Tag Archives: veggies

Meatloaf Madness

If you don’t like meatloaf, you just haven’t met the right one.

Meatloaf Collage

Meatloaf isn’t so much a specific item with a recipe, but more of a description really.  It’s meat, shaped into a loaf.  What you do with it however… ah, now there’s the world of possibility at your fingertips.  Truly, meatloaf is the Bob Ross painting of the cooking world… there are no mistakes, just happy accidents… or in this case, tasty accidents.  There’s no two alike.  Every family has their own traditional recipe but they are all made according to the cooks taste.  Sometimes they are made more traditional, and some are made with culinary or cultural themes in mind.

I watched an episode of Beat Bobby Flay on Food Network recently, where the competition was in fact making meatloaf.  Bobby Flay created a Korean inspired meatloaf, complete with kimchee, while his opponent (a barbecue master) made a traditional meatloaf and opted to smoke it!  Believe me when I tell you I was hungry watching the show.

The components of meatloaf are simply ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings.  A traditional American meatloaf is usually topped with ketchup, but that is optional too.

First comes the meat.

While ground beef seems to be the “obvious” choice, ground turkey is highly popular and versatile and makes an awesome meatloaf.  On the East coast where I’m originally from, the grocery stores sell packages of “meatloaf mix” that look like this:

meatloaf mix
Meatloaf Mix – Beef, Pork & Veal

Other meats can be utilized as well… lamb, venison, any ground game really, even ham or salmon!

Then the binder

Eggs and breadcrumbs serve as a binder, holding the meat together allowing it to be sliced after cooking.  Without enough binder the meat will just crumble and you’ll be thinking you should be having tacos or sloppy joes instead.

The rule of thumb for the eggs is one large egg per pound of meat. If it’s large (5 lbs+) or you’re using a leaner meat like turkey or venison, add an extra egg to maintain moisture.  You can use egg whites or Egg Beaters.

For the bread crumbs, for every pound of meat you’ll need 1/3 of cup of dried bread crumbs.  Dried bread crumbs include purchased bread crumbs (plain or seasoned), panko, corn flakes, oats, soda crackers or saltines, rice crackers and croutons.  Make sure they are crushed so they mix well with the meat.  Fresh bread also works well, just give it a few pulses in a food processor to turn in into crumbs and you’re good to go.  Double the amount of breadcrumbs needed if you’re using fresh bread.

Next the seasoning

There’s so much to put here I don’t know where to start.

  • Any dry seasoning mixtures or dry rubs – Barbecue, Cajun, Montreal Steak seasoning, Italian seasoning, etc
  • Sauces – Worcestershire, steak sauce, bbq sauce, fish sauce, red wine, liquid smoke
  • Soup mixes – Onion, beefy mushroom, etc
  • Fajita or taco seasoning
  • Parmesan, Bleu, Cheddar, smoked provolone, ricotta, swiss or feta cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs (that was a huge thing back through the 40’s -60’s)
  • Veggies – Onions, mushrooms, grated zucchini or carrots
  • Other meat
    • Bacon
    • Italian Sausage
    • Chorizo
    • Sage flavored sausage (would work well with ground turkey)

I was taught to make meatloaf and meatballs with the same mixture… garlic, onion, oregano, basil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper & parsley.  I took this a bit farther when I mixed ground beef & sweet Italian sausage and then stuffed it with a ricotta mixture and served it with marinara sauce.  Amazing!

Go Greek with lemon, garlic & fresh oregano (with a beef/lamb mixture and serve with mock tzatziki of Greek yogurt, grated cucumber and dill … YUM!).

You can opt to go more Mexican with some fajita seasoning and lime (topped with salsa?) Mmm!

Love cheeseburgers?  Consider ground beef with Montreal Steak seasoning and a splash of A-1, then throw in some diced bacon and cheddar or bleu cheese.  (Topped with bbq sauce?) OMG!

Thanksgiving anytime?  Turkey & sage sausage meatloaf, use stuffing mix for breadcrumbs (still crush them, maybe not as fine so they’re noticeable) stuff with mashed potatoes or diced sweet potatoes and top with cranberry sauce for glaze.  (Now that this is in my head I may need to do this one next week.)

