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Try this vegetarian recipe and you can bid adieu to heavy, greasy, uninspiring eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

1½ cups canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces), divided
2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound)
1½ cups shredded regular or part-skim mozzarella (about 6 ounces)
1 cup sliced rapini (broccoli rabe)
salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes, basil, garlic, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste; set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly the beat egg with the water. In a shallow container, combine the panko bread crumbs, oregano, and ¼ cup of the Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Slice the eggplants into 18 rounds ¼ inch thick. If needed, trim the rounds so the slices fit into the jumbo muffin cups. One at a time, dip the eggplant rounds in the egg mixture, then dredge in the panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place the eggplant on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, about 30 minutes, flipping the slices and rotating the baking sheet after 15 minutes.

To assemble, place a slice of toasted eggplant in each of 6 jumbo muffin cups. Top each with about 1½ tablespoons of the tomato sauce and 1½ tablespoons of the mozzarella. Top with a sprinkle of the rapini. Place another eggplant slice on top and top with about 1½ tablespoons of the tomato sauce and 1½ tablespoons of the mozzarella, and evenly sprinkle the remaining rapini among the cups. Place the remaining eggplant slices on top and evenly top with the remaining tomato sauce, remaining mozzarella, and the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding. Serve garnished with fresh basil.

Serves 6.

 

*Recipe and image courtesy registered dietician Matt Kadey, author of Muffin Tin Chef.*

Cast your line for this weeknight-friendly, fast, gluten-free, and fun twist on tacos. The smoky yogurt sauce and tropical mango flavor take them from OK to oh, yeah!

Fish Tacos

Ingredients

6 (5-inch) corn tortillas
grapeseed or canola oil, as needed
1½ cups shredded cabbage or lettuce
¾ pound tilapia or catfish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
grated zest of 1 lime
1 cup cubed mango (about 1 medium)
1 ripe avocado, cubed
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime, divided
½ cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek style (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce

Preparation

Heat the tortillas one at a time in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until soft and pliable, 15 to 20 seconds per side. Or, stack the tortillas and microwave on high power uncovered until warm and flexible, about 25 seconds. Brush both sides of the warm tortillas with oil. With the bottom of a glass, gently press the tortillas into 6 jumbo muffin cups. Don’t worry if some of the tortilla folds inward.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Divide the cabbage or lettuce among the tortilla cups. Wash the fish with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Slice the fish into 1-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and lime zest. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the fish and toss to coat. Divide the fish among the tortilla cups and bake until the fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, toss together the mango, avocado, cilantro, green onions, juice of ½ lime, and salt to taste. In a second small bowl, stir together the yogurt, chipotle chile, and the remaining lime juice. Serve the fish tacos topped with the mango salsa and a dollop of yogurt sauce.

Serves 6.

*Recipe and image courtesy registered dietician Matt Kadey, author of Muffin Tin Chef.*

Local peaches, egg-soaked bread, and vanilla-spiked creamy Greek yogurt team up in this riff on iconic French toast. They may look difficult to make, but they’re really not. It’s best to use jumbo muffin cups as they are easier to fit the bread into. If desired, stir some maple syrup into the yogurt.

Peach-Stuffed French Toast Bowls with Vanilla-Scented Yogurt

Ingredients

6 slices whole-grain bread
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons low-fat milk (“Mom” prefers organic)
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or other granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 medium peaches, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Gently flatten the bread slices with a rolling pin to about ¼ inch thick. In a flat-bottomed bowl, lightly beat the eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. One at a time, soak the bread slices in the egg mixture for 10 seconds per side, letting the excess drip off. Gently press into 6 jumbo muffin cups, forming a cup shape. Bake until the bread is crisp, about 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss together the peaches, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Heat the peach mixture in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the peaches have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir together the yogurt and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Divide the peach mixture among the French toast cups and top with vanilla yogurt.

Serves 3.

*Recipe and image courtesy registered dietician Matt Kadey, author of Muffin Tin Chef.*

Pureed sweet potato provides these vegetarian party-size brownies with moisture, earthy sweetness, and a fudgelike consistency. Not to mention it makes them a little more guilt-free if you happen to sneak a few extra. Warning —they’re habit forming!

Sweet Potato Brownie Bites

Ingredients

½ pound sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 1 medium)
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 large egg
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅔ cup coconut palm sugar or other granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
⅓ cup cream cheese, at room temperature (“Mom” prefers organic)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs

Preparation

Steam, boil, or roast the sweet potato until very tender, transfer to a large bowl, and mash with the butter.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the egg, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, and ginger, if using, to the potato mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. In a second large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper, if using. Stir the sugar and potato mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until no dry parts are visible. Divide the mixture among 24 mini muffin cups. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out nearly clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before unmolding.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and maple syrup with a whisk or electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread on top of the brownies and sprinkle with cocoa nibs.

Serves 12.

*Recipe and image courtesy registered dietician Matt Kadey, author of Muffin Tin Chef.*