Today was probably one of the busiest days I’ve had in a while. Work was so crazy that I didn’t even get a chance to post lunch — so let me get you guys caught up.
Now, if you know me, then I bet you can figure out what my lunch was today…
Yup, you guessed it…
The Monday Usual
Carrot sticks + grape tomatoes & hommus
P.S. – Joseph’s is by far my favorite brand of hommus that I’ve tried thus far. It’s got a nice, creamy texture, and the flavors taste more natural than any others I’ve had.
Yogurt Mess in the making
A plain Chobani paired with fresh strawberries & blueberries, a drizzle of honey, & some cinnamon. I also added about 1/4 cup of Kashi Heart to Heart cereal to my “mess” but forgot to snap a photo – woops!
Around 3pm, I started getting antsy for another snack, so I dug into some Livin’ Spoonful crackers. I had 2 with some hommus, along with a super delicious nectarine. It was so ripe and juicy – sometimes I forget how much I love nectarines! Ahhhhh summer.
I’ve been eyeballing a scrumptious sounding, veggie-filled recipe in my Hungry Girl cookbook for a few weeks now, and tonight was finally the night to test it out. I was cooking for myself since the hubby has a softball game, so it worked perfect. I’m SO EXCITED to share these with you!!
Cheesy Marinara Veggie Stacks
(recipe to follow)
First, begin by sauteing your veggies on the stove.
Mix together some fat-free ricotta, spinach, fresh basil, minced onion & garlic powder.
Once your veggies are all cooked, start layering!
Add on those veggies…
Finish up with the rest of your veggers & top off with your remaining marinara
Throw ‘em in the oven to get toasty – then give ‘em a little more lovin’ with some mozzarella…and you’ve got yourself a fabulous dish!
“Real Deal” picture
These veggie stacks were absolutely fabulous! They totally reminded me of something you could order in a restaurant and end up spending a whole lot of money on. Not to mention, the portion size is absolutely HUGE and leaves you feeling completely satisfied, but not stuffed. The recipe makes two enormous servings, which is fantastic because now I have lunch all set for tomorrow. Love that! I would definitely recommend you give these babies a try!
Cheesy Marinara Veggie Stacks
(adapted from Hungry Girl’s Cheesy Saucy Veggie Stacks)
1 medium eggplant, ends removed
2 small zucchinis
1 small yellow squash
1 cup jarred marinara sauce
1/2 cup spinach (canned or frozen, drained and thoroughly patted dry)
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
3 tbsp fresh chopped basil (or substitute dried)
1 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into 3 slices. Cut off rounded sides of the 2 outer slices so they lay flat.
- Cut zucchini & squash into 1/2-inch wide slices.
- Set out a few layers of paper towels (to use to transfer cooked veggies to drain excess moisture)
- Spray a large pan with nonstick spray and bring to medium-high heat on stove.
- Lay zucchini & squash flat in pan and cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
- Re-spray pan & cook eggplant slices for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
- In a small dish, combine spinach, ricotta, basil, minced onion, salt, & garlic powder. Stir well, set aside.
- Spray a deep oven-safe pan with nonstick spray. Place half of the marinara in the center of the pan, and place 2 eggplant slices side by side over the sauce.
- Spread about 1/4 of the spinach mixture on top of each slice. Then layer about 1/4 of the zucchini and squash slices on top of each stack. Over the veggie layer, add another eggplant slice.
- Spread the rest of the spinach mixture on top of the stacks. Layer remaining zucchini and squash slices.
- Cover stacks with remaining eggplant slices. Finish it off with the rest of the marinara, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle mozzerella cheese on top of each stack, and return to oven for 5 more minutes, or until cheese melts.
The recipe looks lengthy, but the only part that really takes time is cooking all of the veggies on the stove. You could always speed up the process by having 2 pans going at one time (but that would mean more dishes for me to wash).
Either way, I’d say the time is definitely worth it with this recipe. It was fabulous!!
I’m off to chill out on the couch, try to cool down (SO HOT in here — probably not the best day to have the oven cranked way up!) and watch a little of The Bachelorette. I gotta see what all this hype is about!
What’s the maximum amount of time you like to spend cooking a meal? Does time matter to you?
I’m definitely a fan of quick and easy (30 minutes or less), BUT if it’s a new recipe, or an old favorite, I’ll take the extra time. Life’s too short to miss out on good food!