Hey Mambo

Italian fare!

The past two evenings I have been in the mood for a little bit of Italy. Okay, so I’ve never been to Italy and I’m sure the food there is unbelievable, but these two meals will do for now. Italian food is my definition of comfort food. Warm, filling dishes, tomato sauces, and, of course, pasta. Mmmm…I’ve almost forgot that it was 0 degrees this morning. Almost……I’m sitting here with an extremely abnormal amount of layers on, so I haven’t forgotten completely.

Anyway, since Old Man Winter won’t leave us alone, I will continue to fill my evenings with comfort food and a warm blanket.

The first meal I have to share with you was more about convenience than putting together an extravagant meal. I don’t usually use a lot of substitute “fake” meats when I cook, but every once in a while they make for a pretty good, and quick, meal. For this meal I chose Trader Joe’s Italian Sausage-less Sausage links. I knew that, paired with some veggies and tomato sauce, this would make for a healthy, balanced meal 🙂

This turned out really well! I would definitely use these again.

Trader Joe's Sausage-less Italian Sausage


Chopped red bell pepper, mushrooms, and broccoli


Saute veggies, add "sausage" and saute, add tomato sauce and cook until done!


Serve it up with a side of pasta or side salad

The second meal consisted of a little more prep work, but not much. I’ve kept dinners Rachael Ray style this week. Prepped, cooked, and on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Eggplant Parmesan with Tri-Color Pasta
Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
dried oregano
dried basil
garlic powder
tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe’s)
Nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese
Pasta of choice (I used Trader Joe’s tri-color pasta, which is awesome)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Spread eggplant slices out on a clean work surface. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and garlic powder.
3. Grill eggplant just until slightly tender and nice grill marks have appeared. If you don’t have an indoor grill or grill pan, you can make this like I did and hit them with the George Foreman.
4. Once grilled, transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Gently spread the tomato sauce over the grilled slices. Top with nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan, or both!
5. Bake for 15-20 mins or until eggplant is tender and cooked through.
6. Meanwhile, get your pasta boiling and cooked. Once done, drain, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic, and nutritional yeast.
7. Remove eggplant from oven and serve with a side of pasta.

This meal was excellent. Most restaurant eggplant parm is fried and unhealthy, but this was simply grilled and baked until golden and delicious. The tri-color pasta from Trader Joe’s is phenomenal. No unhealthy ingredients or color additives. Just wheat, spinach, beets and peppers to create a pasta with amazing texture. I can’t wait to use this in my mac and cheese!
slice the eggplant



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