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Friday, October 21, 2011

Layered Vegetable and Chicken Casserole

I'm pretty excited about this latest endeavor because it actually worked out. Have you noticed a slow down in food posts? Yeah, me too. Things have been a bust in the kitchen lately. My one exciting attempt turned out... Well, Todd ate it and said he liked it, but what else would you say to the person who makes your meals?

Anyways, aside from that one attempt, most of my meals have been pretty ho hum, or variations of stuff I've blogged about in the past. But I rediscovered my magic, thanks to some advice from the internet (I almost wrote almighty internet, to be funny, but it sent a chill down my spine). I got a few tips, changed a bit of it, and came up with this:

Layered Veggie and Chicken Casserole
Serves 2-4 (disturbing how we had none left)

-1 cup Trader Joe's butternut squash soup
-5 sprigs rosemary
3 quite small potatoes, thiiiinly sliced lengthwise
-1 yellow onion, thinly sliced.
-10oz chicken breast, cut into small strips
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar
- 5-10 cloves garlic, quartered ( depends on your garlic preference)
-1 small eggplant (our two garden eggplants were the sizes of oranges), sliced
-olive oil
-2 oz goat cheese crumbles
-10-15 mushrooms, sliced

Oh, by the way, I used a mandolin for my potatoes and onion, it made it much easier to control the thickness of each veggie.

Drizzle some soup on the bottom of the pyrex and use a basting brush to smooth out. I have these lovely plastic brushes, with soft, bendy bristles, and they are so much easier to clean.

Layer your potatoes like you would when making scalloped potatoes. Drizzle more soup, spread with brush, and sprinkle some rosemary and black pepper. Oh, and forget to take a photo of that step. Next, layer your onions, and repeat with the soup and rosemary/pepper step.

Arrange your chicken pieces so it's pretty evenly distributed. Do the soup and herb step, then add your garlic, again keeping equal distribution in mind. Equality for all! Favortism for none!

Now comes the fun part. Add cheese! I estimated 1/2 cup in the ingredient list above, but man that sure does look like a lot of cheddar. It could be closer to 2/3 cup.

Now, layer your eggplant, and instead of soup, use olive oil. Eggplant is very absorbant and I figured that we needed something a little more robust than soup. Plus olive oil and eggplant are basically BFFs and who wants to break them up? Add goat cheese crumbles. I mushed them further in my hand as I sprinkled them. Add your rosemary and pepper.

I didn't want my mushrooms to dry out but I really love the taste of oven roasted mushrooms, so I decided to keep them on the topmost layer. To give them some sunscreen, so to speak, I drizzled a bit of the soup into a bowl and tossed the mushrooms around to coat. Ooh, look, it's my basting brush I mentioned! And a forgotten potato peel.

Now, add your mushrooms, and admire your lovely creation. Oh, and um, add more rosemary and pepper. Did I ever tell you that we have an ancient rosemary bush in our yard? And that I really, really love rosemary?

Place into your preheated, 375 degree oven for at least 45 minutes.

I know, the eggplant looks a little abused, but believe me, even the mushrooms still had moisture and TONS of flavor. Now, because I'm a sadist (well, I ate it too so I must be a masochist), add MORE cheese:

By the time you plate this bad boy, that cheese will be so melty and divine. I used a knife to cut my portions, by the way, due to the nature of the eggplant and onions. I just knew a spatula wouldn't do the job, and I was right.

Enjoy! I know we did. I had two helpings and Todd polished off everything else, ha ha.

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