I know what you're thinking....everyone under the sun begins a new "diet" when the new year roles around, so this one won't be any different. First of all, I am happy to say: this is NOT a diet. Instead, it's a way of life....not only for better health, but for better financial help as well. As time marches on, my budget is not growing. So I decided to try this program I found through Dave Ramsey. Yes, Dave. The guy who tells you to sell your new car and cut up all your credit cards. His suggestion for the budget weary who is sick and tired of eating the same old junk is eMeals. And since Dave is not one to throw money around, I decided to sign up. Yes, there is a small fee.....a very small fee. One that fits even my screaming tight budget. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can find it at: www.emeals.com
Now on to my story about my first eMeal. I have never eaten eggplant. No, I did not just crawl out from under a rock. I am the product of a mother who has never had any interest in trying new things and just sticks with the basics. And I mean real basic. Think turkey, rice, potatoes and a veggie. That's about the size of it. So now, as an adult myself, I have always struggled with menu planning and/or trying new foods. All that is going to change this year and I'm dragging mom with me through this wonderful new adventure! Tonight the meal called for Beef and Eggplant casserole. I began with great trepidation, but soon learned that my fears were unfounded, as I whipped up quite the tasty meal.
I was quite proud of myself as I gathered the ingredients and began browning the meat. The unfamiliar eggplant was still on the other kitchen counter, as I sat stirring at the stove, so I was doing OK at this point. As I mixed the tomato sauce with the meat, things were starting to smell familiar. I stalled as long as I could over the simple act of browning the beef until I gathered up the courage to tackle the infamous eggplant that was awaiting me on the other side of the kitchen.
I peeled the purple giants and sliced them lengthwise like the recipe called for. Then I dipped them in egg and coated them with the panko crumbs. So far, so good. The baking took some time, so I prepped the rest of the meal during the extra time. Soon, things were smelling really good in the kitchen and I became excited at this new adventure.
After the initial baking, I had to layer the eggplant and meat mixture and return it to the oven for a short heating and melting of the yummy cheese. My pita halves were now brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic powder and a were awaiting their time under the broiler.
When all was said and done, this is the plate that was dished up. I eat off of a salad plate in order to keep my portions under some kind of control, but I couldn't help myself and had to partake of two pieces of the crispy pita bread. The whole dinner turned out great and mom even had seconds! That, in and of itself, is a miracle. Mom is a very tiny English woman with nary an appetite. So to get her to take seconds was a sign unto me that this adventure was worth taking. Stay tuned for more great recipe adventures as I take my elderly mother on a culinary trip she won't forget!