Wednesday, March 6, 2013

EGGPLANT PARM + MEAL PREP

Let me just say, this was my very first time buying eggplant, tasting eggplant, and cooking with eggplant. It's so good! At least, this recipe made was good. I wanted to think of a truly unique way of cooking the stuff, but when it came down to it, I settled for the typical "eggplant parmesan." After searching the web for tons of recipes, I came across one I actually really liked, and I didn't really change that much about it. I started making the dish, and I had to tweak a few things along the way, but you can thank Smells Like Home for this one! (Minus my alterations, because the original recipe makes enough for about a hundred people (exaggeration) and I'm only cooking for 4). Not only is this post focusing on the Eggplant Parmesan recipe, it's also focusing on how I prep my meals. Something you have to remember about this post, is that it's based off of MY day. I work from home, so I understand this method does not work for everyone. It also feeds 6 people, so if you're cooking for two, cut the recipe down. Please note: This is probably a terrible recipe to use when giving a timeline example, because this recipe takes hours! So for that, I am sorry. Not all recipes take 3 hours. 

HOW I TIME MY MEALS:  

MORNING: 
-Make a list of everything you want to include with the meal 
Eggplant Parmesan 
Salad (carrots + tomatoes + croutons + sliced cucumbers) 
Bread 

-Read over your entire recipe for each item you have that includes a recipe

-Make a timeline starting with the time you want to have dinner ready and work backwards. 

Prep salad (refrigerate) AM 
Eggplant Prep 4:00pm
Eggplant baking 6:30pm 
Bread baking 6:45pm
Set table (while bread is baking) 
dinner 7:00pm


RECIPE 


EGGPLANT 
1 LARGE EGGPLANT, WASHED + SLICED
2 TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT 
1 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
2 TEASPOONS OF PEPPER 
1 CUP OF ITALIAN BREAD CRUMBS 
1 CUP OF FRESH GRATED PARMESAN 
3 EGGS 
1 CUP SHREDDED MOZZARELLA CHEESE 

Place eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Transfer eggplant slices into a strainer over a bowl and let it sit for 45 minutes to drain the juice from the eggplant. 

While eggplant is sitting, preheat your oven to 425 and place a baking sheet inside to warm. In a deep plate combine flour and pepper. In a bowl, beat eggs. In another deep plate, combine bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. 

Remove eggplant and place in a single layer onto a paper-toweled plate. Using another paper towel, press down on slices to remove excess juice. Dip each individual slice into the flour, then the egg, followed by the bread crumb mix. Place on a wire rack with baking sheet underneath to catch droppings. Continue until all eggplant slices are coated. 

Carefully remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle a little olive oil on it, swirling to coat. Place the eggplant slices on the sheet (I had to do 2 rounds) and bake for 30 minutes flipping every 15 minutes. 

When eggplant slices are done, carefully remove from oven and place in a long baking dish in a single layer (overlapping slightly to fit). 

Once you have prepared your sauce (below) drizzle sauce over the eggplant layer. Follow up with half of the mozzarella cheese, then repeat with another eggplant layer and mozzarella cheese, topping off with parmesan cheese. Leave the edges of the eggplant slices uncovered to stay crispy. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven carefully and let cool before serving! 

SAUCE
1 LARGE CAN WHOLE TOMATOES 
2 GARLIC GLOVES, MINCED
PINCH OF RED PEPPER FLAKES 
SALT 
ITALIAN SEASONING 

While your eggplant slices are baking, pour your can of tomatoes into a blender and puree. In a large skillet, combine red pepper flakes and garlic, sauteing until garlic is golden brown. Once garlic is golden brown, add tomato sauce and let simmer 15 minutes. Add italian seasoning and salt to taste.

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