Sunday, September 27, 2009


After creating this conglomeration of noodle-less, vegetable lasagna with meat, my son-in-law Jeff, and I discussed at length ideas for a name, and never could figure one out. So for now, it's called "Whatzit." Because it is "light" (no pasta) you can eat more than you would regular lasagna and still not stuff yourself. This is what we did:This is a photo of the casserole before we put it in the oven.
First I poured a thin layer of bottled marinara sauce into the bottom of the dish. Then we layered
slices of eggplant (1 small)
2 each yellow and zucchini squash and 1 very small patty pan squash from the garden
1 small onion sliced
More marinara
a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
a small block of Argentinian Parmesan cheese (shredded)
a small container of cultured cottage cheese
mixed with two eggs
four chicken sausage links--mild Italian flavored--sliced lengthwise
three mushrooms (that is all I had on hand)
1/2 large tomato
about 12 sun-dried tomato stuffed green olives, sliced
a few drizzles of olive oil
salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning
swiss chard

I skinned the chicken sausages first. Just slice along one long side from end to end and peel it back. It comes off very easily, and you avoid that eternal chewing that never really does get rid of the skin.

We were cautious with the seasonings, and the assembly process was somewhat of an experiment, jointly discussed and crafted by consensus. I baked it covered with a dome on top, thinking to keep it moist, but there was really too much liquid in it, so when we took it out, it was more like a chunky vegetable soup. In the future, (and I do think I'll make something similar again, because it was very tasty and nutritious) I think I will either roast the veggies ahead, or partially cook them on the stove top. They weren't raw, but even after baking for an hour, they were still crisp tender, which was fine if you had an hour to wait on dinner... Also, I would substitute baby spinach for the chard, or else cut the chard in small pieces before adding it in as it was fairly tough. I think diagonal slices of the sausage might have been easier for serving, and baking it uncovered would have helped rid some of the excess moisture.

This was not an inexpensive meal to make--the cheese alone in it was over $10.00!-- but I think next summer when my garden is producing many of the ingredients, I will try it again. It was also time consuming, taking almost two hours for the two of us to put together and for it to bake. Jeff loves to be creative in the kitchen, and putting this together was fun for both of us. I think you always learn something when you cook with new people.

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