Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Two Vegetarian Crowd Pleasers

With Hurricane Sandy behind us, and power restored (for some), I thought that some of you would actually like to make and serve something that doesn't come out of a can!  I have had some requests for some vegetarian options, and these are two of my favorite recipes.  The first, is a main dish that my family loves.  The second, is a side dish that my dad made for Thanksgiving last year.  Why not try it at your next family get together?

Roasted Eggplant Rolls

from Chef Matthew Franklin
Prevention Magazine

2 tb olive oil

1 eggplant (1.5 lb), peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/4" thick.  
1/2 c chopped onion
***16oz diced tomatoes ***see note at bottom
1 cup reduced fat ricotta (don't use fat doesn't taste that good!)
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
1 tb dried basil
1 tb dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup tomato sauce

***I like to use tomatoes that come in glass or a tetra-pak.  Tomatoes are very acidic and can absorb the toxins in a standard can.  Cento and Pomi make great brands of diced tomatoes and you can find them in most grocery stores.  

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Brush 1 tb of the olive oil onto the eggplant and roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

2.  Saute the onion in the remaining 1 tb of olive oil until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes (with juice), and simmer for 15 minutes.  

3.  In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, basil, oregano, garlic, nutmeg, and black pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.  Spoon the cheese mixture on each slice of the eggplant, and roll up like a jelly roll.  Place the eggplant in the dish and continue until all of the eggplant is used.  

5.  Top with tomato sauce and bake for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Apricots and Bourbon

~from Karen Christie and modified by my dad, Richard Wylie :)

This is a great alternative to the standard sweet potato casseroles that we see during the holidays.  This dish has much less sugar and fat, but still tastes amazing!  

1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
3 pounds red garnet or jewel sweet potatoes (or yams)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

1.  In a small bowl, pour bourbon over dried apricots.

2. Scrub the sweet potatoes and pierce in several places with a fork.  Place potatoes on an oven rack and bake at 350, until potatoes are soft when pierced (about 1.5 hours).  Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 min.

3.  Peel the sweet potatoes and place into a large bowl.  Add brown sugar, butter, and vanilla to the bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until the mixture is only slightly chunky.  Stir in the apricots and bourbon.  Spoon into a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish and spread level.

4.  Bake, uncovered, until hot in the center, about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.