On the menu tonight is macaroni & cheese and our vegetable casserole. The macaroni & cheese we are making tonight is my Mother-In-Law’s recipe and it is a closely-guarded secret. Unfortunately, for you, that means I won’t be sharing that delectable recipe here! What I can tell you about the recipe, though, is to use large elbow macaroni. I’m telling you – it’s genius! It means all the yummy, cheesy goodness is guaranteed to get into all those large nooks & crannies. So good.
Because we didn’t want to bring over just macaroni & cheese (because, after all, a new mama needs some veggies to help her stay nourished and strong), we decided to make our vegetable casserole. This casserole dish is a great way to get a ton of veggies in one bite. I got this recipe from a friend, originally, and she put in bell peppers. I’ve got to admit. I’m not a bell pepper fan. Never have been. Interestingly enough, I asked my mom and she doesn’t like them either. Perhaps I don’t like them because they were rarely cooked in our household (although we rarely ate artichokes and I could bathe in artichokes I love them so much). Because I don’t like bell peppers, I omit them from my own recipe and tweaked a few more things about it to suit our tastes. This casserole dish is incredibly easy to throw together and from start to finish takes only about an hour. It is a great dish for dinner parties and is a welcome side addition to many of the heavy, creamier casserole dishes typically found at parties. Ready? Let’s get started.
What You’ll Need:
1 medium potato, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium yam, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 red onion, sliced thinly into rings
2 small zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick pieces
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper
2 large red tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 cup (or more) of freshly grated Parmesan
2-3 Tablespoons of Italian Bread Crumbs
A few fresh springs of basil, for garnish
What You’ll Do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the potato, yam, and carrots and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with the pepper, salt, garlic powder, cayenne (really, any seasonings you’re prone to!) and toss to coat the vegetables evenly.
Make sure the vegetables are spread evenly at the bottom of your baking dish. Now, arrange your onion slices evenly over the vegetable mixture. Think of it as your ‘lasagna’ noodles, if you will.
Next, arrange the zucchini slices on top of the onions evenly. Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the zucchini and sprinkle a bit more salt/pepper/seasonings.
Top it off with your slices of tomatoes.
In a separate bowl, combine the grated Parmesan and bread crumbs. Once it is mixed, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tomatoes. Drizzle your last remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top.
Bake uncovered until the veggies are tender and the Parmesan bread crumbs are toasty brown. This will take you about 40 minutes (it could be longer depending on your oven, etc.).
Garnish with your fresh sprigs of basil to finish. And there you have it!
Our macaroni & cheese with our side of vegetable casserole was delicious and hit the spot! Though I can’t give you the recipe to my Mother -In-Law’s mac & cheese, here is the final product, fresh out of the oven!
Our dinner was comfort food at its finest! Easy, Simple, and Tastes Oh-So-Good!
~ M ~