Wrapped in Bacon
Meatloaf Wrapped in Bacon

On to the topping

While ketchup is the traditional favorite it’s far from the only choice.  Barbecue sauce, sriracha, canned diced tomatoes with basil, salsa, kimchee, Hunts canned “meatloaf sauce”, cream of celery, onion or mushroom soup, plain (unseasoned) tomato sauce, tomato soup, steak sauce, bottled chili sauce or cocktail sauce.  Pretty much anything else that you think might sound good including mixing some of the above items… or nothing at all.  My folks were anti-ketchup on meatloaf so I didn’t actually try this until I was an adult.

If this is your first meatloaf ever or you’re getting the kids cooking and want to keep it simple (or just don’t have much on hand), shoot for the basics.  Ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and onion soup mix (one envelope for every 2-3 lbs of meat) and ketchup on top.  Delicious!

This is why I shouldn't plate leftovers after watching Food Network
Mashed potatoes, gravy, fried meatloaf and an egg.  This is why I shouldn’t plate leftovers after watching Food Network.

Putting it all together

Some people insist on putting meatloaf in a loaf pan, others don’t.  As Bob Ross said “it’s your world”.  However depending on how much meat you’re using, it may not fit in a loaf pan.  I prefer to use either a roasting pan which will allow it to sit in its own juices or a broiler pan, so that the juices and fats can gather underneath way from the loaf.

When using a roasting pan, add water or beef stock to the pan along with any herbs you want to season your gravy.  When the meat is done, put it on a platter to rest and pour the liquids into a saucepan along with additional stock and seasonings then thicken with cornstarch or a flour roux for a delicious gravy.

Using a broiler pan is preferred if you’re trying to watch your fat intake, you don’t plan on making gravy or you’re making a stuffed meatloaf and you don’t want the liquids to surround the meat.  Do put a little water in the bottom of the pan to keep the fat from burning.

As I mentioned before, I stuffed a meatloaf with a ricotta mixture (same as you would use for lasagna).  When I did it I used a Bundt pan; a loaf pan would have worked just as well but I was using a lot of meat.  I lined the bottom and sides with the ground meat mixture, then put the filling in the cavity, then put an additional layer of meat on the bottom.

meatloaf w-egg&spinach
It’s your meatloaf, fill it however you like!

What I found is that its best to either turn it out of the pan before baking or line the pan with foil so that it doesn’t stick to the pan since it’s hard to get any tools in there to loosen it.

An easier method is to put half of your meat into the pan and build up the sides like this.

How-to-shape-a-meatloaf-best-recipe-potato-filled

Once you have that built you can fill it with just about anything… bacon, cheese, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, veggies (inside out cabbage roll anyone?), layers of frozen ravioli, you name it!  Then roll out the rest of the meat mixture, put it on top and pinch the edges to seal.

Another option it to spread out the meat mixture on a counter top lined in plastic wrap, put the fillings in the center then roll it up. You just don’t want to do this if you’re using fillings that can run or melt out (softer cheese, mashed potatoes, etc).

images
Roll the filling up.
Meatloaf (1)
… and it will look like this when it’s cooked.

Next, just top it if you want and put it in a preheated oven at 350°F for approximately 20 minutes per pound.  You want the meat to come to 160°F to make sure it’s done.  As with all meat, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

A few ideas I want to throw out there before I finish.

I realize that cooking for one breaks conventional rules especially if you want to eat what you make once and not all week.  Seniors, college students and singles tend to eat out because cooking for one can be “awkward”.  Consider baking the meatloaves in muffin tins or mini loaf pans (check out my post Work Smart, Save Money, Eat Great).  Leftovers are easily stored in the freezer and will make for quick meals or great for packing lunches.  Meatloaves can also be frozen in a raw state as long as the meat has not been previously frozen.  Pair them up with those ketchup packets in the bottom of your fridge and it’s a winner.

