Trader Joe’s Breaded Eggplant Cutlets

i’d love to cook every meal, every night, from scratch but i’ll be honest – i’m lazy and cheap.  oh sure i get it, spend $50 on groceries but when you break down cost per serving, a meal for two might be less than $4.  that’s not a lot of money, i know! but it’s that initial expense that adds up, especially when i can’t think of other things to make with the same ingredients.  laziness… that’s just me.  sometimes i just want quick and easy!

however, i try to cook something that’s not pre-made at least once or twice a week.  one of the meals i’ve been wanting to make is eggplant parmesan, which i used to make all the time and everyone always loved.  i went to Trader Joe’s to get Raisin Bran, Trader Ohs, and queso.  while there i figured i’d pick up something frozen for din-din.  they have so many things that i love eating!  i put back risotto and polenta before i saw this box of beauty: Eggplant Cutlets!!  yes! they took the time consuming part out of eggplant parmesan!  no peeling, no salt water bathing, no breading, no seasoning, just baking!

so tonights dinner, a real crowd pleaser, was baked Trader Joe’s eggplant cutlets, stacked, covered in leftover vodka spaghetti sauce, and covered with a slice of melty cheddar cheese then served with a side of green peas.  okay, not exactly eggplant parmesan, but fantabulous none-the-less!  and the box was less than $4 and i didn’t even bake it all!  so if you’re looking for something fast, cheap, and tasty then i highly HIGHLY recommend these cutlets.  oh and one more quick note… if you do weight watchers, it has 6 points plus per serving!  not too shabby!

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Fat Tuesday Dinner – Vegetarian Jambalya & Biscuits – February 21, 2012

since i couldn’t go to New Orleans for mardi gras, and i didn’t want to spend my fat tuesday getting fatter on margaritas  in the bar, i decided that tonight i’d cook a dinner for us befitting of the holiday – meatless jambalya and spicy cheese biscuits.  when i was in my early 20’s i worked at an elementary school.  we had pot lucks often and for a couple of these pot lucks, our principal would make and share jambalya.  i fell in love! it was fantastic!  but since then, i haven’t met a jambalya that i’ve enjoyed even close to as much.  since going vegetarian, i’ve had a hard time even finding a jambalya i can eat!  so when i saw this recipe on MeatlessMondays.com i thought “what the hell… why not?”  after all i’m trying to become a better cook, that isn’t going to happen if i’m too intimidated to try anything!  and the recipe looked fast and simple enough with relatively few ingredients compared to other recipes i’d found.

i can say that this was the first jambalaya i’ve actually enjoyed since those pot luck days!  it was flavorful but not over powering, and it got better the longer it sat.  my second helping (yep, good enough for seconds!) was even tastier than the first because the rice had soaked up even more of the juicy tomatoey goodness.  yes these are real words… i’m an english teacher, i can say whatever i want!

so i’m providing the recipe below for both the jambalaya & biscuits and, best part of all, pictures!!

Meatless Jambalaya & Spicy Cheese Biscuits

Meatless Jambalaya – c/o meatlessmondays.com

1 can (28 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes (i used garlic flavored from Target)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup quick cooking brown rice (i used Target brand multi-grain blend 8.8oz packets.  i don’t usually like the taste of most plain brown rices but i didn’t want to sacrafice too much nutrional value.  only 1 g carb more and less 1 g fiber so it seemed like an okay substitute.  nutrition and flavor ftw!)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, or to taste (Tapatio)
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 can (16 ounces) black eyed peas, drained (hard to find *not* flavored with bacon so you may want to consider buying dry and soaking all day)
Chopped parsley or chives, for garnish

Directions: Combine tomatoes, onion, broth, rice, garlic, bay leaves, basil, thyme and hot pepper sauce in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. While rice is cooking, cut green pepper into 1-inch pieces and dice yellow squash. Stir into stew and reduce heat to medium. Stir in black eyed peas, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring once. Remove and discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Bisquick Biscuits 

Spicy Cheesy Biscuits

2 1/4 cup Bisquick mix
2/3 cup 1% milk (use any % you want)
splash in hot sauce (Tapatio) to taste
drop in shredded cheese to taste

Pour all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until dough is formed.  I did not measure either the hot sauce or the cheese since I was just experimenting around.  But I suggest using a lot of both!  Box directions say to knead the dough but it was too messy so I didn’t heh Instead, I used a dinner spoon sprayed with Pam cooking spray to scoop out dough and drop it into a cupcake tin.  You can also use a regular baking sheet, but again there was a directions I didn’t feel like following (cutting out circular shapes) so I used the tins 😀  As you can see, they turned out fantastic!