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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Garden Eats! Eggplant Parmesan & Steamed Beans





We ate great last night! I don't make alot of purely vegetarian meals, but this is one that we will have again. Hubby is a real meat eater guy and even he liked it.

I took 4 of my thin japanese eggplants and sliced off the ends, then sliced them thin diagonally, I cut diagonally becuase I wanted the pieces to be just a little bigger than they would be straight cut, I also made them fairly thin.

Once sliced I dipped them into egg and into a breadcrumb mix I had made. I used some leftover ends of italian bread that I had on hand. I put it in the blender to make crumbs and then added some spaghetti spices and a little bit of parmesan. I also mixed in some flour.

Once the the pieces were breaded I gave them a quick pan fry in my smallest frying pan. I only used a little bit of oil at a time and wiped out the pan with paper towel every couple of batches. The idea is not to let any of the 'crumbs' that fall in the oil burn--as it will give the eggplant a nasty taste. Because of this it took a while and was a little fussy to get all the eggplant slices browned nicely. I didn't mind though, it was fun.

After the eggplant was all breaded and browned I used a large jar of Spaghetti Sauce to coat a 9x13 baking pan bottom lightly. Then I layered in the eggplant and then I sprinkled it with some grated mozarella and parmesan, then more spaghetti Sauce. When finished I had 3 layers of eggplant in my pan with cheese and sauce between each layer.

I baked the dish at 350 with aluminum foil over it for about 30 min. I then toook off the foil and let it bake another 7 or 8 min to brown the cheesy topping.

Meanwhile I cut up some fresh beans from my garden, green, purple and yellow and coated them with a little bit of oil and added some Mrs. Dash no sodium spices to it--and yes--just a little bit of sea salt too. I'm not totally off salt-I do have to keep it in a certain range though.

Next time I make this I hope I'll have homemade spaghetti Sauce on hand, this time I used Ragu. Homemade sauces and fresh veggies have much less sodium than store canned.

That is something I have learned. When a doctor tells you to cut your salt they usually will say take the shaker off the table-- wrong! It is better to cook without the salt and use the shaker at the table instead. That way--you will get a little salt taste and not be eating things that are loaded and loaded with hidden sodium.
I prefer kosher salt or sea salt at the table. I'm not sure it makes that much difference in sodium--but it makes it all feel more glamorous so I don't feel cheated. ;)

I happened to steam my veggies in the microwave in those new steaming bags--but if those hadn't been handy I'd have used my bamboo steamer--either way--yum!

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