Cooking · Food · Uncategorized

Three Cheese Eggplant Parmesan

As I child I hated, absolutely hated, eggplant. Eventually I could tolerate a bite or two of fried eggplant, but as soon as I had a say inThe result! the matter I stayed as far away as I could from anything eggplant!! Skip forward four decades when I decided to adopt a mostly clean eating and buy local lifestyle, eggplant is everywhere. They are such a beautiful vegetable. The first few times I decide to try eggplant, they rotted before I did anything with them. A month ago or so, I stumbled upon Tosca Reno’s Strike Sugar Challenge. One of her recipes that I adapted included eggplant.

My family enjoyed it and after some mental challenges related to childhood eggplant issues; I had to admit it was good. So the next recipe I wanted to try was eggplant parmesan. After asking my friends and researching on the internet, I found Simple Recipes’ version of eggplant parmesan. It sounded delicious and easy. Here is my adaptation. (Which 2 out of 3 of us think is delicious! My DD does not care for it. She thinks it’s weird! Go figure!)

4 medium size eggplants
8 cloves garlic (minced)
2 small white onions (chopped small)
1 15 oz can tomatoes (I only had diced on hand)
1 jar Prego sauce (I used mushroom)
16oz fresh mozzarella (sliced)
Small block Parmigiano Reggiano
Ricotta Cheese
~ ¼ – ½ t. Oregano, Thyme & Basil (I used dried because of a family member’s food allergy)
Salt/Pepper
Panko bread crumbs
Almond Flour
4 eggs

Cut eggplant into ¼” slices. I salted them and let them sit maybe 30 minutes (I really don’t like to wait 2 hours and probably wouldn’t have done it at all, but it was too early to start the dish!)

Saute onionsWhile waiting on the eggplant slices, sauté onions in olive oil. Season to taste w/ oregano, thyme, basil, salt and pepper. Once the onions are almost translucent, add the garlic. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off.

Preheat oven to 450°. When the eggplant is ready, wipe off with a paper towel. Spray a cookie tray w/ olive oil. Put the almond flour in a shallow bowl. Crack 4 eggs in another shallow bowl and whisk w/ a fork. In a third bowl, add panko and mix in freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. (I used ~1.5-2 cups panko and 1-2 T of grated Parmigiano.) Take one slice of eggplant at a time and dredge in the flour, dip in the egg and then toss in the panko mix. Lay on the cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes until brown.

Hot from the oven

When finished remove from oven. Turn oven down to 350°. Spray glass casserole with EVOO. Place a small amount of tomato mixture on bottom of casserole. Place one layer eggplant slices on top of tomato mix. Place slices of mozzarella on top of eggplant and spoon in ricotta. Dust with grated Parmigiano. Cover this layer with half of remaining tomato mixture. Then repeat. (I had 2 layers). Pour the Prego over the dish and top with remaining panko mixture from earlier step and grated Parmigiano.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly and nicely brown.Ready for the oven

Notes: I did not peel the eggplant. Next time I will peel it for ease of breading and cutting when eating.

Cooking · Food · Health and Nutrition · Uncategorized

Getting Back to the Basics

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In the last year or two I have tried to get into more of a clean eating habit.  While I got amazingly off track, I did stick with a habit or too.  I have all but eliminated high fructose corn syrup from our diet with a few exceptions.  Those exceptions are as treats though and not daily foods.  I have turned more to locally grown or produced food sources like the farmer’s market and my own backyard.  I have also taken to trying to eat seasonally – what would have been available at specific times of the year when I was child.

The eating seasonally is the hardest to do because I do not really remember what was naturally available at what time of the year anymore.  So I went off track – way, way, way off track.  Processed food is much easier to cook and serve after all.  Pop it in the microwave and *poof* you have supper!   But with warm weather hear again, I am starting to bring back the good-for-you, good tasting foods.

One thing that has helped is a free online course from Standford regarding children and nutrition that I am taking.  It has made me get back to the basics of eating.  This has benefited my family because it has gotten me into the kitchen again.  We now start the day with a healthy, home-made breakfast that is just as fast as stopping by the corner store to buy something processed with 26 ingredients!

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with our food choices and trying to figure out a menu and what to serve that we forget about the important part.  That part is the family togetherness.  Food used to be a social thing, now it has become a hit or miss thing for my family.  The course I am taking is helping me to bring it back to a family thing again.  Instead of concentrating on diverse menus and intricate planning, I am just picking up simple foods and cooking again.  Wholesome, nutritious and most of all, good tasting foods using simple ingredients.

What are you doing to stay on track – or get back on track if need be?  What are your tips for staying focused without getting overwhelmed?