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Vegetarian Taco Casserole

This veggie-filled spicy casserole was last week's recipe handout at Weight Watchers workshops. Immediately after the workshop I made a bee-line to the supermarket to get the ingredients. It sounded so good and so easy to make.

Bottom line: it scores on most levels. It is very tasty and it is as easy to make as I anticipated. I even assembled it in the afternoon, chilled it and baked it at dinnertime. Here are my caveats: the corn tortillas on the top layer maintained their shape during baking, but everything below that sort of melted into a homogeneous, albeit spicy, mixture. It was tasty and you could eat it with a fork and no knife. Oops, I forgot; you do need a knife, because low-fat cheese doesn't melt like regular cheese. it takes on a slightly rubbery texture that you can only get through with a sharp knife.

OK, so Vanna White I am not. On the positive side, if you're on a weight loss regime and you miss your favorite cheesy, high-fat Mexican entrees, this casserole will satisfy your south-of-the-border cravings. If you can afford the extra calories, I'd suggest using real cheese. If not, then don't forget to bring a steak knife to the table.

P.S. Just had leftovers for lunch. It reheated well & was just as spicy/tasty/knife-free.

2 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 medium)

1 cup sliced scallions, divided

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers packed in water, patted dry

1 tsp. ground cumin

9 medium stone-ground corn tortillas

1 1/2 cups salsa verde

1 cup shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese

1 medium jalapeño, thinly sliced

Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Add the zucchini and 3/4 cup scallions and cook until zucchini starts to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the corn and black beans and cook until heated through. Stir in the roasted peppers and cumin. Remove skillet from heat.

Coat a 11-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange 3 tortillas in the dish in a single layer, tearing the tortillas as needed to fit. Top with half the filling and spoon 1/2 cup salsa verde over the top. Repeat the layers with 3 more tortillas, the remaining filling and 1/2 cup salsa verde. Top with the remaining 3 tortillas and 1/2 cup salsa verde. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake until the cheese melts and starts to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup scallions and the jalapeño and cilantro.

Serves 6

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