Tag Archives: tomato

Healthy Eggplant and Tomato Casserole


This has become my new favorite vegetarian recipe!  If you close your eyes and take a bite from this dish, with it’s thickly sliced eggplant covered with the rich tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cheese, you can almost imagine you’re eating steak or a thick, toothy pasta.  OMG, this is that good!  

There are two different ways you can approach this recipe.  You can either choose to chop and seed the tomatoes yourself, or you can use diced tomatoes from a can.  The recipe calls for 3 pounds of chopped tomatoes, but since I like a lot of red sauce, I found that wasn’t nearly enough for me!  So I added an additional 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes.  If you don’t do this, I would recommend using at least a pound or two of additional chopped tomatoes.  Make this recipe your own and play with it!  That’s the fun of cooking! 

I have given this an intermediate rating due to the many ingredients and the additional step of broiling the eggplant.  So, without further ado, here’s the recipe! 

Diff:  Inter  Prep:  40 min     Cook:  1 hr. 13 min   Serves: 6



3-5# chopped and seeded tomatoes

1 t. extra virgin olive oil

¼ c. finely chopped celery

3 T. finely chopped carrot

3 T. finely chopped onion

¾ t. sea salt, divided

1 bay leaf

1T. thyme

½ c. chopped basil, divided

2 ½ pounds eggplant

½-¾  c. Parmesan and/or Asiago cheese

Cooking spray or olive oil

Black Pepper



  • Cook tomatoes in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. 


  • Place tomatoes in a food processor and pulse five times or puree in pot using an immersion blender, leaving a “chunky” puree.  Set aside.  

  • Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat.  Add celery, carrot and onions and sauté for 2 minutes.


  • Add pureed tomatoes, ½ t. salt, bay leaf, thyme and ¼ c. basil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thick.


  • Preheat broiler.

  • Wash eggplants, and remove tough ends.  Using a vegetable peeler, cut strips down eggplant, leaving narrow strips about 1 inch apart. 

  • Cut eggplant into ½ inch thick slices.  Place on a large baking pan coated with cooking spray or olive oil.


  • Coat slices with cooking spray or oil; sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. 

  • Broil slice for 5 minutes on each side.  Remove from oven.

  • Reduce heat to 375°.

  • Spread ¾-1 c. of sauce in bottom of 2-3 qt. casserole dish coated lightly with olive oil.  Arrange 1/3 of eggplant slices on top of sauce, overlapping slices if you choose.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of remaining herbs, and top with ¾-1 c. of sauce and ¼ c. of cheese*.  Repeat layers twice.  Sprinkle top with cheese.  (*If you want a lower fat dish, only put ¼ c. cheese on top.)


  • Cover and bake at 375° for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until eggplant is tender and cheese is lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.


Isn’t that just the yummiest dish you’ve ever seen?  Kind of reminds me of lasagna; and I just want to dig right into it as soon as it comes out of the oven! 


Hearty and healthy, I hope this will become one of your family favorites too!  Enjoy!


Until next week, wishing you all of God’s blessings, good health and happy eating!


Smiles, Maria


Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup


You can tell that we like chicken at my house, can’t you?  At this moment, we have not one, but two, rotesserie chickens in the refrigerator, because me and my husband both purchased chicken when we went, separately, to the grocery store.  I  just realized this is the second Chicken Tortilla type recipe I’ve posted, and for that, I apologize.  My husband likes chicken, and also tomato-based spicy food.  So much so, that I’m sure he would be happy eating salsa as soup!  Needless to say, salsa is a staple in my pantry.  In any case, on to the recipe.  I combined several Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes  to make this up; and  one of the recipes I used was from Ree Drummond’s PioneerWoman site.  There is some chopping involved, but once you get past that part, it’s just a matter of minutes to put the soup together.  As always, having all your ingredients at hand and prepped will speed things up in the kitchen.  And if you decide to make this, the soup freezes well, so why not make a double batch?   Warming and delicious, I hope this soup proves popular with your family!

Difficulty:  Easy    Time Prep:  45 min - 1 hr 

 Time Cook:  15 - 30 min    Serves:  8

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup 



1 11.5 corn tortillas,

cut into 1/2 in strips

1 1/2 t. salt

1 T. canola or light olive oil

1/2 t. chili powder

1 t. garlic powder

1 1/2 t. ground cumin

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 c. chicken broth

3 c. chopped cooked chicken

1 15 1/4 oz. canned corn*, drained

1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes*

1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles

1 15 oz. can black beans*, drained

1 onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper,chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper*, seeded and minced


*not pictured because hubby was at grocery store picking them up!



1.  Fry tortilla strips (if desired) in 1/2 inch oil in dutch oven, about 2 min.  Drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with 1 t. of salt.  Set aside.  (I didn’t do this step, so no pix!)

2.  In large pot, add 1 T. of oil, DSC02222

add onions & garlic. Stir

for one minute. 


DSC022233.  Add red, green and jalapeno peppers.  Stir for one minute.


4.  Mix in chicken and spices,  DSC02224

including 1/2 t. salt, stirring


DSC022255.  Add chicken broth and all canned ingredients.  

DSC022296.  Bring to a low boil,  simmer for five minutes

to blend flavors; the let sit for five more minutes

 before serving.

DSC02230 7.  Serve in bowls topped with fried (or baked) tortilla strips.  


Isn’t that one pretty bowl of soup? 

Embellish with your choice of sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, cilantro, chopped avocado, green parsley or green onions.  Serve with tortilla chips and an ice cold beer!




Maria, the Kitchen Guru