Time management has become more difficult since my “part time job” has been scheduling me for full time hours (without the full time benefits, of course). And so my ability to cook decent meals for my family, and subsequently blog about them, has become extremely limited when it comes to managing my time.
It’s amazing to me how much I yearn to cook especially now that I’m limited to doing it maybe once a week and only if I set my mind to doing it. That’s where good meals like this come into play, and over the past couple of years I’ve noticed that Weight Watchers publishes some fantastic cookbooks for just such occasions. One thing I like is that most of their recipes don’t have me driving all over town looking for one special ingredient, and even though that can be fun, I just didn’t have time for that today. Yet, I still was able to make an elegant supper.
Start with an eggplant sliced up. No weird prep – salting and squeezing, peeling, etc. Just wash it real good; there’s flu and crap going around.
Dip the slices into egg and milk mixture. The recipe calls for fat-free milk, perfect, after some discovery of food intolerance I now only keep skim on-hand.
Dip into bread crumbs. I bought the generic Wal-Mart brand of bread crumbs thinking I was going to have to add some basil and oregano of my own to season it up. It turns out these were excellent bread crumbs and the Progresso brand is bland in comparison. $.60 difference, what a savings!
Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer across 2 baking sheets. I use foil on my sheets because scrubbing them is starting to ruin them over time. Spray the tops of the eggplant with a little Pam and pop these in a 375 oven for about 25 minutes.
Since my sheets are huge I swapped the top and bottom sheets at the 12 minute mark for even baking.
Now to start the sauce – a little diced onion and garlic in hot oil. I recently discovered onions are the source of my chronic heartburn, so I haven’t really eaten them in the past 6 months (and no heartburn!). Tonight I used them, but decided I was going to make sure to cook them down really well. My plans has worked so far, no popping Tums yet.
Nothing fancy about this sauce. As soon as your onions are ready dump all the rest of your ingredients in. This is a can of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Let it boil and then simmer.
Yummy eggplant emerges from the oven.
Layer your 9×13 baking dish. Sauce, eggplant, sauce, eggplant, sauce, cheese (Mozz), cheese (Parm). I sprinkled a little oregano over the top for good measure.
20 minutes later….
Easy cooking and satisfying dinner. The only thing strange about this is that the eggplant skin was left on and I’m not used to that. I ended up cutting it off, which was no big deal, because my IBS and peels tend not to get along.
I thought this turned out really good even though Jen said the eggplant didn’t have much flavor. Perhaps that’s the season or because Wal-Mart isn’t renowned for its produce. To me, eggplant is always kind of a texture anyway and so for that it turned out great. I even made my slices thicker than the recipe’s 1/4″ so we’d have something to bite on.
I really enjoyed making this tonight. I took my time and focused rather than rushing to get dinner on the table. I noticed my pics turned out pretty good too. It feels good to get a blog post out too. I needed this, and I hope you all enjoy. 🙂
This recipe is adapted from Weight Watchers Simply Delicious Winning Points Cookbook: 245 No-Fuss Recipes- All 8 Points or Less.
For the eggplant:
2 large eggs
2 T fat free milk
1 C Italian bread crumbs (I needed more than 1 C)
1 eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices
For the sauce:
2 tsp olive oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 large onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 C dry red wine (juice works fine)
2 T fresh basil or 2 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
For the Dish:
1 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Spray 2 baking sheets and a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Beat eggs and milk together in a bowl while placing bread crumbs in another bowl (I found I needed more than 1 C of breadcrumbs). Dip eggplant in egg mixture (both sides) and then dip into bread crumbs (again both sides). Place eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake until eggplant is softened and lightly brown, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in dutch oven (about medium to med-high). Add onion and garlic and saute until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, wine, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened (or until the eggplant is done baking).
Spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce into the 9×13 baking dish. Making a single layer of eggplant on top of the sauce, spoon more sauce in to cover eggplant, make another of eggplant, then put the rest of the sauce on the top. Top with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese us bubbling and golden. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.