Cheesy Eggplant Layered Casserole
* 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
* 6 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cans (28 oz each) diced tomatoes
* 2 Tbsp tomato paste
* 2 tsp oregano
* 1/8 tsp thyme
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp black pepper
* 3 eggplants, sliced into circles, and set on paper towels to absorb excess moisture
* 1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
* 1 pkg (12 oz)shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Heat 4 Tbsp of the oil in a saucepan over low heat; stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
2. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, oregano and thyme. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil; then remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper; set aside.
3. Dab excess moisture from eggplant slices, then brush the both sides of the slices with the remaining oil.
4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and place eggplant slices in skillet in batches for 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove to rack and continue until all eggplant is browned.
5. In a 9x13 cooking dish, put enough tomato sauce mixture to cover bottom, add a layer of the eggplant slices, add a layer of Parmesan cheese.
6. Repeat the layers until all the eggplant has been used ending with a layer of tomato sauce mixture.
7. Cover top with all the mozzarella cheese.
8. Cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly and top is lightly browned.
9. Remove from oven and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes, then cut and serve.
Makes 8 servings.
You can prepare this to store in freezer. After you prepare the layers, let the dish cool completely, then cover tightly with foil, slip dish into zip lock bag (or double seal with foil.) Then store in freezer for up to 3 months.
To cook after freezing, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the casserole is heated through.
Also, if your family really loves cheese, go ahead and add a layer of mozzarella in the middle of the layers as well as on top.