Wish Upon A Dish: Baked Eggplant Parmesan ♥ Week One, Day One - EatingWell Meal Plan

February 28, 2014

Baked Eggplant Parmesan ♥ Week One, Day One - EatingWell Meal Plan

I have started a monthly meal plan published by Eating Well magazine. I have dabbled with the thought of trying a few over the years but being OCD propels me to need more control over what dishes I cook, so for many years I did my own monthly menus and corresponding weekly shopping list.

Subscribing to a month of meals, which includes a shopping list, a recipe and a nutritional diet is all the rage lately and there a few good ones specializing in healthy, easy recipes but the few following the Glycemic Index where all TV advertised pre-cooked, freeze-dried and very expensive....yuck!

I recently stumbled here and found a wealth of menu plans just for me. It was time to see if I could discipline myself to follow someone else's recommendations.  It is so hard for me to not mess with a recipe but I promised myself I would only change the ingredients not good for a diabetic.

To make it so everyone could follow, I choose a basic 28-day dinner plan which was already oober healthy.
After reading the dishes, I got the thumbs up from The Nudge.
It was time to go shopping.

If you want to start March 1st and do this together, here is the link for the PDF. They break the meal plan into 4 weeks, with one shopping list for each week and serving suggestions. For instance; Creamy Green Chile Chicken Soup (serve with cheese quesadillas) or Grape Chutney (serve with pork tenderloin and spinach salad).
They include 4 (cook one, freeze one) recipes for those days when cooking from scratch is just not doable.
I love that there is room to customize each week. You can pair any meal with a day that suits your schedule.
Most of the recipes are 10 ingredients or less and all the ingredients can be bought in a basic supermarket.

The first recipe is for a 'cook one, freeze one' Eggplant Parmesan.
I am famous for my version, so it was interesting to see what we would think.
Any Diabetic substitutions will be in parentheses.

Let's get cooking.....

Eggplant Parmesan
Makes: 2 casseroles, 4 servings each (about 3/4 cup)
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 6, cover and freeze (unbaked) for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days. Uncover and bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes.
* 2 eggplants (about 1 pound each), cut into 12 slices
* 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
* 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
* 3/4 cup liquid egg whites or 6 large egg whites
* 2 1/2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat (half crumbs, half quinoa flakes)
* 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Olive oil spray
* 2 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes
* 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
* 4 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
* Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

1. Place 2 layers of paper towels on a baking sheet or cutting board. Place half the eggplant slices on the paper towels. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cover with another double layer of paper towels. Top with the remaining eggplant slices and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Cover with another double layer of paper towels. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Position oven racks in upper and lower positions and place a large baking sheet on each rack to heat; preheat to 425°.
3. Blot the eggplant with more paper towels. Put the flour in one shallow dish, egg whites in another. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning in a third dish. Dip each slice of eggplant in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the egg letting the excess drip off, then press into the breadcrumbs.
4. Remove the heated baking sheets from the oven and add 2 tablespoons oil to each, tilting to coat. Place half the eggplant on each baking sheet, not letting the slices touch. Generously coat the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip over and continue baking until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
5. Combine crushed tomatoes and the remaining 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning in a medium bowl.
6. To assemble: Coat two 8" square baking dishes with cooking spray (I used 1 metal and 1 aluminum for freezing). Spread 1/2 cup of the tomatoes in each prepared baking dish. Make a layer of 6 eggplant slices over the sauce. Spread with 1 cup of tomatoes and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top with the remaining 6 slices of eggplant, a generous 1 cup tomatoes. 1/2 cup mozzarella and 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
7. To serve: Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve garnished with basil if desired. To freeze: let unbaked casserole cool to room temperature. Tightly wrap with heavy-duty foil (or freezer paper) and freeze. (To prevent foil from sticking to the cheese, coat with cooking spray first.)

Per serving: 294 calories; 14g fa t(4g sat, 7g mono); 13mg cholesterol; 33g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 14g protein; 9g fiber; 459mg sodium; 176mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (35% daily value), Calcium (28% dv), Potassium & Iron (20% dv).

Review: Was as good as any I have eaten in a restaurant but it's not mine. Mine is fried in olive oil and is made with homemade sauce. I do love the technique for baking the slices and will use that many times in the future.

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