Summer Vegetable Casserole

photo of finished summer vegetable casseroleI recently bought a huge eggplant from my local farmer’s market with the full intention of doing an eggplant parmesan. However, I got a hair up my ass when I found a recipe on Pinterest (which has since been deleted from the webs) for an easy casserole w/eggplant. I had some other summer veggies going to waste on the counter, and I needed to use them or toss. So I decided to spice things up.

Honestly, you can use whatever vegetables and seasoning you want. The idea is you half cook the veggies before you “casserole” them. Some optional additions: tofu, chopped onions, salt & pepper, herbs! Feel free to make it your own. My fiancee was amazed by this dish, and said it needs to be in the regular rotation. Cheap and tasty!

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, cubed
1-2 tbsp olive oil (depending on how much squash)
1 large bell pepper (I used green), diced
2-3 medium-to-large summer squash (I used yellow & zucchini), cubed
6-8oz. of mushrooms, sliced thick (they cook down)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used italian style)

Boil the eggplant for 10 minutes. Make sure you turn it occasionally. After 10 minutes, cool the eggplant, and then cube it.

Meanwhile, cut up the rest of the veggies. Heat the olive oil in a pan (skillet, 4qt pot, saute pan), and add the diced bell pepper. Cook on medium-high for a minute or so. Add the squash, and toss to ensure squash is coated in olive oil. Immediately, add the minced garlic to the squash & peppers, and continue to mix. After 5 minutes, add the mushrooms. Cook until squash is mostly cooked (“meat” is somewhat translucent), & remove from heat.

In a casserole dish, add a layer of eggplant, then a layer of the sauted vegetables, and finally the last of the eggplant. Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Pour the can of tomato sauce evenly over the veggies. Sprinkle (heavily) the breadcrumb mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve over rice, polenta, pasta, or enjoy it on its own!

Valuable: day 6

My dog is awesome. When i was growing up, we had pets, but it was difficult to keep them indoors due to allergies throughout the family. Brain has taught me a lot about myself, something that i never expected from a dog. And having her with me anytime i am home feels amazing. Another living being so unlike a human yet completely able to communicate with me…even if it is primitive at times.

Valuable: day 4

Graduating from college was one of the proudest moments for me personally. Not because I think graduates are better than anyone else, but because it was a personal goal that was a real challenge for me to complete. Seeing something that long term through to the end was a huge accomplishment for me personally. Now my degree hangs beautifully framed on the wall, and anytime I feel crappy about things I’ve not accomplished yet, I can look up at it and remember I can do anything given enough time.

Valuable: day 3

I’m very proud that I have very little debt (only mortgages). It’s tough to stay disciplined and not go spending money I don’t have on things I think I want/need, but at times like these (when there are lots of bills to pay), it’s nice not to have that extra overhead at such high interest rates.

Valuable: day 2

I know, I know. I missed a few days.

I have to say, I highly value the down time I get, particularly after a busy weekend w/activities and company in town. I love vegging out on a Sunday afternoon, drinking a beer or two, and relaxing to some TV (just finished season 4 of Mad Men) or a movie. Being an introvert, I need time to recharge, and lazy Sunday afternoon is just the thing to regain my energy.

What’s valuable?

I have decided to do an exercise in perspective for myself. I often hold myself to a much higher standard than is possible, and think that despite my successes, i have done nothing and gained nothing for myself over the years. And to top it off, our society promotes the idea of what everyone else thinks you should be doing, eating, buying, etc. Over the next 30 days, I’m going to post something specific…detailed even…to describe something that is valuable to me with the idea that I will have something tangible to remind me everyday that I am valuable, and so are the things I choose to do. Duh!

Book Review – One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really surprised to be as engrossed in this book as I was. I am always a little skeptical when “everyone loves this book,” but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters are wild and crazy that I couldn’t look away. In most cases, the story is one giant train wreck of a family who’s generations repeat the same mistakes over and over. I was fascinated to see the variation in each generation, yet also saw how the family traits carried down the line. The writing was a fairly easy read, but the story was so engaging I couldn’t put it down at times. Definitely recommend.

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