Unfortunately, I forgot I had pre-dated this post and it, as you can see, published before it was completed.
This is for Mimi, who was looking for the recipe. The pictures will be added next week.
I recently purchased the Complete Cooking for Two cookbook published by America's Test Kitchen and passed the two beginning year cookbooks to my SIL who lives alone.
She was hoping it would give her incentive to start cooking.
While take out is easy, we all know it can be the worst foods a person with medical concerns could eat.
Got me thinking that there must be many people in the same boat, that eating a home cooked meal could make the difference between being healthy and unhealthy. We all see the frozen dinners and the prepared meals available in the big box stores, the deli counters and freezers in all the supermarkets but I have tried them. Unless you can not cook for yourself or have a spouse that can, they are better than take out or even restaurants where the sodium and fat is through the roof.
I am a family of two and have recently discovered that I throw massive amounts of food away and I don't even want to tally the bill but with retirement looming in the next few years I do know that I can not continue in my wasteful ways.
I remember a few years ago I emailed Ina Garten asking if there was a cookbook of the foods she cooks for her and Jeffrey. An assistant was nice enough to respond telling me that Ina feels most of her recipes, usually serving four, can be successful halved for two.
I'm sorry Ina, that isn't always true and a recipe for exactly two servings can not always be halved and taste the same as one serving 4.
So, where am I going with this?
I stumbled on a recipe for Eggplant Meatballs in a Roasted Garlic Caramelized Onion Marinara Sauce that served four, which meant it served 6 because Americans eat way too much food and my doctor says "Americans eat until their plate is clean, Europeans eat until they are no longer hungry". So true.
So realistically, if I halve the recipe I will still have leftover food. Now that The Nudge is taking a jar salad for lunch and I am eating lean deli, there should be no reason for any leftovers.
In the winter I will make one large pot of soup for us both to eat for lunch all week so our dinners have to be scaled down.
Most of my posts going forward will be healthy, whole foods in a dish serving two but I will post both if the original inspiration was a recipe for 4.
Sauces are easy to freeze so only the meatball amount had to be sized down. The recipe posted is for meatballs for 2 with a sauce for 6. I used the leftover sauce for our Friday night pizza.
The concept of meatballs made with roasted eggplant and mushrooms sounded too good to pass up and I bookmarked it for when local eggplants had enough time to grow into large beautiful specimens and the meat inside would be enough to forgo the amount of bread to extend the quantity, so no filler.
Eggplant “Meatballs” in a Garlic Confit Marinara
1 medium eggplant
2 ounces diced fresh mushrooms, divided use (see Garlic Confit Marinara)
1 medium yellow onion, divided use (see Garlic Confit Marinara)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (fresh is best)
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan Reggiano, shredded
2 teaspoons flat-leaf, Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
All-purpose flour, for coating
Vegetable oil, for frying
Garlic Confit Marinara
1/2 of mushroom and onion mixture (from Eggplant “Meatballs” recipe)
1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 t sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick eggplant all over with a fork. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour or until it collapses. When cool, scrape the flesh (only) into a bowl.
- Saute the mushrooms in olive oil. Set aside to cool. Reserve 1/2 for meatballs and the other half for the sauce.
- While the eggplant is cooking, begin your tomato sauce by gently cooking garlic and onions in olive oil, covered in a large pot, stirring occasionally, for one hour or until brown and bubbly. Remove from heat and spoon out one half of the mixture into the bowl containing the eggplant.
- Next, add tomatoes, 1/2 of the chopped mushrooms to the pot; bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Blend until smooth with a hand-held stick blender. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until sauce is thickened. Adjust seasonings.
- To make the meatballs, add remaining mushrooms, breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs and parsley to the eggplant and garlic-onion mixture. On a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper, shape mixture into approximately twenty 1-1/2 inch balls. Dust with flour and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until firm. Fry in 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven until browned all over. Drain on paper towels.
- Ladle the Eggplant “Meatballs” into the sauce and simmer until reheated.
- Before serving, sprinkle with Parmesan Reggiano and chopped parsley. Serve with garlic toast or chunks of Italian bread.