Monday, January 23, 2012

45 Minute Sunday Dinner

After making this, you're going to need an easy button, because you can practically make these recipes while half asleep.  I'm saying this because yesterday I was feeling blah and didn't really get off the couch all that much... to those of you who know me well, you know this is not my style, I usually have a much more difficult time sitting still!   But after watching a disappointing playoff loss by the Ravens, my real self came alive, I peeled myself off the couch and soon found myself in the kitchen trying to decide what to make.

I teach a cooking class at work and wanted to test out a recipe for roasted eggplant rolls- I also had a ton of spinach that I needed to use up, so I made a quick pasta to go with my yummy eggplants.  Italiano it is!  Also, in addition to all my spinach, I had a nice bunch of basil that stayed fresh and green in this cool little doodad my Aunt Marcia gave me...
It's a fresh herb keeper by Progressive, and it kept my basil nice and vibrant for my eggplant rolls.   If you decide to make both of these recipes together, get the eggplant rolls started first and then work on the pasta while the cheese in those little morsels gets all hot, bubbly and tasty in the oven!

Roasted Eggplant Rolls
2 Medium eggplants
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
1Tb dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 jar marinara

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Cut the eggplant lengthwise in 1/4 inch thick slices and lay evenly on the baking sheet (I actually had to use 2 baking sheets to get all the eggplant on there).  Spray the tops of the eggplant evenly with non-stick spray.  Roast in the oven until tender and bendable, abot 8-10 minutes.  Then remove from oven and let cool slightly.

While eggplant is roasting, make the filling.  Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, oregano, garlic powder and black pepper.  Stir in the spinach and basil.  Coat a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.  When eggplant is cool enough to handle, place about 2 Tb filling on one end.  Roll filled end in tightly and place with folded end down in baking dish.  When all eggplant rolls are in the dish, pour the marinara sauce over top.  Bake in 375 degree oven until cheese is hot and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
Now while the eggplant is cooking, you can make the pasta!

Spinach and Tomato Penne with Goat Cheese
 1/2 box whole wheat penne pasta
3 Tb olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
A lot of fresh spinach (a 6-7oz bag, minus the amount used for eggplant rolls)
2 oz goat cheese

Prepare pasta per instructions on the box.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over low heat.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Stir often, taking care not to burn garlic, and cook about 3-4 minutes or until garlic is tender.  Add tomatoes and pepper- cook until skin of tomatoes start to crinkle, about 3 more minutes.  Add the spinach- it will look like a lot, but it will cook down significantly!  Cook until spinach just starts to wilt and turn heat off- the spinach will continue cooking after adding hot pasta. 
When pasta is done, drain and pour hot pasta on top of spinach.  Crumple goat cheese on top and stir to combine.  Give everything a hit of grated parmesan and go get it!  Nom nom nom...

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