Tag Archives: marinara sauce

Baked Eggplant Italiano

This is my  version of a healthier eggplant parmigiana dish. Yes it can be done! I did not use any breadcrumbs and I didn’t fry the eggplant. That is where most of the fat and calories come from. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old-fashioned breaded and fried version of this dish but I just can’t have the extra fat and calories anymore. Plus it takes forever to fry it all! Next in line with the fat is the cheese used. I used a shredded, reduced fat 4 cheese Italian mix. It has reduced fat mozzarella, smoked provolone, Asiago and Romano cheese. It’s made with 2% milk so it has 33% less fat and 10% fewer calories than the full fat version. I broiled the slices of eggplant on a cookie sheet under the broiler and only sprayed them with olive oil cooking spray. The dish came out great. It is very filling even without all the extra bread crumbs! I really enjoy eggplant and this time I remembered to make it pretty soon after I bought it. I have a tendency to buy it and forget it’s in the refrigerator for days. Then when I go to use it, it’s all brown and spotty inside. Yuck! So this time I bought it and cooked it the next day! Remember when buying an eggplant the top crown should be green and not brown. Brown is bad, means it’s been there a while and not fresh. By the way, the leftovers are just as good as the first time too! (I started to cut the eggplant before I remembered to take a picture)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large eggplant

olive oil cooking spray

marinara or your choice of pasta sauce

Parmesan cheese, grated

garlic powder

2 cups reduced fat shredded Italian cheese of choice (Sargento’s 4 Italian Cheese is great)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Peel eggplant. Slice it lengthwise or if you prefer, round. For this recipe I sliced it lengthwise.

2. Set your oven to broil and place the rack about 4 inches under the broiler. Spray 1-2 cookie sheets with the cooking spray.

3. Place eggplant in a single layer onto cookie sheets. Spray tops of eggplant with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic powder. Broil eggplant 4-5 minutes on each side. When you flip the eggplant spray again with cooking spray. Keep an eye on the slices as they can easily burn. They should be lightly browned on the edges and soft. Do this until all eggplant is broiled. After eggplant is done, move the rack to the middle and set your oven to 350º.

4. In a square Pyrex or other oven proof baking dish put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Lay eggplant slices on bottom slightly overlapping till you have one layer. It should take about 3 large slices. Next add sauce to top of eggplant and spread a thin layer over it. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and about ¼ cup of the shredded cheese. Place another layer of eggplant, again overlapping slightly. I placed this layer in the other direction to give it more stability. Again apply sauce and cheeses. Continue until you have no eggplant left. Finish with shredded cheese on top.

5. Place the dish into the 350º oven and bake until sauce is bubbling and the cheese is all melted. About 15-20 minutes should do it. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to let the sauce set up. It’s ok if it’s a little runny. Cut and serve!

This dish is great with a nice salad on the side or even a small dish of pasta.

Serves 2-4

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Chicken Penne a la Vodka (minus the vodka)

Yes, Penne a la vodka with no vodka. I was inspired by chef Rocco DiSpirito with this recipe. It was his originally and I made it my own. He didn’t have chicken in his recipe. He uses whole-wheat pasta and I used my favorite Tofu Shirataki Noodles. Usually this recipe is loaded with heavy cream and vodka, making it very high in calories. This tasted just as good and you will never miss the vodka or cream. Honest! It is much lower in fat and since I have added chicken to mine it’s got more protein. I also added a little more marinara sauce than the recipe calls for so mine is a little more red than normal. Also I used 16 ounces (2 packages) of the Shirataki Noodles, next time I will use only 8 ounces (1 package) Mangia!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound boneless chicken breast cut into 1-2″ strips or pieces

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

12 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta (or 1 package Tofu Shirataki Noodles)

2½ cups low-fat, sugar-free marinara sauce (or your favorite light sauce)

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

7.1 ounce container 2% fat Greek-style yogurt (or any container close to that amount)

1 cup chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large saucepan sauté the garlic in the oil. When the garlic is lightly browned add the chicken and cook till browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

2. If using whole wheat pasta  bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, about 9 minutes. If you are using the Shirataki Noodles follow package directions.

3. Meanwhile, in a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat, combine the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until it is reduced and slightly thickened.

4. Remove the marinara from the heat. In a small bowl, stir about ½ cup of the marinara into the Greek yogurt until it is smooth, to temper it, then whisk the yogurt mixture back into the marinara in the sauté pan.

5. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, tossing to coat. (or add the Shirataki noodles) Add the chicken and toss to mix. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

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