Monday, August 03, 2015

Clean Grillin'

Today is the first day of my 5 Day Clean Eating Challenge! I can't believe it, but over 100 people have joined the group, and so far we are off to a great start. This dish above is the lip smackin' first dinner, and it's a keeper. Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan, fresh grilled tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. Drooool. I kept the pasta (whole wheat here, but you can do quinoa, garbanzo, rice, whatever) because my kids, heck, most kids, love pasta, and I didn't want to overwhelm anyone with a super strict meal plan the first go-round! Yes, I know pasta is processed, as is cheese, cooked oats, whatever. For this challenge the focus is more about limiting the processed foods and making healthier choices, not banning them entirely, You just have to decide where to draw the line for yourself, and start there! I'd start with this dish. 
It is so good, you won't miss that greasy breaded crust at all, Not one bit.

Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan
4 chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
4 large tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup finely shredded basil
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
WW Pasta of your choice
Fire roasted tomatoes, 1 can
Optional seasonings: dried oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme

Heat up your grill and set oven temperature to 450 degrees. Brush the chicken, eggplant and tomato slices with olive oil and season lightly with cayenne, salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Grill eggplant over moderately high heat, turning once, until softened and lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Grill the tomatoes, turning once, until lightly charred but still intact, about 2 minutes.
Line a large baking dish with parchment paper or grease with a little oil. In the center, arrange half of the eggplant and chicken, overlapping the slices slightly. Top with half of the grilled tomatoes, sprinkle with half the basil and mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese. Bake in the center of the oven for about 10 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Boil pasta while eggplant bakes. Drain and toss with canned tomatoes, garlic, additional seasonings of your choice and reserved basil.

NOTE – Do you have a cast iron pan? If so you can skip the oven! Layer your ingredients in the cast iron pan after grilling and put it back on the grill over low heat. Lower the lid and let bake for about 8-10 minutes. You can even put the pasta and tomato in the bottom of the pan and then layer your ingredients on top!

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