Preparation / Directions:
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic to the skillet and saute for 30 seconds. Add pepper, onion, and mushrooms with the butter and saute lightly. Remove to small bowl to sweat together, this will make them juicy.
Slice the eggplant lengthwise, then halve slices. Add the slices to the skillet and cook them in oil for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until just tender. (You will have to cook them in batches, adding more olive oil as necessary.)
Remove the eggplant slices with a slotted spoon or tongs, and drain thoroughly on absorbent paper towels. Place a layer of eggplant slices in a jelly roll pan sprayed with olive oil. Place eggplant in pan, season with salt, pepper, and basil to taste. Cover the eggplant with a layer of cheese mixture and then layer with sauteed veggies.
Mix tomatoes, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and oregano in small bowl. Ladle tomato mixture over eggplant, veggies, and cheese.
Generously sprinkle the rest of the cheese mixture over the top and then bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer the baked eggplant and tomatoes to serving plates and serve warm or chilled.