Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Tuscan Vegetable Bake for my Diet

This has been a rabbit food diet for me this week. Nothing but lettuce, vegetables and some protein. Weeks ago I vowed to loose at least 5 pounds before our trip to the Dominican Republic but then Local Restaurant had to happen right before our trip and threw things off for me. Thanks a lot Restaurant Week! I shouldn't complain because the week was nothing but indulging on fabulous foods from Buffalo's amazing restaurants. If you participated you know what I mean. Luckily the weather has been nice so I've been able to jog outside and offset a few extra a ton of extra calories that I consumed last week. I really don't mind going on the rabbit food diet, minus the hay, because I love eating vegetables and salads. I always say I could eat a giant plate of mixed vegetables for dinner every night and be very satisfied. Dave and the boys would never go for that so it doesn't happen too often. When I want to loose a few pounds my cooking changes in the house and Dave and the boys usually grump about it. So I had to buy a giant sized bag of frozen chicken strips from Wegmans to keep them happy. Tonight I made one of my favorites, a Tuscan Vegetable Bake. It's loaded with hearty vegetables so it's very satisfying all by itself. That's all I ate tonight and I was very full. It's also super healthy and low in calories. Other than the mozzarella and parmesan cheese, it simply just veggies and herbs. For those who want something more substantial it's delicious over pasta, sausage or chicken breasts. I made chicken sausage on the side for the boys (see pic below) which made them happy. The other thing about this dish is that you can alter the veggies to your liking. I typically add eggplant, mushrooms and onions but I didn't this time. The tuscan bake I made tonight consisted of yellow squash, broccoli, baby spinach, artichoke hearts, canned tomatoes, and lots of garlic and fresh basil, oh and mozzarella and parm cheese. I didn't add any olive oil because the juice from the canned tomatoes seasons and helps soften the vegetables while they cook. The artichokes give this dish a nice punch of flavor so I add two cans. While this dish wasn't and typically isn't a huge hit with the boys, it was for me and that's all that matters because I need to fit into my bathing suit! Salute to my lettuce and veggie rabbit diet, minus the hay!
All of the colorful and hearty vegetables mixed together
Now the mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and herbs are added just before baking.
Serve it over pasta, chicken or sausage
Healthy, low calorie and very satisfying
Tuscan Vegetable Bake (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 50 minutes

Serves 6-8


  • 3 cups steamed chopped broccoli, steam in microwave for 5 minutes
  • 3 medium sized yellow squash, thickly sliced and quartered
  • 2 cans 14 oz quartered artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 3 tb chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a roasting pan, add yellow squash and steamed broccoli and stir. Add spinach, artichokes and diced tomatoes. Add parm cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, garlic and basil and mix well. Cover roasting pan and bake in oven for 40 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add the last cup of mozzarella cheese over top and bake uncovered for 5 minutes until melted. Serve with parm cheese on top.

Food Impressions:

Nate: "Are there onions in this? You know I don't like artichokes. Can I have more of this sausage? Can I have bread with butter, 2 slices?" 

Tyler: "I'm still not feeling well from last night, do I have to eat the rest of this?"

Zachary: "This is super yummy mom." (He didn't finish)

Andrea: Okay, like I said, not a huge hit with the boys but it was for me and that's all that matters because I need to loose 5 pounds!!!!!
I've ben buying these lately and they are actually pretty good. They are all natural and fully cooked so if you want something quick they are a great alternative fresh sausage  They also have a variety of flavors like andouille sausage. 

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