Weekday dinner inspirations: Baked Eggplant With Tomato Sauce and other money-saving dishes
Mon | Fully baked plan
A well-stocked pantry should include many of the ingredients for Baked Eggplant With Tomato Sauce (recipe below) and you can substitute other dried seasonings easily. It will take a few hours to prepare, so consider making it Sunday night and reheating it on Monday.
Tues | Better than canned
Bean With Bacon Soup stretches bacon and uses cans, but not canned soup. In a large saucepan, cook 6 slices of chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and use rendered fat to saute 1 diced yellow onion and 3 to 4 cloves minced garlic for about 5 minutes. Add 3 stalks chopped celery and 3 diced carrots. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cans drained navy (or cannellini) beans, a chicken bouillon cube, 1 small can of tomato paste and 4 to 5 cups water, more if needed. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add bacon and serve.
Wed | Rotisserie chicken
You know how to save money on a rotisserie chicken, which usually costs about $7? Wait until there is a sale or roast a chicken in your oven for less than $5. Serve with yellow rice and beans.
Thurs | Potato bar
Stuffed Baked Potatoes are easy on the wallet. Inexpensive stuffing ideas: canned chili, chopped onions and grated cheddar; steamed broccoli and grated Swiss; leftover rotisserie chicken and alfredo sauce; and canned black beans and salsa.
Fri | Forage for dinner
Scour the freezer for lone pieces of chicken, pork, fish or a solitary sausage, then fire up the barbecue for a Mixed Grill Platter. While you're in there, grab the frozen peas and corn for a pasta salad. Add them to cooked, drained penne, plus anything else you've got on hand that sounds good, such as marinated artichokes, sliced scallions or other fresh veggies or mozzarella. Add the Italian dressing languishing in the fridge door. That's using your resources.
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Baked Eggplant With Tomato Sauce
1 peeled eggplant, cut
into 1/4-inch-thick slices
(about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon black pepper,
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added
tomato sauce, divided use
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces)
shredded part-skim mozza-
rella cheese, divided use
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh
Salt eggplant slices and place in colander on top of a plate. After 30 minutes, rinse eggplant thoroughly and pat down with paper towels.
Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay eggplant out on the sheet. Broil 8 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are a little brown.
Turn off broiler and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish (round if possible) with cooking spray.
In a large nonstick pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic and mushrooms. Cover. Saute 7 or 8 minutes, until soft, lifting cover to stir occasionally. Turn heat up to medium-high. Take cover off. Cook until liquid evaporates.
Pour half of mushroom-onion mixture into baking dish. Place half of the eggplant in a layer on top of that. Sprinkle with pepper. Spread half cup tomato sauce on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers, leaving off the mozzarella at the end. Cover with foil and bake 60 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella and all the Parmesan. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before cutting.
Source: From the blog Cheap Healthy Good (www.cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com)