Toddler Approved Eggplant Parmigiana with Gianna

About a year ago the priest at our parish gave a homily on why abstaining from meat on Fridays is still a good practice. Mostly, I ignored his advice because I love meat, and made excuses for why it was just to hard for our family. However with Lent fast approaching, my husband and I decided we really wanted to take on this challenge to grow in our faith, and start preparing for Lent. Also, I wanted to chronicle the recipes that were a big hit to hopefully give others ideas on those days you cannot manage another PB&J sandwich.

Last friday, Gianna and I decided to cook eggplant parm with a side of whole wheat spaghetti. It was actually GREAT, and my husband loved it. Not always the easiest task getting someone who loves all things animal to enjoy a vegetable based dish. Also, it was super easy (it just takes a little while for the sauce to simmer). Here is the recipe:

  1. 1 Large Eggplant
  2. Four cans of peeled whole tomatoes
  3. Fresh basil, or Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
  4. Two WHOLE cloves of garlic
  5. 1 lb of whole wheat spaghetti
  6. 3 Eggs
  7. 2 Cups of breadcrumbs
  8. 2 Cups (or as much as you want) of parmesan

Method:

  1. Slice the eggplant into 1 inch pieces
  2. Whisk eggs in a bowl and dip each slice of eggplant in the eggs
  3. Cover the eggplant totally in breadcrumbs, and set aside
  4. Add tomatoes, garlic, and seasoning to a large saucepan (this garlic crusher is amazing–you don’t even have to peel the garlic). Let simmer for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Crush the tomatoes as it cooks down
  5. Once the sauce is done simmering, lay the eggplant on foil on a baking sheet. Cover in sauce and parmesan
  6. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes covered. Uncover and let bake for another 10 minutes to make the top crispy
  7. Use the remaining sauce for your side of pasta (I’m not going to give directions for that here because you all know how to boil water and add spaghetti)

Final tips:

  1. If you work and want to make this, but don’t want to eat at 11 PM, cook and freeze sauce on the weekends. Take the sauce out on thursday night and let it defrost in the fridge overnight. It will cut your cook time down from 3 hours to about 45 minutes with very little prep after a long work day
  2. If you forget to make and freeze sauce, but need to make this in a pinch, just start with crushed tomatoes. Then you can let it simmer for as long as you like; it might not have quite as much flavor, but it will still be delicious after about 20 minutes.

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