WW: Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato Basil Sauce

For dinner tonight, I had a special guest over… my 6 year old nephew. To keep things healthy yet kid friendly, I made something similar to a lasagna (a favorite of my nephew’s) – Eggplant Rollatini. Little did he know that it was completely vegetarian! I served this with a baked bone-in chicken breast, seasoned with italian seasoning. Thankfully it was a hit and he enjoyed it… so did the rest of the family.

*Tip: You could make this in advance and is freezeable too, just like a traditional lasagna!

Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato Basil Sauce
courtesy of Weight Watchers Best Eats cookbook

1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4 inch slices)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange the eggplant on the baking sheet in one layer and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes on each side. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F degrees.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium hat. Add 2 cloves of the garlic and cook, stirring occassionall, until fragrant. about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil; bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 10 minutes.

To make the filling, spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, onion, and remaining 1 garlic clove; cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; allow to cool slightly. Stire in the ricotta, parsley, egg, remaining tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the salt and pepper.

To assemble the rollatini, spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 3 tablespoons of sauce in the dish. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling at one end of each eggplant slice. Beginning at the filled end, roll up the eggplant slices and place, seam side down, ina single layer in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rollatinil sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Bake until heated through completely, about 25 minutes.

Serves 4
Serving size: 2 rollatini
WW Points value: 3 Points
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Coming Out of the Dark: Chocolate Blackout Cake

As I was shopping at my local Whole Food’s Grocery store, I was inspired to bake after coming across their beautiful bakery case. The case was filled with scrumptious looking fruit tarts, fluffy layer cakes, deep chocolate brownies… it was enough for me to hit the kitchen and bake something myself. The question was, what should I bake? Looking at the random ingredients I had on hand and stashed away, it became clear the thing to make was Brooklyn Chocolate Blackout Cake.
I decided to adapt the recipe from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes & Reviews 2008 (pg 62). This chocolate layer cake is unique in that the chocolate pudding filling doubles as frosting and the entire cake is covered in reserved chocolate cake crumbs. Heavenly! Here’s the recipe… enjoy!

Chocolate Blackout Cake
adapted from ATK
serves 10 to 12

Pudding:
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups half & half
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
(I used cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
(I used extra dark cocoa powder)
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE PUDDING
1. Cook the granulated sugar,, chocolate, half & half, milk, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat, whisking occassionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture begins to buble, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and refrigerate, with plastic wrap pressed flush against to surface, until cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

FOR THE CAKE
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8″inch cake pans. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the flour mixture. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth with a spatula.
2. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean, 30 to 35 mintes, rotating the cake pans halfway through baking. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Cool the cakes to room temperature before frosting, at least 1 hour.
TO ASSEMBLE
1. Using a large serrated knife, slice each cake into 2 even layers. Crumble 1 cake layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup of the pudding over the cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup more pudding and the last cake layer. Spread the remaining pudding evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and sides of the cake, pressing lightly to adhere the crumbs. Slice and serve.

WARNING
This cake is extremely dense, creamy and rich. Be sure to have coffee or a glass of cold milk on hand!

Latin Love for Eggplant

After flipping through a new cookbook I received from last night’s Cookbook Swap, I was inspired to give our dinner a Latin twist today. Another task I had at hand was to reintroduce eggplant to my husband. He doesn’t like eggplant but I’ve asked him to give it another try. Apparently he last had eggplant as a child… so tonight I needed to be creative and successful in my attempts.

Combining both latin flavors and eggplant was the mission and here’s what I decided on for dinner – roasted eggplant, tomato & goat cheese quesadillas, accompanied by a tex-mex chopped salad with spicy oven roasted chicken. The verdict? He loved the quesadillas!Here’s my recipe for roasted eggplant, tomato & goat cheese quesadillas:
1 medium eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ripe tomato
olive oil
3 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
3-5 large flour tortillas (10″ size)

Seasonings: 1 teaspoon of each
salt
black pepper
cumin
chili powder
onion powder
garlic powder
paprika
sazon seasoning w/cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and mix.
Cut eggplant in 1/2 inch circles.
Brush slices with olive oil & sprinkle seasoning mix on both sides.
In a saute pan, pan roast eggplant until brown.
Transfer slices to a baking sheet.
After eggplant slices have been browned, add onions and garlic in pan with some olive oil.
Cook until onions are translucent.
Add chopped tomatoes and remaining seasoning left.
Saute until warmed through and place onion tomato mixture over eggplant slices.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Place cooled eggplant/tomato mixture into a bowl.
Cut goat cheese in chunks and place in bowl.
Combine gently with chopped parsley.
Fill tortillas with this filling and begin making the quesadillas.
To make the quesadillas, fill half the tortilla with the filling.
Fold over the tortilla to create a half circle.
You can either grill or pan fry quesadillas until tortilla is warmed through.
Tonight I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
Serve with sour cream and your favorite quesadilla condiments.