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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Almost Vegetarian Easy Summer Casserole..




I am preparing for the State of Michigan's largest KCBS sanctioned BB-Q cook-off. The night before the four main meat categories, there is a contest involving what they call the four side dishes- potato, veggie, baked beans, and dessert. Over the years, our team(The Buffalo Brothers!) has placed:
1. Potatoes- two first place, one second place, and in the top ten a lot!
2. Veggie- One first place, top ten a few times..
3. Beans- Fifth once!
4. Dessert- Third a couple of times, and a few top tens..
With that being said, we tend to play around with new recipes before the contest, to see what might work. I bought an eggplant, and a couple of zucchinis, to see what they could do for us... We decided to go with our "zucchini boat", which took 1st once, so what I had bought sat for a few days in the fridge going nowhere! I checked the Internet for recipes that used both these veggies, but found nothing I liked. Both zucchini and eggplant work well in Italian dishes, so I came up with this...
1. One medium sized eggplant, skinned and diced into 1/2" cubes.
2. Two zucchinis, cut length-wise, then sliced into 1/4" thick pieces.
3. One can(12oz) of diced tomatoes, undrained.
4. One lb. of seasoned loose ground beef, browned with one cup of diced onions. Seasonings used: salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, marjoram. Drain before adding to casserole.
5. 8oz. of dried rigatoni, uncooked (This was my leap of faith!)
6. 2oz. of grated Parmesan cheese
7. 4oz of shredded Mozzarella cheese
Combine all above ingredients, except the Mozzarella cheese, in large casserole dish, cover and bake for one hour at 350F. Uncover and bake for another 15min or so, to make sure all liquid has been absorbed by the pasta, but still moist.
Sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese over casserole, bake until melted(approx 10 min.)

This is really easy, and comes out tasty! By omitting the ground beef and substituting the cheeses, vegetarians might enjoy this too!
The picture isn't the best, but we were hungry!
The two other photos- we went up North for the week-end, and while driving the back road my wife pointed to a just harvested field and said; "We should take a picture of that", so I pulled off and did! The last photo is just a bowl of fresh steamed green beans, with bacon added.. The produce we see in Michigan this time of year is great!

36 comments:

G-Man said...

1. Can a 'side-dish' have meat?
2. Green beans and bacon was the only way it was served in our house growing up..
3. When and where is this cook-off?

Akelamalu said...

You come up with some great recipes Buff. We like vegetarian meals sometimes and our favourite is Cauliflower and Lentil curry - it's deeelish!

buffalodick said...

G-man-
1. I think so, but this was a one-dish main meal!
2. I never liked green beans much, until I added bacon, and a little renderings....
3. This week-end- 24th and 25th.

Hit 40 said...

First out of one? Third out of three? LOL

... well at least I laughed.

Didn't have time to bake the cookies yesterday :-( I am definitely baking up some yummy treats today for us.

Good luck! May the smoke blow down wind onto your competitors.

buffalodick said...

Ake- I would never have thought of that one! Write a recipe or two on your blog once in a while!

buffalodick said...

Hit40- This State has 9+ million people! Teams from all over the U.S. and Canada participate! Teams with corporate sponsors are in this! I'm only one man, my kid, and a buddy with a couple of small smoker grills.. Jeez.. you want Superman, buy me the Underoos...

TavoLini said...

Wow, congrats on all those awards :)

That casserole sounds pretty darn perfect!

Marjie said...

So you don't just compete in the chili section. Interesting. I made green beans almondine last night, some of my kids complained, and I told them they were welcome to cook dinner for all of us to my specifications any time. The gist of their answers was to the effect of "not in your lifetime, lady."

doggybloggy said...

let me get a little bacon with those green beans.....

well the fantasy of us being out there this weekend will have to remain a fantasy - good luck!

Donna-FFW said...

I am wishing, sending you bunches of my most sincere thoughts for good luck!! So impressed with all of those accomplishments. That is amazing! When are u coming to cook for me!!!!

Bina said...

That eggplant rigatoni dish sounds wonderful and it looks even better! I may just try that some time. I bet my kids would love it, as long as I didn't tell them EXACTLY what was in it.

And you know, hay fields are just so pretty, no matter how many times you see them. That is a great picture.

Heff said...

Why does the word "casserole" sound so much more gross than it is ?

snowelf said...

