Baked Eggplant Parmesan and Turkey Meatballs Marinara
This vegetarian and meat lovers meal is sure to please the entire family! And I honestly surprisingly flattered myself with how good this meal was…
START THE EGGPLANT
1 medium globe eggplant cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick rounds,
All purpose flour,
Dry breadcrumbs (Progresso Italian Blend),
Fresh thyme (maybe 3 springs),
Canola oil for frying,
Marinara sauce, warmed (Half a jar of Emeril’s Marina is what I used – but use any brand you like, reserve the rest),
Fresh basil leaves torn into shreds (a hand full),
Shredded mozzarella – 2 cups
Line a large plate with paper towels. Put down a layer of eggplant slices, sprinkle generously with salt; add another layer of paper towels and another layer of eggplant and salt; repeat until you’ve layered and salted all of the eggplant. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Salting the eggplant flesh helps to keep it from soaking up oil, which will contribute to a lighter finished dish.
Put the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate wide shallow bowls. Add thyme and salt to the breadcrumbs. Line your counter with parchment paper OR line a baking sheet with paper towels. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour, dip in the egg, and then coat with the breadcrumbs, pressing down to pat the crumbs onto the eggplant, and arrange on the parchment paper or baking sheet.
Line another baking sheet with fresh paper towels. Pour enough oil into a skillet or frying pan to measure about ½ inch deep and heat over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, add as much eggplant as will fit in a single layer and fry, flipping once until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat frying the remaining eggplant and layering it between sheet of paper towel.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange a layer of eggplant in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with marinara and then cover with basil and mozzarella. Repeat layers if you have more eggplant.
Bake until the cheese melts and browns and the sauce bubbles around the edges (maybe 15-25 minutes). Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve!
While the eggplant is baking, Start The MeatBalls!
Half pound of ground turkey,
3rd of a medium onion cut thin (almost minced),
¼ cup of dry breadcrumbs (Progresso Italian Blend),
Garlic powder – use fresh minced garlic if you have time to do so,
Adobo Seasoning – to taste,
Marinara Sauce (the rest of the jar above),
Fresh basil leaves torn into shreds (a hand full)
Mix the ground turkey, garlic powder, breadcrumbs, onion, adobo, oregano, and black pepper in a bowl until well blended. Empty the pan you just fried the eggplant in, and fill with fresh oil. With a fork, create flat round meatballs and lightly place in the pan one by one. (Thin meatballs fry quicker and make for a better bite). When done, place them on the baking sheet lined with fresh paper towel.
Empty and clean your frying pan again quickly. Place your marina sauce in a skillet and let it warm. Add the basil and meatballs and let simmer until the remainder of the meal is ready.
Pasta & Veg Up with 5 MINUTE SIDES…
Angel Hair Pasta,
Frozen or Fresh Broccoli Florets,
Salt, butter to taste
Boil down some angel hair pasta (takes less than 5 minutes). Drain and set aside.
Steam some broccoli (frozen or fresh) with salt and butter to taste. Set aside.
While setting up the table, feel free to pop inyour favorite brand of Texas Toast to bake up in 5 minutes
Serve, Eat, and Be Merry!
Serves 4 – 6