Sunday, August 26, 2012

Easy Meals - Vegetarian 'What's In The Fridge' Casserole

I love vegetables of all kinds and prefer vegetarian meals.

We were accustomed to making meals based on what we had on hand.  There was no meal planning!  If it was during the growing season, we had fresh vegetables, if the Winter months, it was dried beans and peas.  My mom canned lots of vegetables and fruits, so we had those thru a portion of the Winter months.  When you were from a large family, most home canned goods ran out before the next growing season.

We never had food to throw out as there were never left-overs.  It was basically everyone ate until the food prepared was gone.  Everyone was served and any additional was eaten basically by who wanted it.

The past week, I have been creating recipes or more like ideas of making meals with what is on hand rather than going grocery shopping.

I first made a  vegetarian (vegan) stir-fry dish that included peppers and corn.  I ate two meals with about two left.  I threw the left-overs into the food processor, along with some spicy seasoning and a can of diced tomatoes.  This was placed in a slow cooker with a 16 ounce can of lite coconut milk to make a spicy corn-tomato-sweet pepper based soup. 

The stir-fry dish was good, the soup was good.  I had about 3 cups of soup left.   I used a cup of the soup in this dish and threw the remainder out.

So now you can see, there are ways of using left-overs.

Vegetarian 'What's In The Fridge’ Casserole
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - served
2 small green zucchini, julienne cut, inch in length
2 small yellow zucchini, julienne cut
1 large bell pepper cut into cubes
1 large red pepper cut into cubes
1 large egg plant cut into thin slices and halved
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 tsp sodium free savory seasoning
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil, to cover dish, spray dish
1 tsp Bragg's Organic Sprinkle (or other dried herb seasoning or Herbes de Provence)
additional Italian type spices to season
Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup creamy vegetarian or creamy tomato soup
1/2 jar Alfredo Sauce (used Bertolli) - plus enough water to rinse jar
1 tbsp roasted garlic cloves (or 3 fresh finely diced)
1/2 cup cooked portabella mushrooms
1 tbsp dehydrated onion
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (squeeze tube)
1 tsp basil (squeeze tube)
1 tbsp fresh diced lemon grass (squeeze tube)

Prepare all of the vegetables.
Prepare the sauce.
Heat and whisk the sauce ingredients to mix.
For the creamy soup, if you have vegetable vegetarian soup, puree  a cup in a food Processor with a 15-oz can of diced tomatoes along with a spoon of Italian type or Herbes de Provence spice.  The type of soup to use is anything that will complement a vegetarian dish containing zucchini.  Taste the soup for seasoning.
Prepare the Baking Dish
Spray or coat the baking dish with olive oil sufficient to coat the bottom.  The olive oil is also used to flavor the dish.
Assemble the Dish
Place half of the eggplant over the bottom of the dish.  Lightly spray with olive oil.  If you do not have a sprayer, lightly drizzle oil over the dish.  The eggplant does not have to be completely covered with oil.  This is just to disperse the oil over the dish.
Next, place about half the yellow and green zucchini over the eggplant. 
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - continuuing to layer
Continue with the green pepper, then the red pepper.
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - added peppers
Next spread the cottage cheese over the dish.
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - added cottage cheese
Place the remainder of the eggplant and again lightly spray or drizzle with oil.
Sprinkle spices over the eggplant
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - added last layer of eggplant
Place the remainder of the zucchini over the dish.
Sprinkle the basil over the dish
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - added final layer of zucchini
Spread the sauce over the dish
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - added sauce
Bake and Serve
Cover with aluminum foil.  Place one small slit in the top of the foil.
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - covered and ready for oven
Bake in pre-heated oven at 350F for about an hour.  Remove foil, press down top of dish.  Sprinkle with topping.  Return to oven for about 10 minutes.
Remove and allow to rest about 10 minutes.
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - out of the oven and ready to serve
Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - serving
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - enjoying it
Seasonings used includes Braggs Organic Herb Mix
Vegetarian What's In The Fridge Casserole - additionals
Servings: 6
Yield: 6 - 8
Nutrition (per serving): 277 calories, 16.8g total fat, 5.9g monounsaturated fat, 1.1g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, <1g trans-monoenoic fatty acids, <1g trans-polyenoic fatty acids, <1g linoleic acid, 6.6g saturated fat, 28mg cholesterol, 500.8mg sodium, 75.8mg calcium, 827.3mg potassium, 73.5mcg folate, 243.6mg phosphorus, 22.4mg phytosterols, 0mcg lycopene, 14.8mcg selenium, <1mg thiamin, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg vitamin b6, 73.9mg vitamin c, <1IU vitamin d, 1.2mg zinc, 20.4g carbohydrates, 4.8g fiber, 15.6g net carbohydrates, 6.1g sugar, 1.4g fructose, <1g galactose, 1.3g glucose, <1g lactose, <1g maltose, <1g sucrose, <1mg stigmasterol, 14.1g protein.
This is a nutritional approximation of this dish as the nutrition can change depending on ingredients.
This was very filling, yet did not make me filled ‘stuffed’ like meat does.

Instead of bread crumbs, sprinkle a small amount of shredded cheese over the top after cooking the dish.
Instead of cottage cheese or in additional to cottage cheese, sprinkle 2 ounces of pasta shells or penne over the first layer of eggplant.
© 2012

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