Friday, January 25, 2013

“Eggplant Parmesan” Recipe With Antioxidants & Super Foods

So, here we are into the last week of January! Didn’t this month go by really fast? Most of the country is in an arctic freeze this past week. Snow, wind, and temps in the teens with below zero in many places will continue through this weekend. Whether you are searching for ways to boost your immune system, or recovering from a cold or flu, doctors often recommend healthy lifestyle changes. Prevention and management of symptoms can be helped through the foods that we eat. Experts say a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, can help you ward off infections and help your body heal faster. They call these foods “Super Foods” due to the fact that they contain immune-boosting antioxidants.

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect, and repair cells from damage. Fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections. Where do you find these antioxidants? Well, some foods are higher in antioxidants than others. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin-C, and vitamin-E. You will find them in colorful fruits and vegetables-especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. To get the best benefits of these foods eat them raw or lightly steamed, don’t overcook or boil them.

Beta-carotene include: apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnips, collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Vitamin-C include: berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Vitamin-E include: broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds. 

Other foods that are called “Super Foods” and are rich in antioxidants include: prunes, apples, raisins, all berries, plums, red grapes, alfalfa sprouts, onions, eggplant, and beans.

Vitamins are not the only antioxidants in food. Other antioxidants that may help boost your immunity include: Zinc: found in oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products. Also there is Selenium: which is found in Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, breads, and other grain products.

If you can’t get enough antioxidants in your diet by eating fresh produce, some experts recommend taking a multivitamin that contains minerals, too. But be cautious about taking individual immune supplements to boost immunity. With antioxidants as with most anything, moderation is the key. Getting too much of Vitamins A and E for example are stored in the body and eliminate slowly. Getting too much can be toxic. Remember, if you don’t have good nutrition, get plenty of rest and exercise you are missing key weapons against colds and flu. Hands washed? Yes, Flu shot? Yes, Eating an immunity-boosting diet? Yes!!!!!

My recipe this week is “Eggplant Parmesan”. This recipe is one of my mom’s recipes and it is a total immune-boosting meal. Remember, eggplants are one of the “Super Foods” that have antioxidants included in it. Besides, it is delicious and very tasty. Made with the freshest ingredients and of course Love. As you take a bite of this wonderful dish, your cheese oozes and the eggplant with tomatoes are an awesome combination! What flavor and very satisfying. You would never know that you are eating something that was good for you. Enjoy, Mangia!

Eggplant Parmesan
1 eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup of Canola or Vegetable oil
1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano grated cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups of plain bread crumbs & about 2 tbsp of flour added
4 cups or more of your favorite Marinara sauce

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Place slices in a colander and place a dish underneath the colander to capture liquid that will sweat out of the eggplant. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350° F. Rinse the eggplant in cold water until all salt is removed. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Now dredge eggplant slices in egg and then in breadcrumb/flour mixture. After egg and breading them place one layer of eggplant in the oil and brown each side. When browned place on paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices, using additional oil if necessary. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, evenly spread Marinara sauce on bottom of dish, and then arrange a single layer of eggplant slices on top of sauce. Top the eggplant with some of the mozzarella cheese and grated cheese. Repeat process until all the eggplant and cheese is layered. Pour remaining sauce on top of layers and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino Romano grated cheese or more mozzarella. Bake 30 to 45 minutes in your preheated oven, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Till Next Time…………………….

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this healthy recipe, Dottie! While it’s good to eat food that are rich in antioxidants, you should at least watch the amount that you take. Though it’s not proven yet, you can observe that food that are rich in antioxidants speeds up your pulse rate. But don’t worry, you won’t have a heart ailment, it's a chemical reaction but should still be taken note of.