Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

eggplantBake

I love Italian food and I’m a sucker for anything eggplant. The other day, my Swiss cousin said she making millefiore. I asked, “What’s that?” She explained it to me and my mouth just watered. We happened to be texting at midnight (which was about the time she was waking up) so I went to bed hungry. The next day, I ran to the grocery store and bought my ingredients for this tasty dish. I wish I could have eaten this for breakfast, but I waited till dinner before serving. And leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

She doesn’t put the ricotta-spinach layer so I couldn’t really call this millefiore. Instead, the best thing to call this dish is Roasted Eggplant Lasagna. No pasta, no flours, no sugar. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegetarian, and cheesy good! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

RECIPE

  • 2 large eggplant, sliced thinly (about 1/4″)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach (or use fresh spinach, chop first)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 lb of ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2 c of grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
  • 1/2 grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce (I used half a jar of Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil spaghetti sauce.)
  1. Preheat oven at 350*.
  2. Slice eggplant. and lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Salt eggplant and roast in oven till they turn brown. (About 15-20 min.) Set aside.
  3. While you are roasting your eggplant, you can sauté spinach with olive oil, garlic, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Let it cool. Then mix the spinach in with ricotta cheese, parmesan/ricota cheese and egg(s).
  4. Grease the bottom of an 8×8 square.
  5. Layer like a lasagna (eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, etc.
  6. Top with more tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake covered in foil for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
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Cheesy Quinoa Salad

cheesyquinoaA few months ago, I went to an upscale deli and had this beautiful quinoa salad that was so delicious and flavorful. I didn’t know how to reciprocate it since I didn’t know all the ingredients used. But I decided to get creative and try to achieve something close. I call it Cheesy Quinoa Salad because, well, there’s cheese in it. Maybe I should have come up with a different name but, hey, my kids will eat anything that starts with “cheesy.”

This makes for a great gluten-free, vegetarian side dish with dinner or you can eat it by itself for lunch. Filling and tasty!

RECIPE

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of grilled asparagus, zucchini, steamed spinach (or whatever cooked veggies you may have)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (Not the dry pre-grated that comes in a can but the one that comes fresh in a resealable bag or plastic tub. But you can really use any kind of cheese you prefer: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook your quinoa following the directions on the package. I cooked mine in my rice cooker using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.
  2. While that is cooking, grill or steam your vegetables, then rough chop them in to big bite size pieces. I like to see and bite into my veggies.
  3. After the quinoa is cooked, mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and salt & pepper. (You can add red pepper flakes if you want more heat!)
  4. Let the quinoa cool for about an hour, then add the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir.
  6. Add more olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper depending on your taste.
  7. Serve as a side dish at room temp or cold.

Frittata

frittataI’ve never made a Frittata before. I’ve ordered it from restaurants but I always thought it was just a fancy omelet. I didn’t know you stuck the pan in the oven to cook the frittata. Well, one learns something everyday! Once again, I learned something from Frugal Feeding. The great thing about omelets – and now frittatas – is you don’t need a whole lot of “filling” to make your own creation. You could have an assortment of vegetables and herbs, small portions of leftover meats, and a bunch of different cheeses from various recipes, then BAM! You can make a frittata. And people will think you spent HOURS slaving over the stove making a fancy meal. Ha! Another great thing about frittatas (aside from being gluten-free and low-carb) is that it’s perfect for any meal: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner!

