Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I haven't posted a recipe in awhile for this simple reason - I haven't really been cooking. Well, I haven't really been cooking food. I've been baking plenty of treats, and I'll share those too, but they don't tend to meet any of my criteria for cheap, fast and healthy... HOWEVER, there are some lingering "real food" recipes that got us through the fall that I can't believe I haven't posted. So I'm going to do that...... wait for it...... now.

My favorite discovery of the season was my new and improved version of eggplant parmesan. It has *sneaky vegetables and it's almost impossible to mess it up.

Eggplant Parmesan

-Approx. one large eggplant for every 3 people, depending on how hungry they are
- 1/2 c. egg beaters or 3 egg whites mixed with a Tbsp of water
-1/2 - 3/4 c. bread crumbs - seasoned or unseasoned (you can add a tsp each of basil and oregano to spice it up some more)
-1/2 c. parmesan cheese - grated or shredded, we're not picky
-One large yellow onion
-1/2 lb. lean ground beef
-One jar red sauce, we've been using Bertolli's Italian Sausage version and its delicious

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Spray two cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the egg mixture into a shallow dish. In another separate shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs and parmesan. Slice the eggplant into rounds - thinner for crispier, thicker for heartier.

2. Dredge the eggplant rounds in the egg mixture, give 'em a little shake to get off the drips, then coat them in the parmesan bread crumb mixture all over and lay them on the cookie sheet. I am usually able to fit them 3x3, so 9 slices on each sheet.

3. Bake for 10 mins at 400, then pull out the oven rack and your tongs and flip each piece over and put it back in for another 10-15 mins until you feel like the outsides are sufficiently crispy. If your oven fails to heat evenly like mine, this is also a good time to switch the two cookie sheets from top rack to bottom and vice versa.

4. Meanwhile, dice your onion and throw it in a large skillet on high and add the ground beef. I like a lot of onion because I feel like it brings out a really good flavor in the meat, you may prefer less. Once the beef is browned and the onions are soft, add the red sauce and reduce the heat to medium. Heat through, stirring frequently, until little bubbles break on the surface and your sauce starts to look like boiling lava (you know you've thought that too!). And don't forget to keep an eye on your eggplant.

5. Once the eggplant is done, remove from oven and serve topped with sauce and garnished with more parmesan. OPTIONAL additional step is to layer the eggplant in a baking dish with the sauce and some mozzarella. I choose not to do this, but if you wish to add this step Google will you with the how to. I think the original recipe came from here.

This goes great with a big ol' ceasar salad and some garlic bread. Voila!

*Sneaky vegetables are when you add vegetables in such a way that you don't actually feel like you're eating vegetables! I enjoy the fresh, raw taste of a salad on occasion, but let's be honest, who wants to eat salad for every meal? Heidi Klum. And that's it. I since I'm not Heidi Klum, my solution is sneaky vegetables.

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