Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crowd-Pleasing, Cheater-Face Eggplant Parmesan

Serve my loved ones a dinner made from packaged foods? Moi? Despite what may seem a preponderance of podge among my posts (I've been reading The Faerie Queene, and am accordingly all about alliteration; so sue me), I generally cook with whole foods, and most of our meals are quite healthy. It's just that the more extravagant, time-consuming, and/or high concept stuff tends to make it on to the blog, because who really wants to read about a bot of lentils, brown rice, and kale, right?

Well, today I present a recipe so packed with pre-packaged, processed products (damn you, Spenser; I can't stop myself!) that I'd be embarrassed to share if wasn't so extremely popular at my house. Seriously: every time I make this stuff, it disappears within a day or so, which is why I've taken to making such a ginormous quantity. So you can certainly halve the recipe if your home contains fewer people or a less gluttonous population. Then again, it makes amazing leftovers, and who doesn't like to come home and find a ton of food in the refrigerator? Anyway, served with some pesto linguine and a green salad, this casserole ranks high in the "everybody's favorite dinner" category; throw in some garlic bread, and you're well on the way to Happy Tummy Nirvana. And you can always cook that kale tomorrow!

Crowd-Pleasing, Cheater-Face Eggplant Parmesan
~ 4 packages frozen, breaded eggplant slices, baked in the oven according to directions
~ 1 quart marinara sauce
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1/2 cup finely diced onion
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, basil, oregano
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 2 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella (I use Daiya or Teese)
~ 1/2 cup vegan parmesan, divided

~ Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and coat a large casserole with cooking spray.
~ Pour a little of the marinara sauce into the bottom of the casserole and spread it around.
~ Layer the eggplants slices in such a way that they are partially overlapping, until the casserole is completely filled.
~ Pour the marinara sauce over the top and set aside.
~ In a large skillet, sauté the onions in the oil over medium heat until very soft but not brown; about 8 minutes.
~ Add the seasonings and the soy milk and cook another minute or two.
~ Stir in the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the parmesan, and cook over low heat for about 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and you have a thick, smooth sauce.
~ Pour over the waiting eggplant and marinara, and smooth ever so carefully with a spatula.
~ Sprinkle the top with a little oregano and the remaining parmesan, and bake uncovered at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown (not too brown!) and bubbling.
~ Allow to rest about 15 minutes before slicing.

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