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Baked eggplant Parmesan is an easy romantic meal to make for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Use a tres leches cake baking kit to add a delicious sweet end to your dinner.
When I was single, I used to dream about the gloriously romantic Valentine’s Days I would celebrate when I was married. Then I got married and had kids – so much for that dream! I’ve come to terms with spending Valentine’s Day at home, but I still try to plan a romantic meal for my husband and I to enjoy after the kids have had a heart shaped pizza for dinner. Because we’re trying to eat healthier this year, I decided to go vegetarian and see if I could convince my husband that baked eggplant Parmesan is as good as his fried chicken Parmesan.
Baked eggplant Parmesan is really easy to make, but there are a few steps involved. Eggplant has a lot of water in it so I prefer to “sweat” it before I cook it. Just slice the eggplant and salt the slices. Let the sit in a strainer for about an hour before cooking.
Dry the sweated eggplant off with a paper towel and then coat with the flour mixture. Place the slices on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly greased. Bake for 40 minutes, turning the eggplant over halfway through.
Now the good part! You will need a tasty marinara sauce for the eggplant Parmesan. I tried Buitoni pasta sauce for the first time and it was delicious in this dish. I found the Buitoni sauce in the deli section at Walmart.
Spread one entire package of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Can you see the chunks of veggies in the sauce? Yum! Lay the slices of eggplant on top of the sauce.
Spread half of the other tub of Buitoni sauce on top of the eggplant slices and then sprinkle with cheese. Bake for about 20 more minutes until the dish is warm and the cheese is melted.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 2 containers Buitoni pasta sauce
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese such as Parmesan and mozzarella
- Sprinkle eggplant slices liberally salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Wipe slices with paper towel to remove most of the moisture.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, garlic powder, oregano and basil. Coat each slice with the flour mixture.
- Bake the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet lightly greased for 40 minutes, turning the slices over midway through cooking. Remove from oven.
- Spread one container of Buitoni pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on top of the sauce. Cover the slices with half of another container of pasta sauce. Cover the sauce with cheese.
- Bake the eggplant Parmesan for 20 minutes or until the dish is heated through and the cheese is melted.
But we can’t just have a main course with our romantic meal – we need dessert! The new Nestle Tres Leches Cake Kit makes for a quick and easy dessert that you can prepare the day before. I decided to make our cake a Tropical Tres Leches. On our honeymoon at Disney World, my husband and I enjoyed a pina colada every night after our day in the park and I wanted to use those flavors in our romantic meal. I used coconut milk instead of the whole milk called for in the directions. I also stirred fresh pineapple in to the cake batter before baking. I used about 1/2 cup but I’d use more next time. The pineapple was delicious in the cake! I topped each slice of cake with a slice of pineapple and a cherry to serve. It was delicious! You can find the Nestle Tres Leches Cake baking kits at Walmart.
- 1 Nestle Tres Leches Baking Kit
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup coconut oil in liquid form
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk in a can
- ½ cup diced fresh pineapple
- Whipped cream and maraschino cherries
- Prepare cake batter according to package directions using coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Once batter is ready, mix in fresh pineapple. Pour batter in to prepared pan and bake according to package directions.
- Mix together the 2 cans of milk in the kit plus 1 cup coconut milk. After removing cake from the oven, allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Follow package directions.
- Serve each slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and maraschino cherry.