Eggplant… why eggplant? Real Lasagna, good lasagna is made with freshly rolled pasta, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan (just imagine a hot Italian saying those words, did you get shivers too?) and of course a freshly made sauce of vine ripened tomatoes and seasonings and meats of your choosing. And then your Nonna uses her magical hands to layer all of these precious ingredients into a dish and she places it into the oven and something miraculous is made.
Well, I am not Italian nor am I a Nonna and my home is far from a Tuscan Villa. I am an overweight trucker’s wife who lives on the road and wants to eat delicious food while making it healthy (our whole “low carb” campaign). And to top it all off, I don’t think I’ve ever had eggplant. My husband was super excited when I suggested it and when it finally came time for me to make it, he ended up cooking the whole thing!
After Browning 1 pound of ground turkey breast in the Aroma Cooker, my husband transferred the meat to an aluminum foil pan and added one jar of spaghetti sauce. He placed the pan into the Lunchbox Cooker, plugged it in to the 12V adapter and set aside. He then sliced 1 whole eggplant thinly and added the slices to the Aroma Cooker to cook them slightly and let them get tender before removing them.
Once the Sauce and Eggplant were ready, he began with a layer of meat and sauce followed by a layer of eggplant which he then topped with a layer of shredded Mozzarella. He repeated this twice more and topped with a little grated Parmesan before closing the lid and cooking on the White Rice setting for 40 minutes.
Once the cheese was melted, it was ready to be served. I was still quite apprehensive about the idea of my lasagna containing vegetables over pasta. I do have to say when I saw that gooey melted goodness on the top, my fears subsided just a little. I mean, if I didn’t like the eggplant, I could surely make a meal out of melted cheese, ground turkey and sauce, right?
As my dear wonderful husband handed me this plate I debated on what I would say if I thought it was disgusting. He had just spent all day driving and then made this wonderful dinner and if I spit it out, I’d be a terrible wife. I could feel his eyes watching me as I took the first bite and after chewing and swallowing I wondered why in the hell had I never had eggplant lasagna before?
To me, eggplant has always been one of those vegetables I imagined tasted and needed to be cooked much like a squash and once it was cooked would be mushy and I did not want to have any part of that. This meal totally changed my mind about eggplant! And the thought of all the carbs I did not consume by using a vegetable over pasta made it just a little bit better. My husband pointed out that we did not purchase ricotta and I told him a recipe I had seen did not call for it. The absence of ricotta cheese did not even dawn on me until I went to add up my calories, carbs, fat and protein.
We each took a respective serving and placed the rest into the aluminum foil pan and laid a sheet of foil over it and saved it for dinner the next night. So last night about 30 minutes before we stopped at the truck stop, I placed the pan into the lunchbox cooker and let the lasagna warm for just over 30 minutes and we got to enjoy the dish all over again, and I must say, I think we would make any health conscious Nonna proud!