Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tomato vegetable casserole

Matt is quite a catch, let me tell you.

He makes me laugh all the time, challenges me, and is the most caring and selfless person I know.  He's super handy around the apartment and will pretty much eat anything I put in front of him without any complaints.  It's a good thing because we're getting married in, whoh, 23 days!

As far as food goes, he has only two serious dislikes: cucumbers and black olives.  And he's not crazy about broccoli, but will gladly devour it with enough cheese and seasonings.  Matt's always willing to try anything and readily succumbs to the "close your eyes and open your mouth" new recipe test.  Let's add "way too trusting of Katy" to his list of wonderful qualities.

Regardless of whatever meals I impose on him, he is still a man.  And men love meat, choosing a steak over vegetables 100% of the time.  So I try to keep this in mind when I plan dinners.  While I may be okay with pasta and a salad for the night, he's gotta have protein.  Meal plans regularly have entries like this: "Monday - fall harvest salad with apples, walnuts, roasted butternut squash, goat cheese -- add chicken for Matt."

So, when I picked up the ingredients to make this super light but still a casserole, I made sure to swing by the poultry case for a pack of chicken breasts to keep the man happy.   Little did I know that I wouldn't have needed them for this meal because of the words Matt uttered as he was taking his second, third, and fourth bites.

You're going to want to sit down for this.

"I don't even need chicken this is so good," he said.


Apparently, it's just that easy to get a man to eat vegetables.  Toss a bunch of super fresh and colorful (not to mention, ahem, healthy) vegetables with a bit of olive oil and seasonings and a sprinkling of cheese, and your guy won't be able to keep himself from going back for seconds.  Maybe it works on children and vegetable-phobic women, too?

Of course, I thought this casserole was totally hearty and delicious, perfect for a warm dinner on a cool evening.  Tender vegetables with a crunchy topping and layers of flavor.  But I'm still in shock that Matt fell head over heels for this.  I'm actually speechless.  (This is your cue to start shopping, chopping, and cooking, friends.)

One Year Ago: Cranberry and white chocolate biscotti
Two Years Ago: Yellow butter cupcakes

A few notes: Chop the veggies ahead of time and store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days for a quick weeknight meal with minimal prep.

Tomato Vegetable Casserole
(adapted with a few changes to Giada DeLaurentiis's recipe)
-serves 6

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (omitted because the store was out of them!)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 small or 1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
Garlic salt
Ground black pepper
3 large ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons dried Italian-style bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss the potato, yam, bell pepper, carrots, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish to coat.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and toss until coated. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Arrange the onion slices evenly over the vegetable mixture. Arrange the zucchini over the onion. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices over the zucchini.  Sprinkle Parmesan and bread crumbs over the vegetables in the baking dish.

Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender, and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes.


  1. I may actually try this for Thanksgiving!

  2. It's a perfect side for Thanksgiving! A lighter dish to make room for pies :)