Friday, November 4, 2011

Easy Weeknight Moussaka

I love moussaka and when eggplant is as cheap as it's been the past few weeks at the farmer's market (50 cents each for very large eggplants!), I'm going to dive in and make this comfort food dish.  It isn't that hard and it lasts quite a while.

2-3 large eggplant, peeled and sliced in thick slices
sea salt
1 lb. ground beef, very low fat content is best
2 large onions, diced
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
16 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dark red wine
8 oz. tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated

Slice the eggplant and coat both sides of each slice in sea salt.  Place in a dish and allow to rest until a good amount of water has accumulated in the bottom of your dish (about a half hour).  Rinse the salt off the eggplant well and towel dry.

In a non-stick skillet add a small amount of olive oil and fry the eggplant slices about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Set aside in a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Brown the hamburger and onion in a skillet.  Drain if necessary.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Allow to simmer for at least 15 minutes.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish (I prefer glass), arrange a layer of eggplant along the bottom.  Cover with 1/2 the beef ragu.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top of that layer.  Add another layer of eggplant, ragu, and cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-50 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mexican-Inspired Vegetable Soup

This is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe.  Believe it or not, if you scour their recipe site, you can find some winners.  This is one I will keep in my arsenal a long time.  I grew up on vegetable soup.  I never liked it.  I think it was the cabbage.  You know, a little cabbage goes a long way.  And when you buy a head of cabbage, unless you are going to make cole slaw with half of it, there isn't much else you can do except put it all in the soup.  Therein, I think, lies the problem I had with vegetable soup as a kid.

Thank goodness, I'm not a kid anymore.

So without further ado, my Mexican-inspired vegetable soup (sans cabbage).  Weight Watchers PointsPlus, 1 per serving.  Serving size about 1 cup.

3-4 bell peppers, pick your color, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, fine diced
28 oz. diced tomatoes, canned
8 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth, low sodium
2 onions, diced
1 medium to large zucchini, diced
1 medium to large yellow squash, diced
3 whole carrots, peeled and sliced in medallions (or about 1 cup baby carrots)
1 cup whole wheat pasta (I prefer elbow macaroni)
3-4 clove garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1/4 t chili powder
3/4 t salt

You can add green beans if you'd like, but I'd avoid the cabbage.

Put it all in a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and cover and simmer until the macaroni is cooked through.  Serve.  Makes a boat load.  Hope you're hungry.  :)

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