Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Oh yeah, remember these dinner posts?  Before I got all crazy with the Clean Food?

Look.  I loved eating CLEAN and I actually have never felt better, but I have not been eating clean ever since.  I think I figured out that both gluten and dairy are responsible for making me not feel quite as *sparkly* as I felt during the cleanse, and I have been conscious of cutting down on both, but certainly I have not cut them out.  I am still thinking of getting really organized and trying to just eliminate gluten for a while to see if just that makes as big a difference, but during the last week I've been enjoying bread, cheese, even pizza.  Dirty food can be so good. 

I think of the cleanse as kind of like deep-cleaning and freshly painting a room, and how after you do that, you are then more careful and conscious about what you put back in that room.  I've been paying more attention for sure, but it's also the holidays.  I have a double batch of biscotti in the oven while I'm writing this. 

So here is a great dinner I made a few weeks ago, before the cleanse, and it was so delicious that I'm putting it back in the rotation for this week.  This meal idea started because one day I was running on the treadmill at the gym and the Food Network was on and I watched Bobby Flay do a "throw down" challenge with Eggplant Parmesan.  It was Bobby Flay vs. some real Italian chef from an NYC Little Italy joint, and that very night I went home and made the Italian guy's version which was different from how I usually had cooked Eggplant Parm.  This is more like a lasagna that uses eggplant slices rather than noodles.

Eggplant Parmesan

1. Set up a station with 3 bowls:  one flour, one Italian breadcrumbs, and one 3 eggs scrambled.
2.  Peel the eggplant and thinly slice it the long way (think lasagna noodles).
3.  Dip the eggplant slices in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs (I added some onion powder to the breadcrumbs too).
4.  Cook the eggplant in a frying pan with some olive oil or cooking spray (OR, deep fry it like they did on the show.)
5.  After the eggplant is browned and cooked, layer it with marinara sauce (on the show, they made it from scratch) and fresh mozarella cheese.  Repeat layers:  eggplant, sauce, cheese, 3 times and top with more sauce and shredded parmesan.

6.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes until everything is bubbly. 

7.  Let cool slightly so it binds together enough to cut into pieces.

8.  Oh.  my.  goodness.  yum.

Not pictured:  big salad, red wine, garlic bread.

I didn't run today and I drank too many cups of coffee.  And the big storm that was almost sure to give us a snow day on Monday has drifted off to sea. 

but...I am seriously checking things off of my Christmas to-do list.
Skyler's Kindergarten Christmas party snack:  check
Christmas cards addressed, stuffed and in the mail:  check
packages for away-people mailed:  check
sponsored-children presents wrapped and ready for delivery:  check (this was a joint effort with my students... more on this later)
ginger-bread houses assembled and ready for decoration:  check
food gifts for friends:  in the oven

How is everyone doing on holiday stuff?  Are you those people that have everything done by Thanksgiving and then sit back and sip cocoa and watch the frenzy?  I've always wanted to be those people.


Jodi said...

Ditto on the food thing. I'm with you... I've had my share of sugar (which seems to be my go to "dirty" food). Tis the season! Spent the day finishing up my christmas shopping. I can't believe I got it done considering i only started yesterday. this week I should be able to relax a little. I hope. :)

Cat said...

That is how my brother, who spent some ridiculous number of year living in Italy, makes it. Who needs noodles is how I now feel!! He always says to layer the flavors. Don't put everything in and mix it up. Layer the cheese, layer the eggplant, layer the basil, layer the garlic, layer the sauce, sprinkle the salt and pepper, then repeat. AMAZINGLY YUM!

Kelly Dahl said...

I recently started making eggplant parm that way too. One difference though...I bake the eggplant instead of frying. Less grease and fat. I've also done an unbreaded version, which wasn't as good but an interesting variation.

I'm always so curious if you kids eat your dinners. And if not, what do you make them?

Emilie said...

Kel- anything that involves pizza, chicken, tortellini, chicken soup or chicken sausage (and any vegetables) my kids will eat with us. anything "mixed together" they will not eat, so on those nights i make them veggie burgers, or annie's mac and cheese, or pizza bagels, or platters with cut up fruit, cheese and crackers and veggies. they aren't very adventurous.

i'll try baking the eggplant next time!

Laura said...

My boyfriend's parents make this dish and it is so good! They also do the same thing with zucchini, with equally amazing results. They grow their own zucchs and so this dish is a pretty big staple in their house in the summertime when their garden is exploding.

Another cool thing to do with eggplant is to make eggplant meatballs! You basically follow the same idea as regular meatballs, except using steamed eggplant, then mix and mash it with egg and breadcrumbs and spices, ect.

Can you tell I haven't had italian home cooking in a while? I'm getting way too excited over all this. Ha!

Rachel said...

Parmesan looks fabulous. If you ever want some gluten-free tips, I'm happy to supply.

Brooke said...

That looks seriously good. I am so off the clean food it's almost embarrassing. Maybe after Christmas I'll hop back on the wagon.