Eggplant Gratin with Sweet Onions and Feta

1½ lbs. eggplant

¼ – ½ C olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced in half-moons (about 2 cups)

12-16oz. prepared Marinara or Arrabiata (spicy) pasta sauce

6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

¼ C grated Parmesan

Slice the onion into half moons, then heat a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onion slices. Add a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally until browned and caramelized, while you prepare the eggplant.

Rinse and pat dry the eggplant, trim the ends and do not peel. Cut the eggplant in half crosswise, then cut each half into 6 or 8 (1½–inch) wedges.

In a medium sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the eggplant wedges, a few at a time without crowding. Sauté on all three sides until lightly browned, adding small amounts of olive oil as necessary.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Select a baking dish large enough to hold the eggplant wedges in one layer. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with about 1 cup of the pasta sauce – enough to lightly cover the dish. Transfer wedges to the baking dish and line them against each other in two rows. If necessary, pack the wedges tightly to avoid creating a second layer.

Distribute onion slices evenly over the eggplant. Cover with one more cup of sauce, leaving most of the eggplant exposed, but do not completely immerse in sauce. Top with crumbled feta and sprinkle with Parmesan, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes; uncover and bake another 10-20 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.


Chicken Enchilada Casserole

enchiladasWhole-wheat tortillas, lean chicken, black beans, a flavorful sauce and low-fat shredded cheese come together for a healthy, low-calorie casserole that’s going to wow your guests. The enchilada sauce, which comes from the blog Skinnytaste, is what makes this recipe sing. The adobo chilies, available in the International aisle of your supermarket, in the enchilada sauce are a must – they give the whole dish a smoky, addictive flavor that shouts Mexican. You can go heavier on the chilies for more of a kick – this version is mildly spicy. You’ll have enough enchilada sauce to make a second casserole. Adrienne demoed this at Brookside and Us Botanic garden in February 2015 for our “Hearty Casseroles” series. Thanks to Skinnytaste for the basic recipe, with some adaptations by The Cook Sisters.

For the enchilada sauce:
1 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 T chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, pureed chipotle
3 C plain tomato sauce
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 C chicken or vegetable broth
kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the chicken:
1 t olive oil
1 C diced onion
2 large clove garlic, minced
9 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast
½ – 1 whole can black beans, drained and rinsed (15 oz)
1/4 C cilantro
kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1 t dried oregano
1 t chili powder
1/3 C chicken broth
1/2 C plain tomato sauce
8 (7-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas, cut into half-moons
1½ – 2 C enchilada sauce
1 C shredded low fat Mexican cheese
½ C chopped scallions or cilantro for topping

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, black beans, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a 13×9 inch casserole dish, spread about ½ C enchilada sauce; dip six tortilla halves into the enchilada sauce so they are well coated and arrange on top of sauce in casserole dish; spread half the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas; sprinkle with ½ C shredded cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas (you may us only six of the eight tortillas), chicken and cheese. Cover eith aluminum foil and bake in 400 degree over 15 minutes; remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and let the casserole sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with scallions and serve with sour cream.