Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Secret Ingredient Is.....

Cottage Cheese!  Who knew.  I hate the stuff and won't touch it with a 10ft pole.  I had a roommate in college who would eat the stuff by the gallon with pineapple.  Looked and smelled disgusting. I come from a long line of "will not eat anything white" eaters.  I'm very proud to say that this is something that I have not passed on to my kids - except for mayonnaise and plain yogurt.  But come on, that stuff is no good.   My kids don't like cottage cheese either.  Honestly, thought I'm not 100% sure on that because it is the one food that I have never ever bought, brought into the house or given them.  Before today that is!

I make excellent Eggplant Parmesan.  I'm talking world famous, better than what you get in a restaurant Eggplant Parmesan.  Normally I make this twice a year.  Once at Christmas and once to do a trial run before Christmas.  I have been making this for years and my family is a huge fan of this dish.  If word gets out that I did a trial run and didn't let my brother or sister know, I'm in trouble! When I say my family, I mean MY family.  My people - my mom, brother, sisters, old friends etc.  I think my husband and kids can take it or leave it, but I don't think they really appreciate it.  They didn't grown up in an Italian Catholic Jersey Household.  A culture in itself, wouldn't you say!

So anyway, I make this dish.  It is very time consuming and not that healthy. When I make it for Christmas it takes a good part of the day and I make it old-school from scratch, right down to the frying. I've tried putting it together in advance and baking it the day of, but it never tastes the same.  I also know that it isn't the healthiest dish out there.  Which is why I only make it a few times a year!

 While at the beach recently, I picked up a magazine that my mom had laying around (yes, I actually had time to sit and look at a magazine - thanks Mom for watching the kids) and saw a recipe for Vegetable Lasagna.   I was intrigued - the main headline of this recipe was cheap & easy -which I am all about!  Upon further inspection, I realized that the recipe wasn't for lasagna at all, but it was an updated Eggplant Parm recipe.  I made it this evening for dinner and the jury is still out.  My three little ones (6 year old and 4 year old twins) would not touch it.  I'm curious to see what my husband and oldest son think!

I pretty much followed my recipe (sorry - can't share this one!)  but incorporated a few of the healthier aspects from this magazine recipe.  Instead of frying the eggplant, I baked it.  Instead of using a lot of heavy cheese (Ricotta & Mozzarella) and eggs in the filling mixture I used cottage cheese.  I liked it. I really liked it.  Who knew!  The cottage cheese made it much lighter and smoother.  The next time I make baked ziti or lasagna I will be using cottage cheese again!

What are some tricks that you have to lighten up some of your favorite recipes?  Or, are you a "sneaker" do you need to put purees in your food to get your kids to eat more veggies?

Thanks for stopping by & have a great evening!

1 comment:

  1. This dish was not a hit in our house! I have already been threatened to not make this version for Christmas! Have a great weekend!