February 27, 2009

Fuggedaboutit Friday: DENIED!

Miracles do happen. It's Friday, and I cooked! I don't know what came over me - I have not one, but TWO Kashi pizzas in the freezer, not to mention a box of Annie's mac 'n' cheese, but I made dinner from scratch nonetheless. Someone musta slipped me the crazy sauce!

The impetus was an impulse-buy eggplant I picked up the other day. I've been good about buying more or less what I need to make what I'm planning on eating, but the siren call of a plump and purple eggplant is hard for me to resist. Seriously, I got home and unloaded it from my shopping bag and could barely remember having picked it up in the first place. Such is the power eggplant holds over me.

So, with a random eggplant and half a jar of marinara in danger of going bad, I decided to suck it up and make dinner. No recipes, no blog inspiration, I just yanked a bunch of stuff out of the fridge and ended up with this:

Eggplant Parmesagna!

I'm sure I'm not the first to do something like this, but the idea was to do a lasagna-like dish, replacing the noodles with thinly sliced eggplant. It came out great, so here's what I used (enough for one serving; multiply as necessary):
  • 150g eggplant (about 1/2 of one medium-sized eggplant), sliced lengthwise 1/4" thick
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 3+ tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • garlic powder
  • dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, etc. - mine are in one shaker)
  • ~ 1 cup marinara
  • 1 oz shredded cheese (I used manchego because I have no mozzarella - unorthodox, I know, but manchego's expensive and I'll be darned if I let it go bad)

This is how I done it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Coat a cookie sheet and a small casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Put egg whites in one shallow bowl and combine the bread crumbs, 1 tbsp parmesan, some garlic powder and herbs (to suit your taste) in another shallow bowl or on a small plate.
  3. Dip eggplant slices in egg whites and then coat with the bread crumb-parm mixture. Place on the cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through (keep an eye on it though - I personally like my eggplant very done, but if you want it firmer, test it earlier than 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine cottage cheese, some garlic powder and herbs (to suit your taste) in a small bowl. (Tip: I drained my cottage cheese in a colander for a few minutes to minimize any watery-ness that might make my casserole soggy. I think it helped.)
  5. After the eggplant is done, begin layering ingredients in the casserole dish. First, make a layer of eggplant slices to cover the bottom. Blob on some dollops of the cottage ("ricotta") cheese mixture - about half of the total you made. Spread about half of the marinara over the top. Repeat. I got two layers out of this process. Top with the shredded cheese.
  6. Bake the casserole for about 30 minutes - this will be less or more depending on the size and/or depth of your casserole. Mine was small and shallow, so 30 minutes was more than enough, but again, I like it on the done-er side. Keep an eye on it.

Meanwhile, I steamed some green bean "spaghettis" to within an inch of their lives, and that was the bed upon which I served out my parmesagna. It pretty much popped out of its Corningware in one piece! A little more grated parmesan on top and I was ready to rock and roll.

And by rock and roll, I mean watch Philadelphia for the first time ever. Phew, I needed a drink after that.

And by drink I mean something to pour over my Cookies 'n' Cream Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich (I ate it open-face with a spoon because I'm not a huge fan of eating ice cream with my bare hands - deal with it).

Woo hoo!!! I momentarily considered setting it on fire, too (before I consumed it, thank you), but decided that was perhaps over the top. Truth be told, I did not need an entire shot of Kahlua to top my ice cream, but I will give myself the benefit of the doubt and call myself efficient: happy hour, after-dinner drink and dessert all in one bowl. Bam.

Success all around, and I even got my laundry done in the meantime! I'm thinking this dinner will go into my submission for the blogger cookbook Abbie is creating over at Foods That Fit! Check it out here and drop her a line if you want to be included - I daresay this promises to be a healthy recipe compilation of epic (controlled) proportions. :)


Anonymous said...

Please send this in for the cookbook! It looks so good! I am never sure what to do with eggplant and this is a great and healthy way to use it! Thank you for mentioning the cookbook, it is coming together so well!

healthy ashley said...

Good for you for making a fancy dinner!

And are you saying Annie's Mac n Cheese doesn't count!?

Marta said...

the dish you made with eggplant is actually very similar to an italian dish, which is called "melanzane alla parmigiana" :D
but maybe you already knew that..
ciao from not-so-sunny italy!