As promised, I offer the recipes I have created for the two improvised meals during week 2 (Jan 10th-16th). Bear in mind that these were created playfully, so treat them more like a guideline than an actual recipe to be adhered to, and be sure to have a little fun making them yours!
2 1/2 – 3 pounds eggplant
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 quart marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 T dried herbs (I used Italian seasoning, but you could use basil and oregano, or any other mix that you enjoy)
10 oz mozzarella, grated
2 oz parmesan, finely grated
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In skillet over medium-low heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add chopped onions and ground beef and sauté until beef is browned and onion is soft. Add mushrooms and sauté until they release their water. Stir in the tablespoon of dried herbs and sauté for a minute until fragrant, then add the marinara sauce. Once it begins to bubble vigorously, turn it down to low and let simmer, uncovered, for around 12 to 15 minutes while you prep the eggplants. Taste and adjust the seasonings before assembling the lasagna.
Slice the eggplant, either crosswise or lengthwise, depending on which you prefer, about 3/8” thick.
Grease a 9” by 12” baking dish with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Layer the eggplant slices to cover the bottom of the dish. Spoon about 1/3 of the sauce over the layer of eggplant. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the mozzarella over the layer of sauce. Add another layer of eggplant slices, followed by another 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Add one final layer of eggplant, top with the remainder of the sauce and then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top, followed by the parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and raise the heat to 375 for another 15 minutes to brown the cheese a little. Let stand 10 minutes after removing from the oven to let it set up a bit.
Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
2 acorn squash, halved with seeds removed
4 oz wild rice
2 shallots, minced
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 small bunch kale, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced (parsley, chives and thyme are good)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub olive oil onto cut surfaces of squash and place, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Check with a fork if the squash in tender. If so, set aside, if not, roast for an additional 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
While squash is roasting, prepare wild rice according to package instructions (it takes around an hour to cook). When rice is finished, fluff with fork and set aside.
In skillet over medium-low heat, sauté shallots in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until they are soft and release their liquid. Add chopped kale and sauté for around 7 or 8 minutes, until it is quite soft. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh minced herbs. Add in the wild rice and mix thoroughly.
Spoon the filling into the squash halves, packing it in a little. You will have some of the stuffing left over. (It makes a great lunch on crusty bread the second day – gluten-free bread, of course!) Sprinkle a few walnuts on top of the stuffed squashes and slide back into the oven for around 7 to 10 minutes to toast the walnuts.
Serve with crusty homemade gluten-free bread, as a side dish with roast chicken, or as a light meal all by itself.
I hope that you enjoy the recipes! Play with them, modify them to your tastes, and then please come back and share your changes and improvements with me; I would love to hear about them!