Sometimes you need to call in the forces after a long day at work. A complete meal from scratch is like the day when pigs fly. But your torn, you want to fill your family with nutrition. I believe sometimes homemade meals can be made quicker by sneaking in a few secret shortcuts. My favorite shortcut comes in a jar. It's called modifying jarred pasta sauce. But to be honest, trying to improve bad jarred pasta sauce (i.e. Prego, Ragu, etc.), is not possible — these are just bad to the core. But, my sauce when done...it's bad to the bone. I typically purchase Classico or Trader Joes brands for the base. Marinara Sauce 1 T evoo 1 jar if your favorite pasta sauce 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 small yellow onion, chopped 1/2 t red pepper flakes, if you like a little heat
Step 1: Heat 1 T of evoo. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Add the jar of pasta sauce and heat through, bringing to a simmer, melding the flavors. Step 3: Once heated, the sauce is ready. Easy, quick and wholesome, right? Tofu Ricotta 16 oz. firm tofu 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 T. dried parsley or Italian herbs 1/2 c. chiffonade* basil 1.5 t salt freshly ground pepper
Step 1: Drain the tofu and press dry with paper towels. Crumble tofu in a bowl, using the back of a fork.
Step 2: Incorporate the dried Italian herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash until the consistency of ricotta. Fold in basil. *Chiffonade may make you pause, but you know what it is. It is the basic technique of cutting basil into ribbons. Step 1: Stack your basil leaves. Step 2: Roll the leaves lengthwise. Step 3: Slice thinly and perpendicularly. There you have it folks, chiffonade basil!
Fun Fact:Chiffon is French for little rag referring to the fabric-like strips that result from this technique. Thanks Wikipedia. Eggplant Rollatini 3 medium-sized eggplants sea salt and freshly ground pepper non-stick spray tofu ricotta extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling Marinara sauce
Step 1: Preheat the grill pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Step 2: Cut the two ends off the eggplant. Cut the eggplant lengthwise, into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange eggplant slices onto a few sheets of papertowel. Sprinkle with sea salt to help remove excess moisture and bitterness. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. (At this point make the marinara sauce and tofu ricotta while waiting) Rinse off the salt from the eggplants and pat dry with a towel. Spray hot grill pan with non-stick spray and then grill the eggplant slices until lightly browned on each side and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
Step 3: Place a tablespoon of the tofu ricotta mixture on one end of the eggplant and roll up tightly. Place the eggplant rollatini into a greased 13x9-inch baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining eggplant.
Step 4: Evenly distribute the tomato sauce on top of all the eggplant rollatini. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" —Julia Child