Vegsagna and The Diet Blues

RECIPE: Vegsagna

You know that point in a diet where you get so broken down and depressed by the amount of energy and effort it takes to not eat delicious and happiness inducing foods you start to really seriously wonder if it’s not just worth it to be overweight? It’s when you really start to question if you actually need to lose weight for any valid health-related reason, or if you’re just being vain and should buy bigger clothes and learn to love yourself the way you are. You begin to brainstorm celebrities and great people who were slightly chubbier and yet you love them despite, and in some cases maybe even because, of their extra pounds. Melissa McCarthy is possibly the raddest ever. Scar Jo isn’t stick thin. Even the girl who is the host of the biggest loser and used to be on Y&R isn’t super skinny and she hosts a weight-loss show.

You know that point? I’ve sort of gotten to that point with Jason’s diet. He’s the one completely deprived of dairy, carbs and sugar and I’m the one in a detox funk over-thinking my place in the universe. He’s not really the over-thinking type, so I do plenty of it for both of us.

It’s not that I think it’s not healthy for him to make a diet change and try to trim down a bit. I sorta like the guy sometimes, so it would be good if he stuck around on this planet as long as possible. Plus, if he was gone, who would take out the trash and change the cat litter?

No, it’s just that he seems so sad. He just loves food so much. He watches cooking channels like they’re porn. He gets high off a large, beautiful meal like I do off three top shelf margaritas. Lately he comes home from work and seems unhappy and withdrawn. It’s like his best friend (cheeseburgers and fries) dumped him. He eats his boring meals and takes his cold showers and plods through.

Of course I’m super proud of him for attempting this and already having so much success, but I miss my cheerful, food-loving husband. I bet this is how he feels when I try to give up wine.

It’s just a phase, right? He’ll get through his first 20 pounds and then adjust to a slightly less restrictive phase and start to feel better. I know this is true. I just have to talk myself around it.

(Yes, I realize it’s much harder for him. Unfortunately, he detests acknowledging he even has feelings, much less sharing and dissecting them with me, so I have to do it for him. It’s how we work.)

Anyway, I’m still trying to throw together meals with lots of veggies and few-to-no carbs and dairy so last night I attempted an all veggie lasagna. I sliced veggies thin and layered them with an easy homemade sauce, Italian sausage and mozzarella (not on the last third so Jason could be cheese-free).  I also included a layer of eggplant slices really lightly breaded with breadcrumbs, parm and egg whites and then broiled to crispy.

I loved the result. The veggies were flavorful but not over-cooked. It was hearty, but healthy. Of course the children acted like I served them vomit on a plate. They liked watching me assemble it, but weren’t thrilled with the actual eating of it. Can’t win em all.

Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Elizabeth
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 6
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 large carrots, sliced thin with a peeler
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 10 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of parm
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes
  1. Peel and slice the eggplant 1/4 inch thick. Soak in water for 10 minutes to remove the bitterness of the seeds. Dry in layers on paper towels.
  2. Mix bread crumbs and parm in one bowl. Whisk egg whites with 1/4 cup of water in another bowl. Dip eggplant slices in first the egg whites and then the bread crumbs. Arrange in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet.
  3. Broil eggplant on high until they begin to brown. Flip and brown the other side. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In a pot on medium low, saute garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. After a minute or so, add onion and let them sweat for a few minutes. Then add can of tomatoes and basil. Cover and simmer for half an hour. Stir to break up large tomatoes.
  6. Brown Italian sausage.
  7. In a large casserole dish, layer: carrot slices, zucchini, bell peppers, 1/2 of sauce, 1/2 of cheese, Italian sausage, eggplant, yellow squash, remaining carrots, zucchini and bell peppers, remaining Italian sausage and other half of sauce.
  8. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes. Take tinfoil off for last five.


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