Casserole Chic

By Sidra Forman, Chef

You’ve probably never used the words “casserole” and “chic in the same sentence before. Instead, the dish that can often be made entirely of canned goods brings to mind words like “practical”, “old-fashioned” and “tasteless.” But today’s casseroles have come a long way. Now, fresh vegetables replace canned and fresh herbs and spices take the place of canned soup to help create a nutritious and mouthwatering dish.

The updated version of the ‘50s classic takes the flavor factor to a new level, but it’s as easy to make and as practical as ever—you can still whip them up in advance and heat them when you’re ready to eat. Both of these fresh and exciting casserole recipes can be made ahead of time, portioned and frozen. Don’t let the total time on the recipes scare you off—the prep time on each is only 20 minutes, and the remainder of the time is unsupervised in the oven.

Baked Eggplant and Ground Turkey

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

The spices included in this dish make the overall flavor rich and unique.

4 cups thinly sliced eggplant
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves roasted garlic, minced (see below for instructions)
Smart Balance® Omega Non-Stick Cooking Spray
12 ounces ground turkey
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup marinara or other tomato sauce with no more than 500 mg sodium per 1/2 cup

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat.
2. Coat eggplant, onion and garlic with Smart Balance® Omega Non-Stick Cooking Spray. Place on a sheet tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Cook turkey in skillet, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in oregano, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Coat a 9-inch square pan with Smart Balance® Omega Non-Stick Cooking Spray. Pour in ½ cup tomato sauce and top with ½ eggplant mixture, ½ turkey mixture, ½ eggplant mixture and ½ turkey mixture. Pour in remaining ½ cup tomato sauce. Pour ½ cup water around the edges.
5. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes.

To roast garlic: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Separate heads of garlic into individual cloves, leaving the papery skin intact. Place garlic on a sheet pan and lightly coat with Smart Balance® Omega Non-Stick Cooking Spray. Cook until cloves are soft, about 20 minutes. Once garlic has cooled, remove the skin from the garlic. Cut the cloves in half lengthwise and remove the small sprout near the top of the clove using a knife. (The sprout can be difficult to digest and is sometimes bitter.)

1 serving
Calories: 234
Protein: 18 g
Carbohydrate: 21 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Total Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
Cholesterol: 67 mg
Calcium: 81 mg
Sodium: 463 mg

Roasted Vegetable Parmesan

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This hearty dish makes good use of a variety of early spring vegetables.

1½ pounds sweet potato, sliced
1 large turnip, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large beet, sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Smart Balance® Omega Non-Stick Cooking Spray
2 cups spinach
9 multigran crunchy flatbreads, crushed
3/4 cup shredded low-sodium mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup low-sodium marinara sauce mixed with 3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place sweet potatoes, turnip, onion, garlic, beet and rosemary on two sheet pans and coat with Smart Balance® Omega Non-Stick Cooking Spray. Cook for 20 minutes. Take tray out of the oven and combine vegetables on one sheet tray. Add spinach and toss together.
3. Coat a 13-inch x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.
4. Place half of multigrain flatbread crumbs on the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the vegetable mixture, mozzarella cheese, remaining half of vegetable mixture and marinara sauce.
5. Mix remaining cracker crumbs and parmesan, and sprinkle on top of casserole.
6. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve.

1 serving
Calories: 436
Protein: 17 g
Carbohydrate: 81 g
Dietary Fiber: 12 g
Sugars: 9 g
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Calcium: 279 mg
Sodium: 303 mg


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