Tag Archives: eggplant

Penne Pasta and Eggplant with Spicy Meatballs on the side

This post is dedicated to Kashana who is a foodie like me. Kashana and I met at one of my favorite places – Starbucks. We happen to strike up a conversation about food and since then she has been a visitor to my blog. It is nice when someone outside of family appreciates many of the recipe ideas I have shared over the years.

I have to admit that this recipe was adapted from another recipe I saw on a cooking show. I thought it would be a nice recipe for the days when I wanted a meatless dish that was also quite filling. Adding spicy meatballs on the side was a way for me to please others that liked a meatless dish as well as those that are true carnivores no matter what.

This recipe really came in handy recently when my sister, who is a vegetarian, and brother-in-law joined us for dinner at our house. I was surprised that night when my sister shared that she no longer eats pasta, flour, sugar, etc. Fortunately, I had also prepared blackened salmon because I knew she liked salmon which I figured would go with the pasta. So all was not lost with my dinner menu which included a delicious salad (per the family) along with steamed broccoli topped with melted cheese.

Okay, back to the Penne and Eggplant. Talk about easy. Preparing pasta is usually quick and quite easy by just following the directions on the box. I made sure the pasta was al dente so that it would not be a pile of mush after I baked it a little. Eggplant can be quite watery when you cook it. So, the trick to reducing the amount of moisture in the eggplant is to microwave the cubed eggplant for about 8 minutes on a paper towel. This method worked like a charm. I think I might try this when I make another eggplant lasagna to make it less watery too.

Spicy meatballs on the side allowed me to have a vegetarian dish and the ability to satisfy the carnivore in me and some of my family. The meatballs were also a big hit along with the Penne Pasta and Eggplant. Two for one! Man…. I’m on a roll.  Thank you Kashana for your support.

Penne Pasta with Spicy Meatballs on the side

Ingredients:

2 large eggplant cubed (do not peel)
½ small onion sliced thin

1 box Penne pasta cooked al dente according to package

1 ½ jars marinara sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated fresh Parmesan

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp onion powder

Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a large microwaveable bowl with paper towels. Place cubed eggplant in the bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Microwave eggplant for 8 minutes. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and sprinkle with black pepper, oregano, basil and onion powder. Saute the eggplant until softened stirring constantly so that it does not burn.

Remove the eggplant from the heat. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour a little marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish and spread around. Add the Penne pasta to the dish and top with the eggplant, thinly sliced onions and Parmesan cheese. Pour marinara sauce over the top and gently mix to combine the eggplant, pasta and cheese. Add more sauce if the pasta seems too dry. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese then bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the cheese has melted and pasta is heated throughout. Serve immediately with the Spicy Meatballs and a healthy salad.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Eggplant Wheels

IMG_0411_1

Eggplant Wheels are kind of like individual eggplant parmesan servings. The elements are basically the same but arranged for individual servings. I like the idea of making a simple serving of eggplant as opposed to the longer process of layering and assembling an eggplant parmesan casserole.

IMG_0421_1

Why do I call them eggplant wheels? To be honest, it is because I could not think of what else to call them. It is not really a casserole so since the eggplant slices are shaped like a wheel I called the dish eggplant wheels. Corny? Maybe. But, for now the name eggplant wheels is fitting.

IMG_0427_1

The wonderful thing about this dish is that the servings are just right. One thick slice of eggplant is just enough of a side dish to go with whatever else you are serving. Of course if you are eating this as a main course you can eat as many Eggplant Wheels as your tummy can hold. If I am eating Eggplant Wheels as an entree, I may add pasta as a side dish or I may top the pasta with the eggplant. Yum!

IMG_0445_1

IMG_0525_1

Eggplant Wheels

Ingredients:
1 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 medium wide eggplant sliced into ½ inch rounds
2 large beefsteak tomatoes sliced
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp basil
½ tsp seasoned salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the ricotta cheese, basil, oregano. onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes seasoned salt and grated parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Spoon a little spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a long casserole dish. Place eggplant wheels on top of the sauce. Season with salt and black pepper. Top each eggplant wheel with a spoonful of the ricotta cheese mixture. Spoon spaghetti sauce over the ricotta cheese then sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the eggplant is cooked and the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onions with Pea Shoots on Flatbread

IMG_8776_1

Working with flatbreads is one of my new adventures. I came up with a few recipes that I am trying out on my lovely taste testers. The first one I pulled together was eggplant, tomatoes and onions with pea shoots. I know. Who ever heard of pea shoots. I had never heard of them until I was perusing the fresh vegetables at Trader Joe’s. I am always interested in trying out new veggies and figuring out how I can use them in a recipe. I originally thought I would use spinach or even watercress but the pea shoots caught my eye and I had a second thought. Why not use them on the flatbread!