Hi UncleBuf! It's your long lost Snowneice. :)

I am a huge, huge fan of eggplant in italian dishes...yum! This sounds absolutely devine. My grandparents always bring me fresh eggplant from their garden and it's one of my favorites. I would have loved to have a taste of this.

--snow

Mona said...

Wow! Those pictures look mouthwatering ( Slurp!)

http://www.youtube.com/results?feature=moby&search_query=vahchef&search_type=&aq=1&oq=vah

this is one place where you would find some best Indian food being cooked! You must try some of them sometime. Vahchef does some continental dishes too which are out of this world!

buffalodick said...

Tavolini- I tell people (like you!) to compete! I have seen and read what you can do in a kitchen- go kick butt! The only losers in this world are the folks who don't try... Vegetarians are not usually competitive, but the ones that are, turn me on!
Margie- My definition of children- Sex gone horribly wrong.. Wait.. they will appreciate a great cook someday, and that will be you!

buffalodick said...

DogB- Goodanger, Roy, I need you to help! My kid and my friend are great, but another expert would have really helped! Well, if we don't do well, I can blame you! Some day, somewhere... we will cook together, and show them all what we can do!

Chris said...

Love the hay bales picture. Those always reminded me of elephants sleeping on the rolling hills of farmland as a kid.

buffalodick said...

Donna- Thanks! We would take turns cooking for each other!
Bina- So glad to have met you! You are good people, and no one will ever debate that with me and live!
Heff- I like food, and I like the people who like food.. casserole is just a name for food with stuff we like, combined!

buffalodick said...

Snowniece- Hearing from you is a Cyberhug! Hope all is well with you...
Mona- You cook it, and I will eat it! I just know you are good at everything you do...
Chris- Wife is a country gal.. shows up once in a while, even after all these years!

Kate said...

What's with the fifth in beans? What do they do with beans that is so special? I was looking up pineapple baked beans the other day and it looked scrumptious, but I guess I've never been that adventuresome with them.

buffalodick said...

Kate- The beans we placed with were hilarious! It rained cats and dogs, rain water got into the beans, we added spaghetti sauce with meat to thicken them- and got 5th! The best laid plans of mice and men...!

Dana said...

Almost Vegetarian? Is that like a little bit pregnant?

I might try the vegetarian version as I am swaying my family to at least one meatless dinner a week!

KB said...

Woohoo. Go the Buffalo Brothers. Wish I could be there to cheer you on and taste the food of course.

buffalodick said...

Dana- We are trying to eat a bit healthier too!
KB- Outdoors for about 30hrs. and thunderstorms are predicted!

KB said...

I'll be right there...I love thunderstorms!

Chef E said...

I predict you will come out on top no matter what cause you have the passion! ...and that dish sounds good; those pics are beautiful...wish I was sitting in a chair under that tree and eating some of your food...

buffalodick said...

KB- Cooking in the rain isn't fun! I like T-srorms too, but not when I'm out in them!
ChefE- I always get a little nervous just before the contest! Hope you're right!

Casdok said...

Sounds really good - hope you do well :)

Hit 40 said...

What size underoos does a buffalodick wear? Would you like matching undies for the whole buffalo team? I think spiderman undies could help you win.

I hope I make you crack up as much as I do at your comments. LMAO!!!

JihadGene said...

The green bean dish is gorgeous and the eggplant sounds great. I would suggest cooking under a cover during the monsoon season. You could'a been a contender!

buffalodick said...

Hit40- The sight of me, my son, and my buddy (Missing Mike) in Spiderman Underoos would cause innocent people to go blind...
P.S.- Yes, you do make me laugh and smile!

buffalodick said...

Casdok- Snuck in on me! I hope you and your son are well...Stopped in and left my thoughts and hopes for you..
Gene- I'd cook Korean BB-Q if I thought it would work in the Midwest! Buying an awning today for protecting the cook site!

pinknest said...

I see two kinds of cheese here, so I'm all set, thank you.

snowelf said...

I heard a rumor that you were making some cheesecake... ;)

--snow

buffalodick said...

Pnk and Snow.. the most attractive girls that visit! Love you both... you are great!

Akelamalu said...

I wouldn't have thought of it either Buff. I came across it when we had friends coming to stay who are vegetarians and it's now a firm favourite.
It uses Indian Oxo cubes - not sure if you can get them over there.