Sunday, September 23, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pizza

My family and I were in the mood for a quick “fast-food” tasting meal the other day, and I happened to have received Rachael Ray’s weekly email that morning.  I noticed a recipe called “Eggplant Parmesan Pizza”  and it looked great.  The only hitch was that my daughter hates eggplant.  After reading through the recipe, I thought I would give it a try since the eggplant actually turns into a sort of spread that I was hoping she wouldn’t notice.

I was right.  The pizza was a hit, and she still has no idea that she was eating eggplant.  Give it a try, it’s a quick, tasty, healthy vegetarian meal that is sure to please.  Kids love any type of pizza, so don’t tell them what it is, and they’ll love it!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pizza
2 small firm eggplants
¼ c EVOO
Salt & pepper
1 onion chopped
2 garlic chopped
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (I used a leftover bruschetta mix that I had, I believe it was President’s Choice)
1/3 c basil leaves torn (I didn’t have any so I left this out)
1 loaf ciabatta bread cut in ½ horizontally (I don’t know what type of bread I used, but it wasn’t ciabatta.  I don’t like the flour on the crust of most Italian breads, and I like a lot of dough, so I bought a loaf that was only slightly crispy on the outside, with a lot of soft dough on the inside – it was at No Frills, nothing fancy, it cost about $1.50)
½ c parmesan
8 slices smoked mozzarella (use whatever you have on hand – I used friulano cheese from the farmer’s market…yum)
I also had leftover goat cheese that needed to be used up, so I spread this on the bread first (more below)

Preheat the oven to 450.  Halve the eggplants lengthwise and using a small sharp knife score the flesh into small cross hatch cubes being careful not to cut through the skin.  Drizzle with 3 T of the EVOO, and salt & pepper.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile in a medium pan heat the remaining 1 T EVOO over medium heat.  Add the onion & garlic and cook for 6-7 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt & pepper.  Stir in the basil (if using) until wilted.  Keep warm over low heat.  Scoop out the eggplant flesh and spread on your bread (this is where I spread the goat cheese on first.  I didn’t have much, but it added a creamy tanginess that you can only get from goat cheese).  Top the eggplant with your tomato mixture, parmesan, and then mozzarella.  Place on a baking sheet and toast until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.  I broiled it for a little longer, probably about 10 minutes but you really have to watch it.  Cut each loaf into 4 pieces and enjoy!

I served this with a salad, and everyone loved it.  We had leftovers for days because of the size of loaf I used. 

Until next time!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baked Crab Cakes With Spicy Mango Lime Sauce

Recently I was in the mood for crab cakes.  But I wanted to make them at least a little bit healthy so I didn't want them fried.  I found a great recipe that did the trick.  These crab cakes are baked.  And rather then the traditional tartar sauce that is served with them, these cakes are served with a fruity & spicy sauce.  So tasty!

Baked Crab Cakes With Spicy Mango Lime Sauce
1/2 c red onion, diced
1/2 c red pepper, diced
1 large egg
3 T lemon juice
6 T dijon
3 T mayo
2 tsp old bay (left this out and used Caribbean seasoning w/garlic instead)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 lb lump crab meat
1 c panko
2 large rip mangoes, peeled (didn't have any, so used rip peaches, not peeled, instead)
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
2 serrano chili peppers, stems and seeds removed, diced

Saute the onions and peppers in oil.  In a large bowl whisk together egg, lemon juice, dijon, mayo, old bay and cayenne.  Fold in the veggies, crab and panko.  Add salt.  Refrigerate for half an hour to let the panko soak up some of the moisture.  Preheat oven to 350.  Divide the mixture into 8 portions.  Roll into balls and flatted onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes per side.  Meanwhile place all sauce ingredients (mangoes - or peaches - lime juice, sugar, salt, and chilies) in a blender and process until smooth.  Add some water if the sauce is too thick.  To serve, place 2 crab cakes on a plate a drizzle with the sauce.

You will never have tartar sauce again with your crab cakes - this sauce is divine!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Artichoke & Sundried Tomato Lasgana With a Chickpea Salad

Yes, you guessed it, more vegetarian cuisine.  I have to admit that since eating more vegetarian meals I have felt more energetic and 'lighter' if that makes any season.  I guess I feel that we are eating 'cleaner' at my house, and that makes me feel better all around.

For tonight's dinner, I made a fabulous lasagna that was fresher and lighter then your standard lasagna, as well as a lemony yogurt chickpea salad.  Thank you Canadian Living Magazine, it was a great meal.

Artichoke & Sundried Tomato Lasagna
1 tub ricotta cheese (I used fat free cottage cheese, it's all I had)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry and chopped (I skipped patting dry)
1/3c drained oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped (I probably used about 1/2 c)
3 sheets of fresh lasagna noodles (now I normally wouldn't splurge on fresh noodles since dry are WAY cheaper, but I found whole grain noodles at No Frills for 50% off because the best before date was in 2 days, and I had a coupon, so I scored big time and got these for dirt cheap)
6 slices provolone cheese (I used the PC blue menu light version)

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, artichokes, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Place 1 sheet of pasta on a greased 8" dish and ct to fit.  Spread with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture  Repeat.  Top with remaining pasta and provolone.  Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake until golden and bubbly, 10 minutes.  Tent with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

When I make this again, I will add a third later so that it is thicker, but aside from that I wouldn't change a thing.  The flavor was intense and you didn't miss the meat in your dish.

Chickpea Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing
1/4 c balkan yogurt (I just used fat free plain yogurt)
2 T lemon juice
pinch of salt & pepper
1 can of chickpeas drained
1/2 c halved grape tomatoes
1/4 c diced celery
3 T diced red onion
3 T chopped mint (left this out, didn't have any)
2 T copped parsley (left this out, didn't have any)

Stir everything together, and enjoy!  This salad tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld.

That's it, that's all.  Hope you are enjoying the vegetarian ideas.  More meat to come, because we all know I can't live without a good steak or veal chop, but at least we can incorporate healthy dishes into our lifestyle and learn to eat the (great) red meat in moderation.

Until next time!