

½ cube butter

3 to 4 garlic cloves

1 cup blanched slivered or sliced almonds

1 lemon

Salt to taste

For garnish: green onions, slivers of red bell pepper or dried cranberries.

Steam beans in the microwave or on stovetop. Melt the butter with the garlic cloves. Once the garlic infuses the butter (let your nose be your guide), scoop out the garlic and add the almonds and cook until toasted.

Toss the beans, almonds and butter in a serving bowl and salt to taste.

Squeeze lemon juice over the top. Garnish as desired.

Stuffed Summer Squash Boats
Ground beef and fresh vegetables from the garden such as tomatoes, onions and peppers provide a perfect stuffing for baked summer squash. (McClatchy Tribune)

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
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