My grandmother (the fun one) really mastered cooking for one.  She got mini loaf pans and froze her raw meatloaf in the pans.  Once they were frozen solid they could be put in a freezer bag for easier storage.  When she wanted meatloaf for dinner she’d take one out and put it back in one of those mini loaf pans to thaw.  Later she would top it with the contents of a ketchup packet and pop it in her toaster oven!

cupcakes

 

“Frosting” like cupcakes is not only a fun decorating idea, but it’s great for a potluck or buffet line, kids and dieters too!  Portion control that doesn’t look like portion control.

If you need dinner done when you come home and don’t want to wait on the oven time, you can also make meatloaf in the crockpot by putting it on low for 6 hours.  A real time saver!

orangewall_red_fromwrist
Now tell me you can’t get your kids to help in the kitchen…

For the record meatloaf leftovers make the best sandwiches, whether open faced and smothered in gravy or on toast or hearty rolls with lettuce & tomato.  They’re even good fried with eggs for breakfast instead of sausage or crumbled in to pasta sauce, tacos or sloppy joes!  (And that makes it frugal!)

I hope you give this a try, either as a first timer, a seasoned cook with new creative inspiration or as a single who’s looking forward to not eating out, you’re guaranteed to love it.  If you have inspiration to add, please share as I’m always looking for new and creative ideas!  Happy eating!

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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I’m Dreaming of a Pot Pie… and More!

With winter weather upon us, you need something filling and hearty to warm you up and keep you that way.  Pot pie is just the ticket to warm you up and keep you going.  What I love is that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

Chicken Pot Pie

If you peruse the frozen food aisle (which is a great place to pick up ideas but not necessarily food due to the sodium content) you’ll find all kinds of variations including “dessert pot pie” (you know, it’s what the rest of us call… pie).

There’s only two parts to making a pot pie, the filling and the crust.  There are so many possibilities it’s astounding.  Truly you could make one for dinner every week for dinner and never eat the same thing twice.

The filling is always something stew-like… meat, veggies and gravy/sauce.  Whatever it is, you want it to be thick so it’ll hold up when you cut into it, just like a dessert pie.

What kind of meat?  So many choices…

  • Beef/Lamb/Venison – Leftover roast, stew meat, ground beef, even crumbled up extra hamburgers from the cookout if they’re not burnt (also great for chili – that’s why Wendy’s first put chili on their menu).
  • Chicken/Turkey – Canned chicken, leftover roasted chicken, marked down rotisserie chicken, thanksgiving leftovers, etc.
  • Tuna – I’m not a fan of tuna but if you are, it’s no different than working with canned chicken.

Sauces/Gravy

  • Gravy – Make it from stock, use the leftovers from your meal or even from a jar or can if you choose.
  • Cheese Sauce – Ragu has a couple good options in both cheddar cheese and Alfredo varieties if you want to make it quick and easy, or make your own.  Especially good for vegetarian options!
  • Cream of “something” soup – Mushroom, celery, onion, asparagus, chicken… any of them will work great!

Veggies

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Turnips
  • Okra
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cranberries (not a veggie, I know, but still an option)
  • Whatever you can find or think up!

Then there’s the crust.

First, there’s the option for one crust or two (top & bottom).  Then there’s the option of what to make the crust out of.  A traditional pot pie uses pie crust.  Remember when I said you could make this as simple or complex as you want to?  I wasn’t kidding.

Here’s some of your options for pot pie crust…

  • Homemade pie crust
  • Pie crust from the refrigerator section.
    • Open the package
    • Lay it in the pan
    • Add the filling
    • Lay another crust on top
    • Crimp the edges & cut a slit for the steam to vent (That’s it, you’re done.)
  • Pie crust from the freezer section (but wait, that only has one crust…)
    • Get one regular frozen crust and one deep dish crust.
    • Fill the deep dish crust
    • Cover with the regular crust like a lid and take off the pan it’s in (save it for crafts or whatever)
    • Cut a slit in the top for the steam to vent and you guessed it… that’s it.
  • Canned biscuits – just take them one by one and cover the top (the giant flaky kind are best because you can actually separate them in half if you need more coverage.
  • Canned crescent roll dough (that’s what I used in the picture)
  • Frozen puff pastry
  • Mashed potatoes (actually this makes it a “shepherd’s pie” but I won’t tell if you don’t)
  • Corn Bread batter
  • Stuffing

I”m going to give you the easiest recipe first.  This is absolutely perfect for getting the kids started cooking!  Even the pickiest eaters will eat their own cooking!

