Dinner: Eggplant Parm w/ Salad

This is a dinner I had whipped together because I had made a boatload of breaded eggplant cutlets (see here) and homemade meat sauce (see here). Wanting something different (even though it’s using the same ingredients) I opted to make myself a single serving of eggplant parmesan. It looked different because I served it up in a single serve baking dish; it tasted different (due to the cheese) and I opted for a salad on the side instead of pasta.
My entire plate is only 6 points plus values!  My eggplant parm was 6 points plus and the salad with 1 tbsp dressing was 0 points plus. Not bad – it was delicious, filling and it looked more “guilty” than it actually was.
I spooned a tablespoon of sauce into the bottom of the dish, added 1 1/2 slices of eggplant cutlet, some sauce, 2 eggplant slices, topped it with the remaining sauce and sprinkles 1/4cup of fat free mozzarella over the top.  I then popped it into the oven for roughly 10 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese.

Baked Eggplant Cutlets

I had an abundance of fresh eggplants from my uncle’s garden after house sitting for a week, so I decided to make baked eggplant cutlets with them.  I used to fry up my eggplant cutlets, but I find I enjoy them a lot more baking them.  It cuts down on the fat, is non-greasy and you can control how much you want them to crisp up in the oven.  With these, the outside is crisp and the inside is softened and depending on the freshness of your fruit it can be a little sweet.
I started making my eggplant in batches and continued until I had a whole tray worth out.  I ended up making another batch with a small eggplant a few days later just to use up all the eggplants I had.
Serving sizes will ultimately vary depending on how thin or thick you cut your eggplants. I was able to get 3 eggplant cutlets (breaded) per serving – 4 servings per batch.  By the time I was done making my eggplants, I was able to make 3 batches of this – simply adding in the ingredients into each bowl 3 separate times until all eggplants were dipped.  Of course as I got to the smaller eggplants, I was able to have more slices per serving.
Serves 4. 3 Cutlets per serving. 2 Points Plus Values.
          1/3 cup fat free egg substitute
          ½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, seasoned
          1 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
          Pinch of Salt
          1 tsp black pepper
          1 tsp garlic powder
          2 tsp oregano
          1 small-medium eggplant
          Baking spray (like Pam)
In a medium bowl combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano.  Stir until mixture is well combined.
Place egg beaters in a bowl.
Wash eggplant then slice to desired thickness.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Dip eggplant slice into egg mixture, drop egg dipped eggplant into breadcrumbs and coat. Place coated eggplant on baking sheet.  Repeat until no more egg and breadcrumb mixture is available.
Spray the top of the eggplants on the baking sheet, then place into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip each eggplant then return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
Let the eggplants cool for roughly 5-10 minutes before serving.

Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata is a dish my aunt actually introduced me to. She’d make this for parties at her house and it is totally delicious. I enjoyed it so much she gave me the recipe.  I decided to whip this up (actually, I tripled the batch – which wasn’t the original plan but I peeled two eggplants which gave me 9 cups of eggplant) to bring it to my aunts party as an appetizer dish to put out on the tables.
The tedious task sits in cutting up all the vegetables, but once that’s done its smooth sailing. It comes together quickly, simmers for a short period of time and can be eaten either hot or cold. The caponata does taste so much better after it’s had a chance to marinate in the fridge 1-2 days.  I would say, I’d eat the caponata over pasta while it’s hot, but then after its cold I prefer it with crackers.
Serves 15. ~ 1/4 cup serving. 2 points plus.
          3 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed
          1/3 cup olive oil
          1 medium onion, chopped
          3 cloves garlic, crushed (or you can use minced jar garlic)
          ½ cup chopped green pepper
          2 celery stalks, chopped
          ½ cup black olives, chopped
          1 can tomato paste
          ¼ cup water
          2 tbsp red wine vinegar
          1 tsp oregano
          1 tsp salt
          1 tsp black pepper
          ½ tsp sugar
Place a large pot over medium, high heat.  Add in oil, garlic and onions and sauté until onions are slightly translucent.
Add in eggplant, celery, and green pepper. Stir frequently and cook down until eggplant begins to soften.
Add in olives, sugar, black pepper, salt, oregano, and red wine vinegar.  Mix tomato paste and water together and gently fold into the mixture until all ingredients are well combined.
Lower heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.

Trader Joe’s – Trader Giotto’s – Eggplant Parmesan Towers

I’ve seen this Trader Giotto’s – Eggplant Parmesan Towers refrigerated dish at Trader Joe’s for months on months and I’ve always said “next time” because my meals for the week were rather planned out. I picked this up and decided I’d have lunch with my mother.  The dish serves 2, so sharing is caring, particularly with something you would gladly eat two servings of if it was sitting in the refrigerator.
The box describes the dish as eggplant made with romano, ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese and Marinara sauce.  These particular cutlets are breaded (there is another eggplant dish – frozen at Trader Joe’s that has grilled eggplant in it).  I make homemade eggplant once in a while because it reminds me of my grandmother, but I felt purchasing this not only simplified the process BUT it also eliminated the massive amounts of eggplant that typically stay when I make homemade eggplant.
Heating can be done in either the microwave or the oven, but I decided on the microwave (I was hungry).  It turned out pretty delicious!  Serving size was ½ the tray – 7 ounces.  My mother was equally impressed and she really enjoyed it as did I.  The flavors were perfect all the way through.  A perfect Italian dish that was satisfying and hit that eggplant parmesan craving over the head.
A serving size is 8 points plus, which I felt was justifiable for a cheese filled and sauce and cheese covered, breaded eggplant dish.