Saturday, January 25, 2014

Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

Well Ladies & Gentlemen ... this is what I'd like to call "lazy mom's eggplant parm" because it's so easy and even though it doesn't come out looking as pretty as my mom's traditional oven baked eggplant parm, it tastes just as delicious. Seth loves it... and then he loves it the next day when he brings it to work for lunch. =)

One of the things that usually keeps me from making eggplant parm is that it's so time and labor intensive to prep it and then it has to bake for an hour before it ever gets to the table. Whereas you normally would take your eggplant and dip in egg and breadcrumbs and then fry it up till it's golden brown on both sides (using lots of olive oil)... this version of eggplant parm only requires a dip in egg and VERY quick fry in the tiniest bit of olive oil or nonstick spray. Lighter in calories AND faster.

  • 2 medium sized eggplants, sliced into 1" thick rounds
  • 1 or 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • Approx. 3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Black pepper to taste.
  • Slice your eggplants into about 1" round slices. 
  • Put your beaten eggs onto a small plate. Dip each slice of eggplant in the egg, let the excess drain off and then transfer to a hot skillet. Cook on each side for about 1 minute. Do this process with all the eggplant slices and set aside.
  • Slice your fresh mozzarella into at least 20 slices. Using fresh mozzarella makes this dish SO delicious but if you prefer the packaged stuff in the regular cheese aisle, that would work too. 
  • In a small bowl, combine your breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Mix well. Also add some black pepper to the mixture in whatever amount you feel is right for you. 
  • Now it's time to assemble your eggplant parm in the well of the crockpot. Spread 1 cup of sauce evenly across the bottom. Now layer some eggplant slices, then sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the breadcrumb mixture on top, then add approx. 4 slices of mozzarella cheese and top with 1/2 c. sauce and continue layering all the ingredients in this order. You will end up with 3-5 layers depending on the size of your crockpot. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. 
Cook on low for 3 hours and serve. 

I like to serve this with a homemade Caesar salad on the side. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crockpot Chicken Marrakesh

This is a chicken dinner all-in-one! It's so easy to prepare and makes a delicious warm meal for a cold night. I chose to use chicken breasts because they are lower calorie than boneless, skinless chicken thighs but thighs would work well in this recipe too and turn out more tender than the chicken breasts.

Add vegetables to the well of the crockpot.

Mix well.
Add spices.

Add chicken.
Mix well, cover, and set to low for 6 hours.

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 large yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1/2 t. ground tumeric
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1 t. dried parsley
  • 1 t. salt
  • Add all ingredients into the crockpot, mix well.
  • Set on low for 6 hours. 
  • Serve!
Yields: 10 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
Weight Watchers Points: 5

Friday, January 3, 2014

Yummy Chocolate Cookies


Well, I don't know if I'd call these cookies "healthy" since there's really nothing healthy about them; however, they are pretty darn delicious. And if you only have 1 or 2 at a time, you won't have to feel guilty. Everything in moderation, right? I don't bake very often, so when I do, it's a very exciting day in the Peress household. 

First things first, if you don't already own a Silpat baking mat - STOP reading this blog right now and GO OUT AND BUY ONE. It will change your life. A Silpat baking mat bakes cookies perfectly and it is 100 times better than a nonstick pan. Why, you ask? Because nonstick pans aren't really nonstick. Silpat baking mats ARE.

These chocolate cookies are YUM. Everyone in my office went crazy for them. So I hope you enjoy. 

Roll balls of cookie dough in powdered sugar and place on baking mat.
If your pan is warm, the cookies will start to spread out right away


  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 4 squares of unsweetened baker's chocolate
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, unbeaten
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 c. walnuts (optional)
  • Approx. 1 c. powdered sugar

  • Melt butter and chocolate.
  • In a bowl, combine melted butter and melted chocolate with sugar and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating the mixture after each addition
  • Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add nuts if you're including them. 
  • Allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator for several hours (I let these chill overnight but at least 6-8 hours should be good) 
  • Form the dough into small balls. Roll in powdered sugar. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes each, depending on the strength of your oven. 
Yields: Approximately 6 dozen
Serving: 1 cookie
Weight Watchers Points: 2 points


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Well this chicken pot pie was a hit! Seth's dad came into town for a visit over New Year's and we had this for dinner with a spinach salad on the side and it was deeee-licious.

This recipe is so easy because it uses a variation of my Crockpot Chicken Stew as the filling and puff pastry as the crust.

Here's the secret... make my chicken stew recipe and set aside 4 cups for the chicken pot pie (don't worry, you'll still have plenty to eat for lunches or other meals since the recipe makes 10 cups of stew).



  • Thaw puff pastry according to directions on package
  • Place one sheet in bottom of 8" or 9" square casserole dish and press along the insides walls of the dish
  • Cover with foil (against the dough not just over the dish) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix 4 cups of chicken stew with sour cream (this is your filling) 
  • Pastry should be golden brown when it comes out of the oven, add filling to casserole dish and then create your lattice work top crust
  • Take the 2nd sheet of puff pastry dough and cut it into 10 or 11 even strips. Create a lattice work top. 
  • Brush with egg wash (mix 1 egg with 1 T. water to create an egg wash) 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbling 

Yields: 9 servings
Weight Watchers Points, per serving: 9