For the Love of Layers: Tasty Stacked Snacks
Who doesn’t love to dig into a layered dip, entrée or sweet treat? Discovering the taste sensations of each layer as you dig down is part of what makes these dishes some of our favorites. Layered dishes have great visual appeal too—usually without taking a lot of time and effort.
Breakfast parfaits are a great example. In not much more time than it takes to pour a bowl of cereal (sprinkling wheat germ on top, of course), you can break up your weekly routine by quickly layering Greek yogurt, your favorite granola, some cut up fruit and wheat germ into a bowl or glass for a delicious morning treat.
Layered dishes turn up the fun at parties. Spooning a tablespoon of wheat germ into your sour cream and taco seasoning mix as you build your seven-layer Mexican dip is a great way to increase this tasty dip’s nutritional value. The same goes for a provolone cheese, basil pesto, cream cheese and sun-dried tomato layered spread or, even healthier, a hummus dip layered with diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, chopped kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese.
The mother of all layered entrées is, of course, the lasagna. Few can resist the incredible stacked combination of pasta sauce, noodles and cheese. We all have our favorites—from no-boil noodles, jarred sauce and pre-shredded cheese for a quick Tuesday night meal to the more extravagant dinner party showstopper, with a creamy mornay sauce layered between your grandmother’s homemade “Sunday dinner” sauce and freshly made noodles from the Italian deli (or your own pasta maker!).
One thing’s for sure: With a little creativity, this dreamy dinner can morph into many delicious concoctions. Forgo the Italian sausage and try a chicken and pesto lasagna with white sauce. Want a veggie version? Use a meatless tomato sauce and include some thawed frozen chopped spinach in your ricotta cheese mixture. A breadcrumb and cheese topping completes the top layer—try substituting some of the bread crumbs with wheat germ and you’ll even get a nutritional boost.
Dessert is the perfect course for a layered dish, and the regal trifle—sure to garner oohs and aahs from guests—is probably the most beautiful layered dessert of all. It’s also surprisingly easy to make. The Cranberry-Orange Trifle from Cooking Light magazine offers a healthier version of this decadent treat. Sprinkle some wheat germ between layers for added health benefits.