Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Veggie Gnocchi Casserole (Meatless Monday Menu)

     How many of you have experienced the budget savings of the Aldi food stores?  I was able to purchase a package of 4 zucchini for .99 cents, a bag of mixed sweet peppers for $1.79, an 8oz package of baby Bella mushrooms for .79 cents, and a 3lb bag of sweet onions for only $1.39.  I also picked up a jar of marinara sauce, a bunch of celery, and a package of whole wheat gnocchi.  These are just some of the massive savings that Aldi provides, but these items were important for my Meatless Monday Meal!

4 zucchini, 2 cut long ways into quarters then sliced and 2 cut long ways in half then sliced.
1 large sweet onion, chopped but chunky
3 stalks celery, sliced ¼ inch wide
8oz package of baby Bella mushrooms (sliced)
5 or so of the mini sweet peppers, seed them and cut them into rings
1 regular size jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 ½ Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup of 2% part skim mozzarella shredded cheese.
1 cup of chopped baby spinach
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil to taste
1 package of whole wheat gnocchi

 What to do with it-
Chop and prepare all veggies, spray a casserole dish with non-stick coating, and heat a pot of water to boiling as per package direction for the gnocchi all prior to heating the skillet.
In a large skillet add and heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium high heat.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add onions, celery, peppers, some salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for about five minutes.

Next, add zucchini, mushrooms, and the remaining oil to the skillet. Cook and stir for another five minutes.
Reduce heat to simmer; add sauce and chopped spinach  NOTE- A dash of water (or red wine) may be needed to thin a bit.  Stir frequently to keep from burning.

In the meantime, add about a tsp. of salt to the boiling water (not the sauce!).  Add the gnocchi to the boiling water.  When the water returns to a boil cook the gnocchi for two minutes.  Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and place the gnocchi into the skillet with the sauce.  Stir to mix all ingredients well.
Pour the mixture into your casserole dish.  Top with the mozzarella cheese and cover.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

This recipe makes 5 servings at approximately 350 calories or less.  I went a little higher on the number SparkPeople gave for the nutritional value to allow for a little wine in the mixture. Don't add more than a couple ounces though. 


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