Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Back...with Cheesy Eggplant Bake

It's been a while! This summer has been crazy. Baby J was born in June and with him, came family visiting. When that was all over, we moved. Then, I went on vacation. I am finally getting into a routine at home and cooking for my family again. I have been taking it easy and going with simple and quick recipes, because who knows how my kids will be acting when it is time to make dinner. I have quite a few recipes saved up, which I will be putting in here and there. I am going to take this slow for a while, but I am going to try to make at least one new thing each week.

Tonight I tried a recipe that I was actually a little skeptical about. I found it on a new cooking blog I found called Cheap Healthy Good. Here's the link to the recipe. I will reprint it below. The name does not do this recipe justice! I had never cooked with eggplant and I'm not sure I had ever even eaten it before. I had no idea how this recipe would taste, but the reviews were raving, so I decided to try it. It is mostly just a vegetables, but it makes the perfect main dish. I just served it with a side of French bread and it worked perfect. I followed the directions really closely and the only thing I did differently was not add the mushrooms (one of the few things that I just cannot stand). Try this! It is SO GOOD!

Cheesy Eggplant Bake

1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg + 2 egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1) Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds. Arrange rounds in a colander in your sink and sprinkle salt all over them. Walk away for half an hour. When finished, "rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels."

2) While eggplant is sitting, combine bread crumbs, garlic salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or on a plate. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk eggs. When eggplant is done, douse each slice in the egg mixture. Then dip in the bread crumb mixture to coat. Shake off any excess and/or drippy-ness.

3) In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook a few rounds until browned, about 2 minutes per side. When finished, arrange in 13x9-inch baking dish. Repeat for second batch.

4) Preheat oven to 350°F.

5) Heat last 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add green pepper, onion, and mushrooms. Cook until onion is softening and pepper is crisp/tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top eggplant with mixture. Add tomatoes on top of that, spreading evenly.

6) Cover with tin foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and take off tin foil. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake another 25 or 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and a little brown. Serve to applause.