Category Archives: Lenten Meals

Baked Eggplant Rollatini Appetizers

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well as we start at the beginning of another weekend. Here in the Northeast, it seems we are in for a chilly weekend in the 30’s and possibly snow. Even though it’s Spring, Mother Nature is still unsure.

Of course in the cooler weather, I love to be in the kitchen making a hearty meal, but on Friday, I decided to change that pattern, and Bob and I ordered lunch in from a local restaurant and it was quite filling and delicious.

When dinner rolled around we were still full from lunch and we wanted something that was not a heavy meal, but fast and delicious.

I looked in the refrigerator & cabinets for something quick and we had pasta & fish with lunch so that was out and then I spotted a lonely eggplant in the veggie bin.

I hadn’t used this eggplant because it was a lot smaller and thinner than what I usually buy to make a meal (it was part of an instacart food delivery) and then I had an idea…..

Bob and I Love eggplant rollatini but this eggplant wouldn’t make a complete meal because of the size, but it would make some appetizers and then the dinner idea blossomed…

I had ricotta and mozzarella and I always have homemade tomato sauce in the freezer. I would just use my eggplant rollatini recipe with a few adjustments.

I also had a bunch of fresh spinach that needed to be used so I sauteed the spinach in garlic and oil and added it to the filling. It worked out perfectly.

These mini eggplant rolls would be a great idea for a party platter.

So, I wanted to share my “adjusted” recipe with you. Also, if you increase the number of eggplants and serve it with a small side of pasta or a salad, it could be a complete Lenten meal.

The recipe below is for the appetizers, but if you are interested in a full meal, as I said above, just add additional eggplants and increase some of the ingredients.

I usually bread and fry the eggplant but I decided to make the meal extra easy and skipped that step and baked the eggplant with no breading.

I hope you try it and enjoy it.

Baked Eggplant Rollatini Appetizers

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant (long and thin for the appetizers), sliced lengthwise (¼ inch)

Cooks Note: if you are making the eggplant rollatini for a dinner, then use 2 large eggplants and double the other ingredients.

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated cheese (I used Locatelli Romano)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (1/2 for filling and ½ for topping the eggplant rolls)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 shakes of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp of fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2-3 cups of pasta sauce (homemade is preferred or a no-salt jarred sauce).
  • OPTIONAL: sauteed fresh spinach or frozen spinach, thawed and drained well.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Slice the eggplant lengthwise in ¼ inch slices (they will shrink a little when cooked)

Lay the eggplants on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat (if you don’t have either then use cooking spray or grease the pan lightly with olive oil). Season with black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes

Remove the eggplant slices from the oven and let cool for an additional 10 minutes so you can easily handle the slices. The softer they are the easier they are to roll.

If you are using spinach in your filling, sauté in olive oil and garlic and cool (use a slotted spoon to add this mixture to the filling so you don’t add the olive oil making the filling too watery) or if using frozen spinach, drain the thawed spinach & squeeze dry to remove the water before adding to the filling.

Prepare your filling:

In a large bowl, ADD the ricotta, grated cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, nutmeg, minced garlic, basil, and an egg. Mix well.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish

Once you can handle the eggplant, place a 1 tbsp scoop of the filling on each eggplant slice and then roll the eggplant slices up and place them in the baking dish with the seam side down.

Once completed, add the remaining tomato sauce on top of the eggplant rolls and follow with the remaining mozzarella cheese

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted. If you want additional crispy cheese, broil for 2-3 minutes but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.

I hope you give this recipe a try for a Lenten meal or an appetizer platter at your next get-together or holiday. Enjoy!

**********

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Escarole Stromboli

Hi Everyone,

(Click on photos to ENLARGE and then the back arrow to return to the post).

Well, we are officially in the Lenten season and I know I am trying to find some new menu items for “No Meat” Fridays.

I know we all start out with our list of tried and true no meat meals and then we get stuck trying to think of something different to serve.