Easy Peasy Pot Pie

Filling:

  • 1 – 10 oz can of chicken, drained
  • 1 large or 2 small – jar/cans of chicken gravy
  • 1 large can of VegAll, drained
  • 1 tube of crescent rolls

Directions

  • Mix first three ingredients together, season to taste (easy on the salt, remember that canned food already have a lot of salt in them)
  • Spoon them into a pie pan or cake pan
  • Unroll the crescent roll dough and place on top.
  • Bake according to package directions for crescent rolls, when they’re browned it’s done!

I wasn’t kidding when I said that it was easy!  A 3 or 4 year old can make this (with your assistance and supervision of course). Oh wait, I forgot the most important part…. Take a picture of your child with the dinner they made and post it on facebook for friends and grandparents to fawn over!

2014-02-16 16.21.34

Okay, so now on to the one I made in the picture.  I actually roasted the chicken a few days ago.  Bestie was working late and since it was just the two of us, Handy Husband decided to pick up a pizza so we didn’t have to cook.  I just put the chicken in the fridge for later.

I put a couple of potatoes in the microwave to bake and then stuck them in the fridge to chill them while I was doing other things.  I do this 1) to make sure that they are cooked all the way through and 2) to make sure they don’t turn to mush while I’m trying  to cook everything else.

2014-02-16 13.46.38

I separated the chicken.  One bowl for the meat, one big pot on the stove for the bones, skin and bits of “stuff”.  The meat I divided in half, put half in the fridge until I was ready for it and the other half went in the freezer for another day.

2014-02-16 13.45.34

I heated the bones and skin with a little olive oil and browned what was in there to develop the flavor.  To that I added the tops and bottoms of my celery along with the ends and peels from my carrots and onions and a couple of peppercorns and a few bay leaves.  I let it simmer on the stove for about an hour and a half (till the whole house smelled like chicken soup).

While that was on the stove, I diced up the rest of the celery.  I set some aside for my pot pie and put the rest in the freezer so that I can use it as needed.  I sliced up the carrots that I had peeled and trimmed and set them aside and diced the onion (put about 2/3rds of it in the fridge for salads, omelettes and such).

By the time that the stock was done cooking, it had reduced by about one-third.  I strained it and put the stock in a pitcher so I could refrigerate it.  I didn’t take a picture because frankly it looks like compost and is not that appetizing.  Be sure to add it to your compost pile for your garden!

Whatever I don’t use of the stock in the next few days will go into ice cube trays and into the freezer for later. (Check out my post on prepping and freezing foods for other ideas.)  I used about 3 cups for this dish and have about a quart left.

Just like cooked meats can be frozen for later use, and so can stock ingredients.  Keep a couple of big freezer bags going; one for chicken scraps, one for beef scraps and another with your veggie trimmings.  When the bag is full, make a couple of gallons of stock.  Why buy it for $1-$4 a quart when you can make it with stuff you were going to throw away!  It only takes a few minutes to brown the bones and fat and the stove does the rest!  Freeze or can the stock when you’re done.

2014-02-16 13.46.18

Using the same pot that I made the stock in, I added a little olive oil along with the carrots and celery. I sauteed them over medium heat until they started to soften (5 minutes?) before adding the onion.  As I was waiting for the onions I started seasoning… tarragon, thyme, marjoram, ground savory, garlic and a splash of soy sauce.  I also took the potatoes that were fully cooked out of the fridge, diced them up and had them sitting off to the side.

Once the onions were soft, I added a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease from my jar in the fridge (must have!)  Once the bacon grease melted I added a few heaping tablespoons of flour to make my roux. (Pronounced “roo”, it’s used to thicken the the stock to make gravy).   I let it cook for a few minutes until it started to brown.  This added color, flavor and kept it from having a “flour” taste to it.

