Welcome to 5 Days of Oven-Free Meals!
With this year being the hottest ever recorded in the United States, many people have turned to eating out for dinner instead of cranking up the oven and raising the temperature in the house. This week, I plan to share 5 budget-friendly meals you can quickly prepare without using your oven.
Eggplant Marinara Recipe
Today, I am cooking on the stove top and using eggplant and tomatoes which I picked up at the local produce stand, marked for quick sale. Can you see those prices?
2 eggplants = $0.59
6 tomatoes = $0.99
TIPS: 1) If you want to snatch produce at these prices, get to the produce stand when they open. Deals like this are picked up quickly. 2) If you are thinking that something must have been wrong with these vegetables because of their price, let me assure you that every piece was completely edible.
Substituting Eggplant for Meat
While I am blessed with a husband who will eat almost anything I put in front of him, he does enjoy meat with each meal, but our budget is too tight for that. So, I learned quickly that eggplant absorbs other flavors easily and I use broth or bullion to put this vegetable in a disguise.
1. Peel and cube the eggplant. Smash two beef bullion cubes.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and the eggplant. Sprinkle it with the bullion. Cook until softened.
3. Chop 6 to 8 tomatoes and add them to the pot.
4. Stir in 2 teaspoons of honey and other seasonings.
5. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes start to fall apart and liquefy, about 15 minutes.
6. Using an immersion hand blender, puree the marinara to the consistency you prefer. If the sauce appears to thick, you can add one cup of the water you used to cook your pasta. Allow it to simmer slightly and serve with pasta.
TIP: If you do not own an immersion hand blender, you can puree the marinara in a regular blender or food processor but be careful. The mixture is HOT.
Because my boys love meatballs, I tossed in enough for each to have two but this is completely optional.
This recipe is also easy to double, reheats well, and would be a great addition to your freezer cooking rotation.
Total Cost: $2.75, including spaghetti but not meatballs
Hop around! Visit all the iHomeschool Network bloggers participating in the 5 Days series, and if you are a blogger who homeschools, be sure to check out BEECH Retreat, a conference especially for Christian homeschooling bloggers.
- 1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
- 6-8 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 2 beef bullion cubes, smashed
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized stock pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and eggplant. Sprinkle with bullion and toss well. Cook until the eggplant has softened.
Add chopped tomatoes to the eggplant as well as seasonings. Cover and cook until the tomatoes liquefy.
Using an immersion blender, puree the marinara to the consistency you prefer. Add pasta stock (water used to cook pasta) if needed. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve.