Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sandra Lee Smith's Speedbo Eggplant for Simply Saturday!

Good morning and thanks for having me here at my favorite restaurant run by two of my favorite people. 

Well speedbo is coming up and I have a recipe for some brain food. Did you know that eggplant is considered healthy for the brain? And not only is this recipe good brain food, but it can be prepared early and stored for one of those writing days you don't want to stop and fix a meal for the family. Because it has carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables in it, you have a whole meal in one pot.

Way to go for Speedbo!

Eggplant Casserole (modified from recipe found in Cooking With Gourmet Grains by Charlene Martinsen)

1 cup brown rice (3 cups cooked)

1 large eggplant pealed and cubed

1 onion chopped

1 lb ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey)

½ cup dry sherry or dry wine

1 ¾ cup canned tomatoes, drained (14 oz can)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 ½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp MSG or Accent (optional)

Put cubed eggplant in boiling salted water and boil for five minutes.

Brown onion and ground beef.

Add tomatoes and sherry: bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.

Add drained eggplant, cooked rice and all remaining ingredients.

Transfer to a 3 quart buttered casserole dish

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (Or I just heat in microwave)

This can be frozen and heated when you need a prepared meal. (Like during speedbo) In my family there are only the two of us so when I fix this recipe we eat half of it for dinner and then I freeze the other half for a quickie meal later on.

This can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator for company coming and you don't want to be in the kitchen.

This is a great recipe for lent or if you have friends who are vegetarians. Simply leave out the meat. The parmesan is what gives it such wonderful flavor. If your friends are vegan, leave out the parmesan, but I would advise you to add some herbs of choice when you saute the onions to give the casserole some delightful flavor.

Well folks, ramp up your brain power and enjoy your eggplant.


  1. Sandra, so glad you could stop by the cafe and set a spell!!! Hey, I've got coffee ready, a new Kona blend that The Belle found!

    And chocolate velvet because that's one of Sandra's faves. If you'd like a shot of flavor in that coffee, I've got hazelnut, amaretto, chocolate raspberry, chocolate cherry and sweet cream. In Yankee territory it's cold, light snow and the wind died down after knocking out power to a bunch of folks!

    Sandra, I love eggplant! How did you know???

  2. The eggplant casserole sounds great, Sandra. Looks great too! I'm leaving out the MSG, that stuff gives me an ache in my temples. I love the taste of cooking sherry in rice dishes. Know I'll love this!

    Thanks for the coffee, Ruthy!


    1. I love that some cooking gurus LOVE msg and others hate it... and the guy who cracks recipes talks it up, but I've always wondered if that's because you don't bite the hand that feeds you. If the companies you're challenging use it in their foods, why would you talk it down in public, right?

      Janet, glad you like the coffee. As always, free refills at the Yankee Belle Cafe!

    2. MSG is the bane of my life!

      Okay, maybe not the bane, but it does make my life miserable.

      The stuff makes me feel terrible - crampy, restless muscles, plus headache, fuzzy thinking, etc. My life changed when I cut all MSG (and chemical Citric Acid) out of my diet.

      I'm convinced that some people are sensitive to it, and others aren't - just like some people like coffee and others can't stand it. It must be a body chemistry thing...

      I do love the flavor it adds to foods, but it just isn't worth it.

  3. The recipe sounds delicious, Sandra.

    I keep seeing that Kona coffee. You like? Although my Keurig is getting me very annoyed just brewing half cups. I read that I need to turn it over and slap it. LOL.

    Our wind is still howling like crazy. A good day to stay inside and write (or clean, but I'd rather write).

    Happy Saturday everyone.

    1. Hey, if you have continued problems, call them. I know two people who've had theirs replaced for similar reasons. The company gave them no problem.

      See if that helps, Mary.

    2. Oh, and tell them you're a New Yorker.

      That will scare them.

    3. Definitely write, Mary. Who needs to clean?


    4. I like the way you think, Missy.

      DH and I went to B&N this morning so right now it's a tossup between reading and writing. WHY do I have to choose?

      Thanks for the suggestion, Ruthy. I had read about this problem before I bought it so I purposely bought it at Bed Bath & Beyond because they're supposedly good at replacing. It does involve a trek intown though.