I added my chicken and a few ladles of the stock.  Once it came back up to a simmer, the stock thickened into a gravy.  I shut it off, took it off the burner tossed in my diced potatoes and gave it a quick stir.  I gave a quick spray of oil to a 13″x9″ glass baking dish, poured in my mixture then topped it off with the crescent roll dough.  In my other baking dish I put a can of biscuits and put both in the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes till it was browned.  I gave them both a quick brush with some melted butter and dinner was done!

Instead of packaging the other chicken meat and veggies, I could have easily made enough for two and then froze the second one for later.  Which is what I did last time I made pot pie.

The fun of pot pie is that it’s all up to you and your imagination…

  • Chicken with gravy and veggies with pie crust…
  • Beef stew topped with biscuits…
  • Turkey with sweet potatoes and dried cranberries topped with stuffing!
  • Chili with cubes of cheddar cheese stuck in it then topped with cornbread!
  • Meatballs or sliced Italian Sausage with peppers, onions & mushrooms topped with canned pizza dough and brushed with garlic butter!
  • Corned beef and cabbage topped with mashed potatoes!

If you want to be really adventurous, any of these combinations can be put in between two pieces of crescent roll or pizza dough to make homemade hot pockets.  Just bake and freeze!

Be sure to tell me what combinations are your favorite!

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Zucchini – An Unpopular Vegetable

I was talking with a friend of mine about healthier eating today.  She has two small children and her youngest can be a little on the picky side when it comes to eating veggies.

I showed her my previous post called “Picky Eaters? Choosy Mom’s Choose Paleo“.  It’s all about making desserts healthier.  Face it, picky eaters are never picky when it comes to dessert!  In the meantime I was also mentioning things like zucchini bread and carrot cake (or as my daughter calls it “vegetables & frosting”).

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of zucchini growing up.  My mom only knew one way to cook it.  It was slimy and gross and I refused.  I blamed the vegetable and not the recipe.  I think a lot of folks do that.

Years later I was working in a restaurant when breaded, deep fried zucchini became popular, coincidentally so did ranch dressing.  I think the both helped each other in the popularity department.  I tried them and I loved them.  As they became on more and more menus though, I found that for my tastes they had to be smaller cuts in order for me to enjoy them.  One restaurant literally cut the zucchini into thick “planks”.  I personally didn’t care for the texture of the zucchini when it was cut this large.

So with this in mind, I wanted to give you a couple of different ways to enjoy zucchini and share it with your kids.  Try them out and let me know what you think.

zucchini bread

Maggie’s Favorite Zucchini Bread

Mix well:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 c Sugar
  • 1 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 heaping cups of grated zucchini

Add to it:

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Stir well and pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake at 325°F for 1 hour.  Cool on wire racks.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Maggie’s Favorite Paleo GF Zucchini Bread

Mix:

  • 2 c  Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1 c Shredded Zucchini
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2/3 c Walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Butter two mini loaf pans or one regular loaf pan
  2. Dust pan with almond flour – DO NOT omit this step or you’ll need a crowbar to get it out of the pan!
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Mix the almond flour, salt &  baking soda together, then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork.
  5. Mix the eggs, zucchini & walnuts in another bowl.  Once well mixed, add to dry ingredients and blend well.
  6. Spoon into loaf pans and smooth with the back of a spoon to make sure it’s level.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool on wire racks
Note:  Due to the moisture content of this bread it is quick to mold.  I would keep it refrigerated.  If cooking for 1, slice and freeze on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Once frozen solid, transfer to a ziploc bag.  Take out as eat as desired!

zucchini fritters

Maggie’s Favorite Zucchini Fritters

The original recipe I have for these called for serving them with tzatziki sauce.  I like them with just a touch of Ranch dressing.  These are so good I even like them with eggs instead of hashed browns!  They freeze well and reheat nicely in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c grated zucchini
  • 1/2 c grated potato
  • kosher salt
  • Pinch of flour (or coconut flour for GF)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp your favorite chopped herbs (try chives, mint, tarragon… my favorite is basil!)
  • zest of one lemon
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 c diced white or yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter & 1 tbsp of olive oil for frying or 2 tbsp of ghee