RECIPE

  • 4  eggs
  • 1 cup of Parmesan or any kind of shredded cheese
  • an onion, sliced
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced
  • diced leftover roasted chicken
  • 3-4 tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 2 handfuls of spinach, washed
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of  butter
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat over at 350˚F.
  2. Heat the butter with olive oil in an oven-proof pan. Sauté the onions, chicken and mushrooms.
  3. Whisk the eggs and half the cheese together. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  4. Add the tomatoes and spinach to the pan (or whatever ingredients you are using), spreading them evenly. Add the egg mixture and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
  5. After the egg has been cooking for 2-3 minutes, place the pan in the oven and cook it until golden brown on the top.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken

garlic_parm_chixMy kids LOVE Chicken Parmesan but I hate making it because it’s so time consuming and fatty when you have to fry it oil. Then I found this easy Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken on Allrecipes.com. I made some alterations to make it low-carb and gluten-free, and let me tell you, it turned out delicious! Simple to make, great flavor, and still has that great crunch! This has become a family favorite in our weekly dinner rotation. The kids, of course, have it with pasta and spaghetti sauce, but I really enjoy it by itself with some steamed spinach or grilled zucchini.

RECIPE

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a pie plate, mix the olive oil and garlic.
  3. In another pie plate, mix the almond meal, Parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper.
  4. Dip each chicken breast in the oil mixture, then in the almond meal mixture.
  5. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish, and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.
  6. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Browned Butter Scrambled Eggs

scrambled_eggI’ve been following this blog by Frugal Feeding since I started my blog 2 years ago. He’s from the UK and I love his food blog. It’s about being economical with money or food. I was drawn to this recipe for Browned Butter Scrambled Eggs. It’s just scrambled eggs but I’ve never made it with browned butter. Sounded like a fancy low-carb, gluten-free breakfast. So I gave it a try one morning. Wow! What a difference in taste from using olive oil.

RECIPE

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp whole milk or cream
  1. Whisk eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the milk/cream. Do not over whisk. You still want to see small, lumps of yolk.
  3. In a skillet over a high heat, brown the butter. This should take a minute or so.
  4. Pour the egg and leave for 10 seconds. Move it around the pan until most of it is cooked – resist the temptation to mix it all really thoroughly.
  5. Serve over a bed of steamed spinach or a slice of toasted Flax Seed Focaccia Bread.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pesto Chicken

procuitto_chix

My friend Fran posted a picture of her dinner on her Facebook page one night. It looked so good! Everyone was “oohing and ahhing” about it and begged for the recipe. It was for Prosciutto-Wrapped Pesto Chicken. She found it on allrecipes.com. As soon as I read the ingredients and directions, I drove to the store and bought chicken, pesto and prosciutto, and prepped it in 10 minutes. What an amazingly simple dinner to make for the family that’s low-carb (only 2 grams of carbs!), gluten-free, and delicious, too. The kids loved it – especially when I said it was wrapped in “fancy bacon.” This will definitely be added to our dinner menu rotation. Thanks for sharing, Fran! 🙂

RECIPE

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or thighs if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup store-bought basil pesto, divided
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, or more if needed
  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Grease a baking dish.
  2. Spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto per chicken breast over the top of each breast, and wrap each breast in prosciutto slices to cover the entire breast.
  3. Place the wrapped chicken breasts into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink, the juices run clear, and the prosciutto is lightly crisped, about 25-35 minutes, depending on how “meaty” your chicken breasts are.
  5. Serve with guilt-free sides, such as brown rice, steamed spinach or Cauliflower Popcorn.

Breakfast Quiche

HAPPY 2013!!! Are we all still maintaining our weight loss? 🙂 Here’s a recipe that I hope you can all get back on track with.

One morning I met up with some girlfriends at this posh breakfast bistro. They had this delicious breakfast pudding that was too die for! Well, I tried to replicate it but couldn’t. So I ended up with this Breakfast Quiche that’s a pretty close second. It’s gluten-free and low-carb and tastes really good with a side of bacon. Heck! Anything tastes great with a side of bacon! 🙂

RECIPE

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 tbsp of goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of spinach
  • 1/4 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, Italian blend, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven at 375˚F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and cream, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the goat cheese, spinach and garlic, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the cheese mixture with the egg mixture. Set aside.
  5. Grease a 9 in. pie pan. Sprinkle half the cheese on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Pour quiche mixture in the pie pan.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool for a couple minutes before serving.