IMG_8782_1

Because roasting veggies makes them soft I wanted to have another level of texture on the flatbreads. The pea shoots added just the right amount of crunch to go with the roasted eggplant, tomatoes and onions. Plus, the pea shoots have a nice flavor too. They have the subtle “sweet taste of spring peas” just like it says on the package. I will definitely be adding pea shoots to some other recipe in the future.

IMG_8798_1

Getting back to flatbreads, I find it is really just a fancy way of saying pizza. Although when I was researching information about flatbreads, there really is a difference between the two. Flatbreads are thin and made from unleavened dough and pizzas can be be thin or thick and are made with yeast so it rises. What is confusing is that I have seen on restaurant menus the description of flatbread pizzas which means they are just thin flat pizzas with yeast somewhere in the mix.

IMG_8808_1

I am keeping it simple and calling this a flatbread dish based on what it said on the package I purchased. No matter what you call it the taste will be delicious. If your creation works out the way mine did you may have to make two because the family will keep coming back for more.

IMG_8818_1

IMG_8824_1

Eggplant, Tomatoes and Onions with Pea Shoots on Flatbread

Ingredients:
1 14oz flatbread (Trader Joe’s Rustic Ciabatta Flatbread)
1 medium eggplant sliced (skin on)
1 medium onion sliced thin
2 Kumata tomatoes sliced
2 Roma tomatoes sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup organic pea shoots
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss together pea shoots, a pinch of salt, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl and set aside.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Layer eggplant, tomatoes and onions on a the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over veggies then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast until veggies are soft and browned for approximately 25 – 30 minutes. Toss the veggies mid-way through cooking to make sure all of the veggies brown.

Place flatbread on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil then sprinkle with ½ cup of mozzarella. Spread eggplant, tomato and onions over the flatbread then sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Top with remaining cheese then sprinkle oregano and basil over cheese. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until cheese melts and turns slightly brown. Let cool for a few minutes then cut with a pizza slicer. Top with pea shoots and enjoy.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Eggplant Stew

IMG_7617_1

Sometimes when I am at the store buying groceries I pick up different meats and vegetables thinking I can come up with a fabulous recipe for this or that. Most of the time I have an actual recipe in mind but other times I am winging it. That is what happened when I came up with the idea of making an eggplant stew.

IMG_7614_1

I wasn’t sure what to make when I bought a couple of eggplants but I love eggplant so I threw them in the cart with the other veggies. By the end of the week I still had not come up with an idea for the eggplant but since I did not want them to start turning brown I decided to make an Eggplant Stew.

IMG_7634_1

Stews are usually hearty and include meat somewhere in the mix. In this case, I wanted to substitute the eggplant for meat and create a vegetarian meal. All it took to make a nice hearty stew were a few chunky vegetables to compliment the eggplant and a few subtle seasonings to allow the flavor of each veggie to shine through. If you are a fan of eggplant, I think you will like this recipe.

IMG_7665_1

Remember, there is more to eggplant than making a casserole or frying.

IMG_7646_1

Eggplant Stew

Ingredients:
2 eggplant peeled and sliced
1 large onion cut in half then sliced
1 large green pepper cut in half then sliced
1 large tomato cut into wedges
2 medium red potatoes cubed
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp Adobo
½ tsp basil
¼ cup olive oil
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Layer the eggplant and other veggies on the cookie sheet then sprinkle with seasonings. Drizzle olive oil over veggies. Roast veggies for 35 – 40 minutes until soft then remove from oven. Place veggies in a large pot along with chicken broth and fire roasted tomatoes. Add a little more salt if needed. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Eggplant Casserole

IMG_5672_1

I am an eggplant lover. Back in my single days I use to make eggplant parmesan and it became one of my specialties. Over the years I have forgotten my original recipe so I decided to just make a simple eggplant casserole recipe. Although I love eggplant, I was not too sure how my family would like it. They like fried eggplant but a casserole? I was imagining that I would be eating the casserole the entire week for lunch and dinner.