Directions

  1. Line a colander with cheesecloth and add the zucchini and potato.  Spread out over the surface of the colander.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for 30 minutes to drain.  Set the colander in the sink or in a pan to catch the draining liquid.
  2. After 30 minutes, pick up the corners of the cheesecloth and bring together and twist tightly to squeeze out excess moisture.  You want to do this over the sink, you’ll be amazed at how much liquid will come out when you squeeze it.
  3. Place zucchini/potatoes in a mixing bowl and add a pinch or two of flour (no more than one pinch of coconut flour) to soak up any leftover moisture.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, herbs and lemon zest.  Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Place a cookie sheet in a 200°F oven.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When pan is hot, add butter & oil or ghee.
  7. Place spoonfuls of fritter batter gently into the pan and use the back of the spoon to level.
  8. Cook three at a time until golden brown on each side.  Place on cookie sheet in oven until you’re done cooking the rest and are ready to serve.

Zucchini-crusty herb n parm

Dani’s Favorite Crusty Parmesan Herb Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • Fresh med sized zucchini, sliced in half longways
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (Asiago and Romano are awesome too!)
  • Freshly minced herbs…. rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, you choose!
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I add some freshly crushed, finely minced garlic to mine)
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly brush both sides of zucchini with olive oil and place on a foil lined baking sheet.
  3. Mix cheese and herbs together and sprinkle over the zucchini and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Top with salt & pepper to taste
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and place under the broiler for the last 3-5 minutes until cheese is crispy and browned.
Note:  For a great gluten free bruchetta, add some diced, vine ripened tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!

So there you have it.  Three really great new recipes to try out that will having you (and your kids) loving zucchini if you don’t already.  Enjoy!

{{hugs!}}

Maggie

Love Your Garden Veggie Casserole

A great summer dish that only takes minutes to assemble; then can be made the day before and refrigerated.  Perfect for a weeknight supper paired with something from the crock pot or the grill to make dinner a breeze!

Burpee Gardening

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced*
  • 1 or 2 yellow summer squash, sliced*
  • 1 large baking potato, sliced **
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • 1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh minced thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried or 1-1/2 tsp fresh minced rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried or 1-1/2 tsp fresh minced basil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese (amount varied by taste preference, omit for Paleo)
 
* When picking out your zucchini and squash, try to find “wide” ones.  Remember that you’re going to be slicing and stacking this with the other vegetables so you want to try to have them as evenly sized as possible.  If necessary, use the wider parts for this dish, and slice and freeze the narrower parts to have on hand for other dishes or your homemade marinara sauce.
** For Paleo, substitute sweet potato.  To prep, either slice thinner than other vegetables to accommodate different cooking temp, or microwave for 2 minutes to par cook before slicing.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

 
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STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

STEP 2: Thinly slice the rest of the vegetables. Slice them to the same thickness, for presentation and even cooking.  I prefer to use a mandolin for this, but you can use a food processor or simply slice by hand as well.

STEP 3: On a cutting board or clean counter space, layout the slices of potato, then top with onion, zucchini, squash and tomato.
STEP 4: Spray the inside of an 8″×8″ square baking dish, 9″ round baking dish or two loaf pans with olive oil. I prefer to use an oil sprayer rather than non-stick spray.  No hidden chemicals, or propellant and no cans to throw away.  You can also put some oil on a paper towel and wipe out the pan with it (save it start the grill or add to the compost pile).
STEP 5:  Place the thinly sliced vegetable “stacks” in the baking dish vertically. Crumble the minced garlic over the stacks and drizzle lightly (or spray) with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and basil.
VeggieCasserolePrep
STEP 6: Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, be very careful with the steam, top with cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
VeggieCasserole-serve
 
STEP 7: Serve to your very impressed family and friends, then sit and enjoy your restaurant quality meal with one dish clean up!  🙂


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