When I make rice, I usually make enough for a minimum of two dishes and often for three. This time, it served the purpose of a yummy side and a salad. My side was based on a search through my freezer and refrigerator. I found an eggplant in the refrigerator that was not going to last much longer and found a fabulous tomato sauce, in the freezer. Unfortunately, I have no idea what was in the sauce other than diced tomatoes. All I know, is that it was well flavored.
Brown Rice with Eggplant
1 eggplant, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups brown rice, cooked according to package directions.
Microwave eggplant and sauce 4 minutes or until soft or firm enough for your liking.
Place rice into a lightly greased casserole. Add eggplant and sauce and mix well.
I heated it together for about ten minutes.
* If you want to add cheese to this, I would top it with shredded mozzarella before baking and bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
** This would be even better – add caramelized onions
I hate to admit that I have had this eggplant for almost two weeks and it looks a little worse for its rest. I planned to make it two weeks ago and it didn’t happen. This week, I took it seriously and made sure, it happened, but I wanted to put it off. I took out all the other ingredients before I brought forth the eggplant. I was fighting hard. I looked at everything and thought, I could make lasagna or stuffed shells. I could make a spaghetti pie. Finally, I straightened my back and greeted my eggplant.
The question is why did I procrastinate making it. I think it is a subliminal thing. I think eggplant, and my inner being says, “Ugh.” It is true, I don’t like gushy eggplant but I really do like it breaded and baked or in this case, fried and baked. So, why do I still push away the eggplant and choose something else to make? If I had an answer, I would share it with you.
I must also share, this was one of the best dishes, we have had recently and we have been eating very well. It was a good week, perhaps because, all meals were dairy and if I put a little effort into a dairy meal, it is usually delicious. These were. If I made dairy meals, all the time, we would be happy foodies and a lot heavier in weight.
This recipe was really easy unless you don’t like the breading and frying. I don’t like it for health reasons but I don’t mind doing it. This went quickly. It is a straight forward recipe and I was done before I knew it.
Easy Eggplant Parmesan
(Kosher Food @ About.com) (I made some changes to the recipe.)
1 large eggplant
1 cup crumbs, I made from Rice Chex (use Panko crumbs – that would work beautifully)
1/2 cup oil (add if you need more…..I started with less and added a tablespoon when it was getting dry)
12 ounces spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 pound Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Peel eggplant. Cut eggplant into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
2. Dip each slice of eggplant into eggs and then crumbs.
3. Saute breaded eggplant slices until brown on both sides.
4. Preheat oven to 350° F .
5. In a baking dish, spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350° F for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.Next time, I think, I will skip the frying and go right to the baking. We don’t need all that fat. I have made other recipes without the frying and they were fine.
I selected this recipe without reading it. I had a picture in my mind as to what was to be done and what the ingredients would be. I was close except for a key ingredient or may be two. This, Mr. Food recipe had no ricotta and frankly, I think it needs it.
I just saw what my problem is. I barely glanced at the recipe but I read the description and I see, I misread baked ziti to be lasagna. No, the words are not similar. This was all in my head. I was thinking of what a great combination lasagna and eggplant parmesan were but that was not close to what was written. I am leaving the original title and will add my changes.
Baked Macaroni and Eggplant Neapolitan is like eggplant parmigiana and baked ziti all rolled into one. Every mouthful is pure delight!
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Cook eggplant, a few slices at a time, until well browned on each side, adding more oil as needed. Drain eggplant on a paper towel-lined platter and cover to keep warm. (I did this about an hour before, I actually put it together. It is time-consuming. I also was able to squeeze out more oil, when the time had passed.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.
Here is where I did everything differently. This is how I layered it. Under this is what Mr. Food wrote. I hope this will not confuse you.
1. I put about a cup of Marinara on the bottom of the dish.
2. I covered this with half of the pasta.
3. Next layer was one half of the Ricotta cheese. Use a utensil to smooth it out or drop it in balls on the pasta.
4. Cover with Marinara sauce and half the eggplant.
5. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over the Ricotta and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on top of that.
6. Now, repeat, pasta, Ricotta, Eggplant, Marinara, Cheese. Note eggplant, comes before sauce, in this half.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. (I basically layered it like lasagna.)
Mr Food speaks:
Layer half the ziti mixture in the prepared baking dish then 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, half the eggplant, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese; repeat layers. Top with reserved 1 cup spaghetti sauce the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella, and remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until heated through. (Mine was too brown at 30 minutes so it would be good to check it, before that time.
This was delicious. The eggplant was a nice bite in the middle. The Ricotta was the binding ingredient. It was soft and inclusive. My husband made it clear, he hoped to see it, on our table, again.