I don’t usually have trouble with dinner because it is usually some veggie and bean stew, a soup, a portion of pasta with fresh tomato sauce or a pesto sauce, pasta with a veggie, shrimp, or clams, or simply grilled fish.

It’s the lunch items that are a challenge, especially if you have limited time to prepare a meal and eat.

When I was a child, my mother and grandmother used to make a traditional Neapolitan “Escarole Pie” during Lent which was escarole, kalamata olives, anchovies, roasted pine nuts, raisins, capers, and either shaved pecorino or mozzarella cheese or both.

A top and bottom layered veggie pie in a buttery crust. I know the anchovies frighten some people but the meal does not taste fishy– it’s absolutely delicious.

Well, I decided to take all the ingredients of an escarole pie and make it a stromboli– a little easier in case you want to pack it to go.

So I made pizza dough with “Fleischmann’s instant pizza crust yeast” (truly a lifesaver because of no rising time) or you can get a ball of dough from the grocery store or pizzeria and you are on your way to stromboli.

So here is my recipe and I hope you give it a try. If you don’t care for escarole you can substitute Kale (removing the large stems and only using the leaves) or Spinach – (just make sure you use 3X the amount of spinach because it really wilts to nothing).

Escarole Stromboli

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of escarole (approx. 1 lb. or more), washed WELL and cut in sections.
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • ½ cup of pitted kalamata olives, rough chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained.
  • 1-2 tbsp of capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp of Calabrian chili paste (Optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Locatelli cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 egg beaten with a tsp of water for egg wash for the top of the stromboli
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Sesame seeds for the top of the stromboli (Optional)

For the homemade dough: follow package directions …

  • Pizza crust yeast
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar
  • AP flour
  • Salt
  • Warm water

To clean the escarole

  1. Trim off the root end and discard any discolored leaves. Cut the escarole into 3-4 sections.
  2. Put the escarole in a large bowl with 1 tbsp of baking soda and cold water. Swirl the leaves around.  The dirt will sink to the bottom.
  3. Scoop out the cleaned escarole and into a strainer. Rinse well under cold water and let the escarole sit to drain while you boil water in a large pot.
  4. ADD the escarole to the rapidly boiling water and when it comes to a full boil again, let the escarole cook for 2 minutes
  5. Drain the escarole well and when cool enough to handle, squeeze dry. (This will prevent a soggy stromboli and also prevent splashing when the escarole leaves hit the oil to be sauteed). You can also use a salad spinner.
  6. Rough chop and set aside

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until it starts to turn golden. ADD the garlic & Calabrian chili paste and sauté for 1 more minute.

ADD 1 tbsp tomato paste to the center of the skillet and toast it for 1 minute and then mix the onions, garlic, chili paste, and tomato paste together well.

ADD the escarole and stir to coat with the oil and sauté until the escarole cooks down for about 5 minutes.

ADD the anchovies, pine nuts, capers, and olives and saute for an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally and making sure the anchovies melt into the olive oil. After 5 minutes, remove to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Once cooled, ADD the raisins, grated Locatelli cheese, and mozzarella cheese and mix well….

Prepare your dough…… I used Fleischmann’s instant pizza crust yeast (no rising time). Follow package directions OR purchase dough from the grocery store or pizzeria.

On a lightly floured board, knead the dough into a smooth ball and flatten.

Roll out your pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper the size to fit your sheet pan. ADD a thin layer of breadcrumbs to the dough to absorb any remaining liquid so you don’t have soggy stromboli.

Layout the escarole filling (using a slotted spoon to avoid adding any liquid collected on the bottom of the bowl) across the dough from left to right, leaving some room on the edges.

Slightly fold over the left and ride side toward the center (burrito style) and then bring the long ends over, pinching closed.

Place seam side down and place the stromboli and parchment paper onto the sheet pan. Cut three slits on top of the dough and brush with egg wash.

Now it is ready for the oven. If you are using sesame seeds add them now.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Slightly cool before serving. Can be served at room temperature. Enjoy

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.

I made a new category for Lenten Meals and I will be adding new recipes for the entire season of Lent.

**********************************

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN  DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.