Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan

So, I started watching the TV show Bones again.

29 May 056

I stopped watching Bones about a year ago, maybe more, when I just sort of got tired of the whole “Are they or aren’t they going to get together” question. And then I was introduced to the TV show Castle, and the love story there was just too good to resist, so it became my new show. Unfortunately, I’m all caught up on Castle, and I just finished watching Season 1 of Downton Abbey, which I LOVED (where have I been?!), but Netflix only has Season 1 and so I’m stuck without a TV show to watch. I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, but seriously? That’s too much drama, even for me, and I found myself practically suffering anxiety attacks from watching it. I mean, Lexie and McSteamy?! Really?! Why???

Yes, I am living about three years behind the rest of the world. Forgive me.

So anyway, I was trying to figure out what TV show to watch tonight, since I had some free time on my hands and The Man is working, and I came across Bones. True, I’m about two seasons behind, but hey, it gives me something to do, right? Of course right!

What’s that got to do with eggplant, you ask? Well, nothing, really.

29 May 042

When I first set out to make this dish, I started with an idea in mind that was more like…meatloaf stuffed inside a hollowed out eggplant shell. And then, halfway through the cooking, I decided I was in the mood for rich, hearty tomato sauce, and turned it into a sort-of eggplant parmesan instead.

Kind of like I wanted to watch Season 2 of Downton Abbey but Netflix didn’t have it, so I settled for Bones?

Yeah, let’s go with it.

29 May 052

For me, this dish just screams comfort food. I don’t know why I equate tomato sauce based dishes with comfort food, when I really don’t care too much for spaghetti, but it is what it is. Maybe because it’s rich and hearty? Or maybe I’m just making it up, who knows. But anyway, although this faux eggplant parmesan would be more suited for a cold winter’s night when you need something to stick to your bones, it is exactly what I wanted today. When it hit 97 degrees outside.

29 May 016

I spent three years in the Middle East, you’d think I’d be used to this, but nope!

Anyway, back to the eggplant. Aside from roasting the eggplant soft enough to scoop out the insides, it was a pretty easy meal. Just takes some patience while you wait for it to bake to a golden perfection. I took the scooped out eggplant “meat” and sauteed it with garlic, onion, zucchini, ground turkey, and some lovely tomato basil sauce and voila! Stuffed eggplant parmesan!

Happiness.

29 May 045

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: (serves two)

1 medium-large eggplant

1/2 lb ground turkey (or beef or pork)

1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced zucchini

2 gloves minced garlic

1-2 cups fresh tomato sauce (more or less depending on your preference)

shredded cheese (I used grass fed cheddar)

salt and pepper

olive oil

WHAT TO DO:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice eggplant in half, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, and place in baking dish, cut side up. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until eggplant gives easily when you try to cut the insides out. This may take longer than you think. Once you’ve cut out the insides of the eggplant, chop into bite sized pieces and saute with garlic, onions, and zucchini until all vegetables are tender. Set aside. In the same skillet, brown turkey meat. Add vegetables and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Fill eggplant shells with the vegetable-turkey-sauce mixture and bake in oven for additional 30-40 minutes or until eggplant shells are soft and easily pierced with fork. Sprinkle with shredded cheese for last 10 minutes of baking, until cheese is beautiful and bubbly.

29 May 061

I highly recommend enjoying this dish with a full bodied red wine.

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