Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

I grew up eating Eggplant Parmesan. This is my Mother’s recipe but with my twist to make it healthier. In my version of Eggplant Parmesan, I bake my eggplant instead of frying it. By doing this it gives the eggplant the same consistency without all the fat. As with any Eggplant Parmesan recipe, it can be repetitive and time consuming but also by baking it, the time is cut in half.

SERVINGS: 12

PREP TIME: 45 minutes

INACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes

COOK TIME: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium/large eggplants, sliced thick (about ¼”)
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • tomato sauce, ideally homemade (see below)
  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Lay sliced eggplant on paper towels. Lightly salt one side and let rest for 15 minutes. (This sucks out the bitter juices from the eggplant). Then lay another sheet on paper towel on top and press eggplant to remove the juices. Flip over the eggplant and do the same thing to the other side.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Pull out 2 shallow bowls. In one bowl, place breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly. In the other place the beaten eggs.
  4. Have 2 lined baking sheets ready. Take each piece of eggplant and first dip it into the egg. Then into the breadcrumb mixture. (Making sure to cover both sides). Place onto the baking sheet. Place both baking sheets into the oven until eggplant is golden brown.
  5. In a baking dish. Ladle some sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of eggplant on top, then add more sauce and some mozzarella cheese. Continue to layer until you either run out of ingredients or are at the top of the baking dish. Finish with some shredded cheese on top. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly and browning.
  6. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Cut and serve.

 

HOMEMADE PASTA SAUCE:

SERVINGS: 4

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 20 minutes

INGRDIENTS:

  • 2-28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 small garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 small yellow onion – chopped finely
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth – this can be omitted if you don’t want to use alcohol
  • Basil 3 leaves chopped or torn into piece

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, on medium-high heat, add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant but NOT brown. Browning will make it bitter. Add ½ cup White Wine or Dry Vermouth carefully so it doesn’t splash and ignite. Simmer for 1-2 Minutes or until you smell the alcohol burn off. Add can of tomatoes and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add basil at the end.

Building a Fun Lunch Box – Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

Teriyaki Chicken Lunch

I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t love the sweet and salty taste of Teriyaki. So, this week, we will focus on an Asian inspired lunch box with fun to eat and dip skewers, sweet and tangy fruit and salty Japanese rice sticks. To make your life easy, make the chicken using my Ginger Soy Chicken Thigh recipe the day before and eat it for dinner while reserving some as leftovers for the next day’s lunch. Both parents and kids will love this lunch the next day.

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant

At first bite, my son turned to me and said, “This is sooo yummy!”- a resounding approval that I don’t hear very often unless he is really impressed. He even asked that he have it in his lunch. So you have heard it from the mouth of babes… not only is this dish perfect for a family dinner but for lunch too!

How to build a fun lunch box that your kids will love! – Italian

This will be the last in my series of fun lunch box ideas for kids for a while. In this weeks lunch box I made Spinach Tortellini. The best part of making tortellini is that there is a seemingly endless array of healthy stuffed tortellini’s you can buy and there are endless healthy sauces you can make. In this recipe, I use my traditional tomato sauce, but I recommend checking out my website for my Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Kale Pesto and other sauces that would be great for lunch.

Halibut with Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce en Papillote

Cooking en Papillote may sound fancy but it is one of the simplest and healthiest ways to cook. “En Papillote” means cooking in paper. All you need are basic lunch sized paper bags. What I love about this method is that it seals in the flavors and juices of what you are making. What my son loves is that it is like getting a present at mealtime. This is a super kid friendly dish, mild with flavor but rich with taste. If you think that your child will not respond to the peppers, tomatoes and onions sliced, I suggest that you blend the sauce prior to placing it over the fish in the bag. The blended sauce will look like any other tomato sauce and it will taste the same as if it were not blended. This recipe would also work well with swordfish or shark.

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

This is one of those recipes where you throw everything into the pot and out comes a fantastic slow cooker meal. All you need is a blender or food processor to first blend up the spices. No pre-cooking needed here. I prepped this at lunchtime and after a busy day; we came home to super flavorful caritas tacos.

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Asian Meatballs

Meatballs are a staple and always a favorite in our house. I learned to make meatballs the old-fashion Italian way using veal and pork, which yield the most succulent meatballs, but as I look for healthier options, I have found that a mixture of chicken breast and thigh meat can make meatballs super juicy and tasty without all the fat.

Casarecce with Corn, Tomatoes and Feta

Casarecce with Corn, Tomatoes and Feta

Summer screams for quick and easy light pastas perfect for lunch or dinner. Kids will love this dish for the sweetness of the corn and tomatoes. Parents will love this dish because it is healthy. Dinner is served in 15 minutes with little cooking. Try this dish tonight!

Bolognese Meatballs Made Healthy

It’s the New Year and time to get serious about loosing those extra pounds. What I have found about eating low cal is that I miss the fat in food that fills me up. In this recipe, I take my Bolognese meatballs and make them lower in calories and fat so I that you get the same depth of flavor without all the calories. Serve with a side salad or pasta for the kiddies.

Chicken Caprese

Caprese anything is always a hit in my house. Here I marry grilled chicken with an amped up Caprese salad. The result is succulent grilled chicken with fresh and sweet heirloom tomatoes. If you can find fresh mozzarella from an artesian I highly recommend you use it in this dish.

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