Bowling Ball Casserole

My almost-three-year-old son is capable of producing some pretty hysterical answers when you ask him what a certain thing is, when you know damn well he has no clue what it really is. He’s come up with some pretty off the wall responses before, which is always good for a laugh.

For example, the time I asked him what a bunch of cilantro was, and he said it was a “huge lizard with grass”. Or the time that he called a pineapple a pine cone (close!)

This afternoon, as I was gathering all of the ingredients for tonight’s dinner, I caught him sizing up the two eggplants I’d set on the counter. He can barely see above the countertop, but he was trying his very best to get a good look at the two purple strangers hanging out in the kitchen with mommy. Finally, the suspense was killing me- I had to know what he was thinking. I asked him, “Carl, what are those things?”

“Bowling balls.”

I laughed so hard I snorted, so I have hereby changed the name of this recipe to Bowling Ball Casserole, with the upside being that you don’t need to wear ugly shoes to enjoy it.

Bowling Ball Casserole

olive oil

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices

~1 pound of chicken breasts, deboned, deskinned and with any excess fat removed

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (doesn’t matter if it’s flat-leaf or curly)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Peel your bowling balls eggplants and slice them into 1/4-1/2 inch wheels. Sprinkle some salt on them and let them hang out on a paper towel for 20 minutes or so to draw out excess moisture. Grab a large pan and heat up some olive oil in it. Chop your chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes and brown them in your pan. Add the onion and garlic once the chicken is browned. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the parsley, the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste and all your spices. Stir it well then simmer it for about 10 minutes on low heat. Grab a 9×13 baking dish and spray it with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with eggplant wheels, pour some of the chicken mixture over the wheels, layer more eggplant wheels over the chicken mixture, and so forth, like a lasagna. Make sure your top layer is eggplant wheels. Pop it into your 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

You can serve this over pasta or rice, or eat it by itself. I devoured it all by its lonesome and it was really good. You can also opt to add mozzarella cheese to it to give it more of an eggplant Parmesan twist.

I offered my son some of the finished product, knowing full well he wouldn’t touch it simply because it wasn’t macaroni and cheese. I just wanted to hear what he was going to say. Never disappointing in the hilarious and unexpectedly inappropriate comments department, he proclaimed, “I can’t like a bowling ball! It’s too hard!”

Took every ounce of my strength to not respond with, “that’s what she said.”

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