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Cheesy Marinara Veggie Stacks

by Courtney on June 21, 2010

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.

Lunch

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. :)

Dinner

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!! :mrgreen:

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!

Keep goin…

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!

Pretty Pictures…

“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)

Ingredients:

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

dash salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. Cut zucchini & squash into 1/2-inch wide slices.
  4. Set out a few layers of paper towels (to use to transfer cooked veggies to drain excess moisture)
  5. Spray a large pan with nonstick spray and bring to medium-high heat on stove.
  6. Lay zucchini & squash flat in pan and cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
  7. Re-spray pan & cook eggplant slices for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
  8. In a small dish, combine spinach, ricotta, basil, minced onion, salt, & garlic powder. Stir well, set aside.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Spread the rest of the spinach mixture on top of the stacks. Layer remaining zucchini and squash slices.
  12. Cover stacks with remaining eggplant slices. Finish it off with the rest of the marinara, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  13. 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.
  14. ENJOY!!

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! :)

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cardiopizza June 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm

That dinner looks awesome and is something I would make..yum!

I don’t like meals that take a lot of time…I’m definitely a 30 minutes or less kinda gal! :)

Have a great night!

Reply

2 cardiopizza June 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm

That dinner looks awesome and is something I would make..yum!

I don’t like meals that take a lot of time…I’m definitely a 30 minutes or less kinda gal! :)

Have a great night!

Reply

3 Heather (Where's the Beach) June 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Dinner looks fantastic. What a great combo of veggies. It all depends on how my day has been, how late it’s gotten, etc as to how long I want to spend on dinner. Sometimes I want it ready in 20 mins, sometimes I don’t mind if it takes an hour.

Reply

4 Heather (Where's the Beach) June 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Dinner looks fantastic. What a great combo of veggies. It all depends on how my day has been, how late it’s gotten, etc as to how long I want to spend on dinner. Sometimes I want it ready in 20 mins, sometimes I don’t mind if it takes an hour.

Reply

5 cookinfanatic June 21, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I love these veggie stacks, and I bet I could even get my boyfriend to eat all his veggies this way too! I don’t mind if a meal takes longer to cook as long as I have the time, in fact on a lazy weekend there is nothing I like more than spending time in the kitchen putting together something a bit more involved :)

Reply

6 cookinfanatic June 21, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I love these veggie stacks, and I bet I could even get my boyfriend to eat all his veggies this way too! I don’t mind if a meal takes longer to cook as long as I have the time, in fact on a lazy weekend there is nothing I like more than spending time in the kitchen putting together something a bit more involved :)

Reply

7 Katie June 21, 2010 at 10:42 pm

those veggie stacks are on my *must make* list..amazing! :) thanks for sharing girl!

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8 Katie June 21, 2010 at 10:42 pm

those veggie stacks are on my *must make* list..amazing! :) thanks for sharing girl!

Reply

9 Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) June 21, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Those veggie stacks look divine! I’d have a nice piece of crusty bread with it. YUM :)

Jenn

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10 Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) June 21, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Those veggie stacks look divine! I’d have a nice piece of crusty bread with it. YUM :)

Jenn

Reply

11 Can You Stay for Dinner June 22, 2010 at 1:18 am

Super duper delicious!! Love the veggie stacks- what a creative and healthy dish!

Reply

12 Can You Stay for Dinner June 22, 2010 at 1:18 am

Super duper delicious!! Love the veggie stacks- what a creative and healthy dish!

Reply

13 Kerry June 22, 2010 at 3:04 am

oh wow that looks amazing! definitely only 30 minutes for recipes, i want time to do other things! lol! xx

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14 Kerry June 22, 2010 at 3:04 am

oh wow that looks amazing! definitely only 30 minutes for recipes, i want time to do other things! lol! xx

Reply

15 Holly at Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

My mouth is TOTALLY watering after looking @ this meal- YUM!!!!!! Trying this asap!

Reply

16 Holly at Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

My mouth is TOTALLY watering after looking @ this meal- YUM!!!!!! Trying this asap!

Reply

17 Sarah June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

WOW. this recipe looks awesome! I remember seeing the Hungry GIrl recipe and flagging it to make in the future. You have just FULLY convinced me :)

I like to spend as little time possible cooking, unless I am relaxed and have time. For instance, I love to prolong cooking when my boyfriend and I are making dinner and chatting. That’s the best!

Reply

18 Sarah June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

WOW. this recipe looks awesome! I remember seeing the Hungry GIrl recipe and flagging it to make in the future. You have just FULLY convinced me :)

I like to spend as little time possible cooking, unless I am relaxed and have time. For instance, I love to prolong cooking when my boyfriend and I are making dinner and chatting. That’s the best!

Reply

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