Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meatless Meals

If you go to the market and have noticed that meat has become pricier than ever,(I know I have) Here is a quick tip for you and your budget. Try to have 2-3 times a week, a meatless meal. Eating a dinner consisting of just vegetables is extremely budget friendly, as well as very healthy. I have listed below a meatless recipe that is cheap, delicious,and simple to make. I also like it because it uses a vegetable people usually seem to skip over,eggplant-bon appetite!

Eggplant Gratin
Good olive oil, for frying
3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 extra-large egg
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.
Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm. ll usually skip over: eggplant- bon appetite!Give me courage to face anything, to endure everything--with you by my side.

-courtesy of www.foodnetwork.com

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