Friday, September 17, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan & Week's Menu Plan

This non-meat meal of the week was delicious. I had never made (or had!) eggplant parmesan before but it's a favorite meal of one of my uncles. I also know that eggplant is a very meaty type of vegetable so it can take the place of meat pretty well. I really enjoyed it, especially because it had tons of marinara sauce in it (which, in case you haven't figured that out, I would live off if I could). You could also reduce the marinara a bit if you aren't as crazy about it as me. Also, I think we'll play around with this recipe next time - my husband suggested adding ground turkey or beef (either in a meat sauce or as a layer in the dish) which would be excellent. I would probably try to hide in some sauteed zucchini, squash, red bell pepper or chopped spinach to add extra nutrients and vegetables (without altering the flavor too much). You could always up the amount of cheese to make this extra gooey, too.

The eggplant parmesan recipe would take a while to do start to finish so I cooked the eggplant in advance and refrigerated the slices. That way, when we got home in the evening, I just popped the eggplant back in the oven for about 5 minutes to crisp, made the dish and cook for 15 minutes - a lot easier on our evening!

This week's menu plan has a birthday celebration (chocolate Guinness cake with Bailey's Irish cream icing, combining my love of chocolate and my husband's love of Guinness), a last burst of summer with tomato gazpacho, leftover vegetables for stir fry and finally, a bit more Latin food in our life, thanks to my cousin Dan for sending some recipes! I'm really excited to try these recipes. Also, I really hope we get around to making the shrimp and grits finally because I've been wanting to try them for weeks!

Also, this is my last week before I start my new job! We are really excited about it and feel so blessed by the Lord's provision. I've loved being at home but really excited to start working again! This, of course, means that meals might have to be shorter and quicker during the week (more people can relate to that idea, anyway!) and save the more elaborate dishes for the weekend.

Eggplant Parmesan
Taken from: Martha Stewart
Serves 4 (I halved the recipe as it originally served 8. It would be really easy to make it for 8 and freeze for future meals!)
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan (additional 2 tablespoons for topping, optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large eggplant or 2 small (1 1/4 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 6 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade; you can use this recipe for Martha's Chunky Tomato Sauce if you'd like) 
  • 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil (to reduce cleanup) and spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
-Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. (At this point, you can refrigerate the eggplant until ready to use and then bake it at 400 for about 5 minutes to make the eggplant crispy)
-Increase oven heat to 400 degrees. Spread 1 cup sauce in a 8-inch square baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 1 cup sauce, then 1/4 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
-Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, if desired. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Week's Menu Plan

Friday: butter chickpea curry, beef samosas, coffee cake for dessert (and breakfast IF there's any leftover!)

Saturday: fish tacos with avocado relish, black bean and corn salad
chocolate stout cupcakes with irish cream frosting for dessert

Sunday: gazpacho with tomato chickpea crostini

Monday: chicken stir fry

Tuesday: shrimp and grits with homemade polenta

Wednesday: pasta with spicy sausage and spinach (Everyday Italian cookbook)

Thursday: Spanish Tortilla

Friday: Greek meal: chicken skewers, tzatiki, Greek salad

Saturday: rice and beans (thanks to my cousin Dan!)


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