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The lighter side of Rollatini

My husband and I love Italian food. As a matter of fact, my husband would eat Italian every night if you would let him. So I struggle at times to figure out how to satisfy our Italian cravings while still keeping it on the healthful side. Instead of being heavy on pasta I try to think of lighter ways to incorporate the flavors of Italian cooking. That way we can have the comfort of the food, but without the guilt.

After spending some time catching up on the past two months worth of cooking magazines that I hadn’t gotten around to, I had a spark of inspiration. I’ll be honest, I am still a bit green when it comes to designing my own recipes. I get a tad anxious in the kitchen when I don’t have the safety net of a tried and true recipe. I am learning to experiment though and I am getting more comfortable with it each time. My biggest motivation to do this is the fact that I want to make more healthful dishes, but I don’t want them to be bland and I want to base them off of the more indulgent flavors we love so much. So I took a stab at it and below is what I got. A tasteful and healthful combination of eggplant, chicken, green beans, sun-dried tomatoes and homemade San Marzano marinara (I’ll get that recipe to you soon); along with the flavors of Italian spices and a bit of indulgence with Italian cheese.

rollatini-cropped

Eggplant and Chicken Rollatini

1 medium eggplant
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
garlic powder
Italian seasoning
about 25 fresh green beans
2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons water
5 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped (dry or packed in oil)
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
12 thin slices of mozzarella cheese

Slice the eggplant thin, cutting length-wise (you should get about 12 slices). Soak the eggplant in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry.

If you are using dry sun-dried tomatoes, place the halves in hot water and let soak until ready for use (about 20 minutes).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and heat your grill to medium-high heat.

Using an oil sprayer, spray each piece of eggplant on both sides, as well as season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Take chicken breasts and season both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Place chicken on grill and cook about 6 minutes on each side. In the meantime, place the eggplant on the grill as well and cook about 3-minutes on each side.

Heat a small pan, sprayed with olive oil, over medium-low heat. Add the green beans, garlic, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper. Saute (continuing on medium-low) about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover and increase heat to medium-high; let steam for an additional 2-3 minutes. When tender, remove from heat.

Assembly:

Cut each chicken breast into thin slices. Take a piece of eggplant and lay it flat, place two chicken slices on the bottom end, top with two green beans. Then place a couple of pieces of sun-dried tomato over the chicken and green beans. Carefully roll the ingredients into the eggplant and place in a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Continue assembling and lining in the dish until all of the eggplant, chicken and green beans are used.

Spoon the marina sauce over the rolled eggplant. Place a slice of mozzarella over the top of each roll. Place in the oven and bake 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.

*I served this with a small side of whole wheat pasta tossed with garlic and a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

Servings: about 3

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Kicked Up Green Beans

I’ll be honest; I am not a huge fan of many vegetables. I mean I don’t mind them and I will eat most of them, enjoying some more than others, but if I were forced to not eat a good number of veggies I would have no problem with that. Greg on the other hand will eat almost any vegetable you put in front of him.

Knowing that it is a must for me to include lots of veggies in my diet, I take my so-so relationship with vegetables and try to find ways to spruce them up so I will enjoy them more. Green beans are a vegetable that I like for the most part and I love onions, so when I saw this recipe I figured it would be a great combination for my vegetable picky taste buds. It is a simple recipe but just gives that extra something. It is also a great side dish for gatherings; we have served it twice for family get-togethers and everyone loves it.

green-beans

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

courtesy of Cooking Light

2 tbs. olive oil, divided
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt, divided
2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pat onions dry with paper towels; add to pan. Increase heat to medium-high; sauté onions 5 minutes. Add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sauté 15 minutes or until onions are tender and golden brown. Spoon into a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add beans; sauté 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated.

If you like a little heat, add crushed red pepper to taste towards the end.

Yields: 10 servings

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 89
Total Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 249 mg
Carbohydrates: 15.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.6 g
Protein: 2.5 g
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