      The best online advice I read for solving it was to turn it over and bang it. I think I'll try that first.

  4. Oh, wow!! Perfect timing, Sandra! I have an eggplant in the fridge right now. Was going to do my regular eggplant parmesan. But this is much easier! Thank you for sharing!

    Ruthy, do you know if they make the Sweet Cream creamer in a sugar free version yet? I miss my old standby.

  5. Missy, there isn't that I see... BUT... use real cream (if you're low carb) and an artificial sweetener of choice.

    Then you get the sweetness factor and the silky creamy factor of the cream.

    I love cream in coffee. It's soooo.... good.

    1. I've been using the sugar-free hazelnut and love it. I add Truvia. Love that stuff.

  6. Hi Sandra! I love Eggplant, but haven't found a way to cook it so my boys will eat it. YET!

    I'll have to try your recipe - maybe this will be the key. If not, I'll just freeze the leftovers in single serving containers :)

  7. Jan, maybe piled high with parmesan will make the difference! :) Knowing me, I'll double the cheese.

  8. Yum yum yum, and I love brown rice. Thanks, Sandra!

  9. Just bought some brown rice so I can try this tomorrow. Still have to pick up the eggplant but that's a different store. I'm always looking for something new that my vegetarian daughter will eat so I guess I'll try the meatless version. Thank goodness she's not vegan or I'd really be up a tree trying to feed her.

  10. I've never cooked an eggplant. Guess it's time I give it a try. I've had eggplant recipes at restaurants, just never was adventurous enough to try it on my own. Plus it has a vegetarian option. Yeehaw! Though I wonder if any of my wonderful alternative meat glop would work? Live tvp -- texturized vegetable protein (doesn't that sound delish?). Missy will be happy to know it's made from soybeans...kind of like dehydrated tofu. Yum. But it sucks up all the flavour of whatever it's cooked with and it supplies the same kind of texture as ground beef so it might work.

    1. Kav, I think if you sauteed it with onions and garlic it might actually taste pretty good!

  11. Yikes, I was thinking I was on today. Got my days mixed up. Sure glad you folks like the recipe. Its really yummy and Jan, if you don't tell them, your boys won't even know the eggplant is in there.

    Kav, I think your tofu will be fine but what I would recommend is that you cook it and add it at the last minute. Let us know how it turned out. Might be good to know for those vegetarian friends.

    Ruthy, the coffee is delicious even a day old. Sorry I'm late. But hey, the Yankee Belle is always doing a great job.

    Missy, you may not need to double the parmesan as it is pretty sticky with a cup already, but hey, it might be terrific. Let us know.

  12. Sandra, we play with this one all weekend, so you're never late at the Cafe! Coffee's always on!

    And um, really, you think I'd make you drink day-old???

    AS IF!!!

    Nothing but the freshest Chocolate Velvet for you, my friend! Hey, hand me the Sunday paper, will you? Gotta check the ads!

  13. Oh Ruthy, That fresh coffee really hit the spot. Did you find anything worthwhile in the ads?

    I'd love to find a new outfit to wear to the Desert Dreams conference I'm going to in April. Let me know if any stores are having a sale.

    Hey I met a fellow Christian writer yesterday at CWOW (our local ACFW meeting) C. S. Lakin and she crits with Camy. She flew in from California to speak to our group.

  14. Sandra, we chat all weekend around here. :)

  15. Looks like Sunday is a busy day with family for most. Friends of ours came over and we bicycled along the canals for 14 miles round trip. It was 79 degrees so a toasty ride but fun.

    One thing the bicycle ride revved up my brain power and burned off some of those calories I scarfed down when I made that eggplant casserole last night.

    Thanks again for having me here. Hope you all had a blessed weekend. Hugs.

  16. Sandra, I'm amazed at your stamina for 14 miles!! How fun. :)

  17. Kav, would you believe I've actually bought frozen soy crumbles that resemble beef to use in spaghetti? :) And it wasn't too bad! :)

  18. Sandra, I finally made this last week and LOVED it!! I ate it leftover twice and it was just as good. :)