IMG_5702_1

I love it when I am wrong about how one of my recipes will be received by my test team. I was the first one to try it out. Usually, I don’t brag a whole lot about the dishes I make but I had to say out loud “this tastes good!”. My exclamation of how good the eggplant tasted made my hubby curious so he was the next one to dive into the dish. Like I said in the beginning, I love it when I am wrong about how one of my recipes will be received. Hubby was delighted and said he loved the different flavors.

IMG_5712_1

Eggplant casserole is a wonderful side dish or you can make it into a meal. It is filling and I am sure once you taste it you will go for seconds.

IMG_5735_1

Eggplant Casserole

Ingredients:
2 small eggplants sliced thin
2 shallots sliced thin
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup fontina cheese shredded or sliced thin
½ stick butter sliced
2 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp seasoned salt
1 tbsp black pepper
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and spread around the cookie sheet. Place the sliced eggplant on the cookie sheet. Season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a small frying pan then add shallots. Season with a little salt and pepper. Saute shallots until softened and slightly browned. Set aside.

Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray. Put a large spoonful of fire roasted tomatoes on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer the bottom with the eggplant overlapping each ring. Sprinkle a little oregano over the eggplant. Spoon some of the fire roasted tomatoes over the eggplant then add a layer of mozzarella cheese. Place another layer of eggplant and sprinkle with the seasonings then layer the shallots over the eggplant. Place fontina cheese over the shallots then add another layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with seasonings then spoon on more tomatoes. Layer more mozzarella cheese. Finish with a layer of eggplant, seasonings, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Bake eggplant casserole for 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Portobella Mushrooms with Eggplant

tomato garden 3_1

Years ago when I was learning how to cook on my own, eggplant parmesan became one of my “special” dishes to make. But like with anything else if you don’t practice it you forget how to do it. I had not made eggplant parmesan in many moons but it came to mind when I was trying to think of a new dish to try out. My family likes roasted and fried eggplant but I wasn’t sure they would like eggplant parmesan. Instead of making “another casserole dish” as my hubby would say, I decided to stuff a portobella mushroom with eggplant parmesan.

Garden 8_1

After I assured my hubby I was not making another casserole, I told him he needed to test a stuffed mushroom recipe for me. At first I was surprised when he told me no because it sounded fattening. I asked him, “how are mushrooms fattening?” Then I had to laugh when he said it sounded like I was going to use some kind of bread stuffing and gravy on the mushrooms. Once I explained what I meant by stuffed portobella mushrooms he was on board to be my tester. Just to be on the safe side I decided to rename the dish and changed it to “Portobella Mushrooms with Eggplant”.

Portobello Mushrooms with eggplant 10_1

That episode reminded me how important a name can be when presenting a dish. You never know what might turn someone off from even trying something new. Keep it simple and appealing has become one of my mottoes!

Portobello Mushrooms with Eggplant 7_1

Still, I hope folks remember not to judge a book solely by its cover. Most of the time you need to read a few pages to determine if a book is truly interesting. I love to read and have learned not to discount a book just because the title seems funky, stupid or weird thanks to book recommendations from by my book buddy Karen. The same thing can apply to a recipe. Check out the ingredients and see how hard it is to make a recipe even if the name makes you say “No Way!”. You may be surprised just like my hubby.

Portobello Mushrooms with Eggplant 5_1

He liked the dish….

Portobello Mushrooms with Eggplant 3_1

Portobella Mushrooms with Eggplant

Ingredients:
4 large portobella mushrooms (stem and ribs removed)
1 small eggplant cubed
1 small onion chopped
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp basil
½ tsp oregano
2 cloves fresh garlic or 1 large clove roasted garlic chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14 oz can of spicy red peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Clean outside of mushrooms with a damp towel and set aside.

Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add eggplant, onions, tomatoes and seasonings. Cook until eggplant and onions are soft. Remove from heat and place veggies in a bowl with ½ cup of parmesan cheese and ½ of the mozzarella cheese. Stir until well blended. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside of each mushroom. Fill each mushroom with eggplant mixture and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place mushrooms on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 35 minutes until mushrooms are soft and cheese is slightly brown.