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Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Sort of Eggplant Parm

As promised yesterday, here is my recipe for a healthier version of Eggplant Parmesan. This will easily feed 2 hungry people or can be made as a side dish when serving 4. This recipe is so easy to tailor to how healthy you want it to be in that you may use more or less mozzarella cheese...heck, you could even skip it if you want. Although, it just wouldn't be the same :)

I promise it looks more appetizing in person ;)

A Sort of Eggplant Parm
Serves 2-4

1 eggplant
1/2 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1/4-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Breadcrumb topping:
3 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

Slice eggplant 1/2" thickness.  Lay out on large plate or cutting board, sprinkle with salt and let rest for 3-5 minutes. This will help to draw out some of the bitterness in the eggplant. While you wait you can heat your grill or oven. I used our trusty ol' George Foreman electric grill for this. You may use a grill pan if you have one, a skillet or you can just roast the slices on a sheet pan in the oven.

* My second choice to the grills, would be to roast the eggplant in the oven at 425 degrees until the eggplant is tender. Unfortunately, I have not used that method before so I am unsure of the cook time. (You could just do what I would do and research it online). However, if you choose to use a skillet, I would suggest using a non-stick skillet. You will still need to use some oil in the pan to prevent it from sticking.

Also, while you are waiting, combine all ingredients for your breadcrumb topping (unless you've chosen to use store bought).

Once the eggplant has released it's yucky bitter juices, dab with a paper towel. Drizzle with olive oil and grill those slices for about 3-5 minutes. You want to grill them until they are nice and tender and have those yummy looking dark grill marks.

Coat a baking dish with a little bit of olive oil or cooking spray. I used a deep pie dish. Lay down a layer of grilled eggplant. Spoon on desired amount of sauce. If you'd like, you may even add a layer of cheese at this point. Continue to layer until you've used up your eggplant. Spread the last layer of eggplant with sauce, then sprinkle on cheese.

My new fave Marinara sauce. Smooth and sweet.  Try it!

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Then broil until cheese is bubbly and browned. Well, that's the way I like it anyway. You can skip that part if you're not a fan of that delicious, browned, crusty cheese like me!

Remove from oven and top with breadcrumb mixture. Broil again for 30-60 seconds until breadcrumbs and nice and crisp! I think mine could have gone a little longer.

Typically, this is served alongside spaghetti with marinara sauce.  I think I must have been craving veggies last night because I just served mine with some sauteed veggies. <Broccoli.Mushrooms.Zucchini.Spinach. Onion.Green Bell Pepper.Garlic.Dab of Butter.Montreal Chicken Seasoning.Italian Seasoning.> This is probably why it fed the 2 of us last night, we didn't have the carbs to go along with it.

As always, if you try this or any of my other recipes, please come back and leave a comment. Tips, questions or constructive criticism is all welcome! And please, share this link with your friends: Dinner and a Craft

Reversible Car Seat Straps

Well folks, here it is... my very first craft. And here I am lacking good pictures. Sorry guys! I should have done some step by step pictures, but honestly, I was so excited to make these that it just slipped my mind. But, it's ok, I will be referring you to the site that has the tutorial and plenty of pictures (much better than mine too).  I will also take a picture tomorrow in the daylight of the straps in Elise's car seat. 

I don't know why, but I just absolutely love these things. I think they are so fun and super easy to ship together (nice for a beginning sewer as myself). You can use any fabric you choose. The first set I started with were minky, and well as it turns out, minky is a challenging material to work with. So I scrapped that and went for flannel. I was so excited when I found the flannel print with the birds because my mother-in-law made Elise a car seat cover with the same colors and a bird on it as well. I love it when things match! 

So here is the free tutorial, from a blog called The Sweet LifeSimple Reversible Car Seat Strap Covers. (There are 2 links here... the first one takes you to the home page and the other to the tutorial itself). 

To you mommies (or mommies to be) of young ones, give this tutorial a try. They are a little blessing for babies. I used to notice Elise getting red marks on her neck from her car seat straps. And hey, even if you aren't a mommy or expecting, these make great gifts. I gave a set just like this to my sister-in-law and am sending another set to one of J's friends wife. In fact, I am just anxiously waiting to find out what 2 other friends are having so I can make them some as well! 

Lastly, I hope you enjoy making these yourself.