Easy dinner recipes: Stuff your vegetables and other fun ideas

Dinner tonight? Stuff it. Vegetables, that is. Take your favorite summer produce -- summer squash and bright tomatoes -- and pack them with your favorite fillings, whether meat-based or vegetarian. The options are endless.

Bright yellow summer squash stuffed with a mixture of sauteed onions, mushrooms, cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Simple and flavorful, the dish takes just over an hour to prepare and makes for a filling light meal or a substantial side. I'd even argue the leftovers taste better reheated the next day.

A fragrant mixture of garlic, capers, crushed tomatoes, onion and a touch of wine are cooked to a rich, thick tomato sauce, while freshly made breadcrumbs, pine nuts and a few chopped anchovy fillets are the filling for a hollowed-out zucchini and small ripe summer tomatoes. Spoon the tomato sauce over the base of a gratin dish, and top with the stuffed zucchini and tomatoes. Dinner is ready to serve when the vegetables are softened and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

RECIPES: 57 dinner ideas in an hour or less

Or stuff zucchini "cups" with a flavorful pork-blend, melting cheese over right before they're done. It's dinner in just over an hour.

For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.


Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Servings: 10 to 12

Note: Adapted from Sotera Jaime. Look for smaller squash to avoid large seeds in the filling.

2 quarts water

2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

2½ pounds small to medium yellow crookneck squash (about 8 to 10 squash)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely diced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup finely diced button mushrooms

1½ cups crumbled queso fresco

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

Fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium pot, bring the 2 quarts of water to a boil, then add 2 teaspoons salt and the squash. Reduce the heat and simmer the squash, covered, until they are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 to 10 minutes (timing will vary depending on the size and age of the squash). Drain the squash and chill in a bowl of ice water until cool to the touch.