Eggplant Pizza

Hey ya’ll! It is Friday. Wooohooo. This has no meaning to me since I only have class two days a week, which is amazing. It can be a little exhausting because my classes are all in a row on Monday from 3-9, but I can deal with it. Nothing too bad. Plus it allows me to explore the city a bit right now while I still have somewhat of free time apart from reading my books and making notecards. Plus I get to go to Boston next week! I’m so excited. I’m going Thursday-Monday (don’t worry I get back way before class starts)! Today I have an awesome recipe for ya’ll. One of my more recent favorite vegetables has to be eggplant. You can make all kinds of dishes with it. Italian or Asian or really any type of cuisine. I went with a more Italian style of preparation on this dish and made eggplant pizza.

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Eggplant Pizza

1 large eggplant
1/2 c of shredded cheese
1 can of diced tomatoes (edit: 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
1 garlic (or only half – depending on how garlicky you want this)
1/2 c of chopped basil
salt
garlic powder
oregano

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1. Preheat the oven to 375. First you want to slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch slices (maybe a little more, depending on how thick you want the pieces to be).

2. Place them on paper towels and salt both sides. This is to help make the eggplants “sweat” and get the water to start coming out. While this process is occurring, about 30 minutes, you can start the sauce.

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3. Chop up the garlic pieces. Place a small amount of olive oil in a pan and add in the garlic. Start cooking the garlic until you can smell it strongly in the kitchen. Beware, so that you don’t let it brown too much.

4. At this point, you need to start chopping up your basil and getting all of your spices ready.

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5. Once the garlic is cooked enough, you want to add in your cans of diced tomatoes. I made the mistake of only adding one can, but you definitely need to have two cans to cover the amount of eggplant you will have. Then you want to add in some basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Stir well. As the sauce may lose some juice, you may need to add a tbsp or 2 of water every now and again. You want to try to smash the diced tomatoes too as the sauce is cooking.

6. Once the 30 minutes has passed for the eggplant, and the sauce is cooked to your liking, you can place the sauce on top of the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Then proceed to top with cheese and the leftover chopped basil (or you may chop more if you like basil).

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7. Then place in the oven to cook for about 25-30 minutes. Just keep an eye on it, so the eggplant doesn’t turn into complete mush and that the cheese doesn’t brown. You want it to just be melted to perfection so it spreads across the eggplant.

8. ENJOY!

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I know, I know. It looks like a pile of mush. It is not a very visually appealing dish. It is packed with a ton of flavor though and is definitely worth making. The basil gives it such a nice herby taste. The eggplant is soft, but not too cooked. I hate when it becomes actual mush. That is just not a tasty meal to eat when that happens. The sauce had to many flavors packed into it from the garlic, garlic powder, oregano, and basil. Of course you know the cheese is one of my favorite parts. It melted perfectly, for like the first time ever. SUCCESS. Cheese makes anything ten times better. I made so much of this from one eggplant that I had leftovers for three days. Now that is my kind of dish!

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Healthy and delicious. That is definitely my kind of recipe. I have a rule that I only eat out one day a week, which is Saturday for me, so I have been trying to cook all kinds of recipes to keep things creative and so I have delicious things to share with ya’ll on the blog. I am going to have some awesome foodie posts this weekend. I have a dessert recipe planned for tomorrow, I am going out on Saturday to some foodie places, and on Sunday I’m going to this event called Smorgusburg, which is like pure foodie heaven. I’m excited to go wild there. Plus its Yom Kippur starting tonight for all my Jews. I unfortunately won’t be fasting this year, but I believe in always asking for forgiveness for the not so nice things I’ve done this past year. I like that part of the holiday. Starving myself, not so much. Have an awesome weekend ya’ll!

What is your favorite recipe with eggplant?
Do you have a favorite vegetable?

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Sweet Potato Nachos

Hey ya’ll! I have a delicious recipe in store for you. Now that I live in New York City, I’m pretty far away from my delicious Mexican food (although I live in a Dominican neighborhood, so I’m at least getting some Spanish food in my life). I decided that I wanted to make something Mexican inspired in honor of my home. However Mexican food is full of fat, calories, and food items that are not so healthy for you. That gave me the idea to “healthify” one of my favorite dishes: Nachos! I could have made tortilla chips from baking corn tortillas, but that is the easy way out. I ended up making my base or chips from baked sweet potatoes.

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Sweet Potato Nachos

2 small sweet potatoes
1-2 tsp of olive oil
1 pinch of garlic powder
any other spices or seasonings you want to add
Cheese of choice (I used fat free Mexican Blend)

Topping ideas:

Cilantro
Tomatoes
Jalapenos
Onions
Black Beans
Banana Peppers
Chives
Chicken/Beef

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1. Preheat oven to 350. Wash your sweet potatoes and peel them until there is no skin left.

2. Then slice both potatoes in thin round slices.

3. Place in a small container, pour in olive oil, and mix well.

4. Place slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder. If you have added other spices, sprinkle them on at this point.

5. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

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6. Take it out of the oven, but leave the oven on. Then sprinkle on cheese. Depending on personal preference you can either add on the rest of the toppings now or wait until all the cheese is melted. Personally I put the toppings on then put the cheese on top because it made the toppings cheesier (ya’ll know I love cheese). Then place in the oven to monitor until the cheese is melted.

7. Enjoy!

This was the perfect dish. I wish I would have had more things to place on as toppings, but I had forgotten things such as avocado at the supermarket. Next time I will definitely be having black beans and avocado on top of my nachos. It would have been creamy and delicious. Plus including more protein would help you stay fuller. I added Greek yogurt on top of mine instead of sour cream. It was a much better option that putting sour cream on it. Sweet potatoes are a much better option than regular tortilla chips for a variety of reasons. Sweet potatoes are extremely high in vitamin B6, which helps reduce homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been connected to a variety of diseases and has even shown a role in heart attacks, so eating more sweet potatoes is definitely a good move for those that are heart health conscious. Other nutrients that sweet potatoes contain are Vitamin C, Vitamin D, iron, magnesium, and potassium. While that is a long list, one of the most important and well known compounds that sweet potatoes contain is carotenoids. More specifically, sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, which helps with eye function and to boost our immune systems. Besides the many health benefits of sweet potatoes, they are extremely versatile to cook with. Just look at my recipe! You can make sweet potato chips. How awesome is that?!

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I just look at these and it makes my mouth salivate. Thank god I bought 2 lbs of sweet potatoes at Trader Joe’s! But actually I wont be making these anytime soon because I have a ton of different sweet potato recipes for ya’ll coming up sometime soon. I hope everyone had an awesome Sunday! Mine has been extra special since the University of Texas Longhorns won against no. 2 Stanford today in volleyball (not to mention that they also beat number 1 Penn State the day before). Hook em! Ya’ll know how much I love my volleyball. It has been hard not being able to go to the games, especially since they were extremely exciting this weekend. My mom and brother went, so at least they were sending me the scores, videos, and hilarious quotes from the crazy people in the audience!

See ya’ll tomorrow!

What do you like to do with sweet potatoes?
Do you eat other foods with carotenoids and Vitamin A in them?