Baked Breaded Eggplant and the “Summer 6”
Oh the summer 6….my nemesis. What’s the summer 6 you ask? Well it’s the darn 6 pounds (or depending on the day 7 or 8 ) that I seem to gain every. single. summer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s 6 pounds of good stuff…barbecues, cocktails by the pool, ice cream, snacks…so I can’t really complain. But come August it usually hits me when I realize my clothes are a little bit too tight. Ugh. I hate the summer 6. (But it all tasted so good…)
So what am I going to do? Well since the kids are back in school I’m definitely getting back on a schedule. That is huge for me. I’m also going to focus on making some kick-ass salads and soups over the next couple of weeks. And I’m going to start running again. Yep…for those of you who have started, stopped and started running again you know how that first week or two of running can be…pretty brutal. Those of you who just want to start running in the first place know the feeling too…I know because I have always been that person. I’ve never been a lover of running…I would do it, every now and then, but it was not something I could say I enjoyed. I thought the people who “enjoyed running” were nuts to be honest. But last fall, something came over me and I started running outside…I broke past the 3 mile mark and I actually started to enjoy it. I finally felt the “runner’s high” that everyone talks about and I got hooked. So I ran…and I ended up running a half marathon in December and then a 8 miler race in March. It felt awesome…and I pretty much haven’t run much since. (hint why: it got really really warm outside).
So here I am at the beginning again. And on my run (if that’s what you want to call it…I call it bouncing) this morning I thought of all the little things that got me motivated last year to really start running. I figured I’d share them here in case anyone else is in the same boat as me…maybe we can do this together.
First things first:
1. Music – I need good music. I use my iPod and I make myself a playlist with at least an hour’s worth of music, and when I run, I use the shuffle mode…so it’s always a “surprise”.
2. New Sneakers – After I’m done writing this post I’m on my way to go buy myself some new running sneaks. Mine are feeling a little flat. If you are serious about getting into running my advice is to get yourself into a store that specializes in running, they will talk with you and actually fit you for shoes that will work well with your feet. Once I find a shoe I like I usually stick with it for a while…right now I’m happy with my Asics Duomax GT-2150. Hoping I can find a pair on sale.
3. Gear – I can not run without my Spibelt and a visor. Holding my iPod used to annoy me when I ran. So did sun in my eyes and wearing sunglasses just didn’t work (sweaty face and sunglasses = no). I found an awesome little accessory called a Spibelt and it has made running so much more enjoyable. My iPhone and key fit in perfectly and it’s not bulky at all, it actually stays very close to my body and does not bounce when you run. And the visor is now a must…even on a cloudy day.
4. Foam Roller – A big reason why running and I used to not get along is the the aches and pains that came along with it. My hips and back used to KILL me after I ran. I found out after a trip to a massage therapist (who is also a runner) that my pain all stemmed from my quads. My quads were so tight and full of knots that it would pull on the muscles that connected my hips and lower back. What an eye opener. I was introduced to a foam roller at my gym and I’m not kidding, it changed my life. I use it ALL the time. It’s like a deep tissue massage and I’m not going to lie, it hurts. But it is so necessary to get all those knots out of those leg muscles if you want to avoid back pain and knee injuries. I’ve found some videos on how to use the foam roller…highly recommend it!
Okay…so that’s my two cents on getting back into running for right now. I am starting slow (have never been all that fast really) and I am running and walking when I need to. I know eventually I won’t need to do that every time…and if I do it’s okay. Getting your body moving is all that matters in my opinion.
So let’s talk food now. I have been wanting to share this eggplant recipe FOREVER. But for some reason I haven’t. It seemed too simple, my pictures were never right but for some reason, this is one of those recipes someone is always asking me how to make. I’ll be so happy when I can just share this link instead of writing it all out each time.
I love eggplant. What I usually do with eggplant is bread it, bake it and freeze it. I like to make a big batch at once (because breading stuff is not my favorite thing to do) and having it in the freezer ready to be warmed up comes in so handy. I heat it up in my toaster oven (or regular oven) and add it to pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads and of course use it to make Eggplant Parmesan. This is a rough recipe, meaning it really depends on how much you are making. If you run out of eggs in the breading process, whisk some more…same goes for breadcrumbs. What’s important is the method.
Baked Breaded Eggplant
- 2-3 large Italian eggplant (peeled or unpeeled, up to you)
- 3 eggs, whisked in a large shallow bowl or dish
- 2-3 cups plain breadcrumbs or panko (sometimes I use a little of both)
- a couple of pinches of dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- olive oil spray
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- On your cutting board, cut off both ends of your eggplant. Using a sharp knife carefully slice your eggplant lengthways into 1/2" slices. (Here' a great post for a visual how-to cut an eggplant into slices)
Once my eggplant is sliced up I lay the slices out onto baking racks or pans and sprinkle the slices with kosher or coarse salt. This will pull out the moisture and any bitterness from the eggplant. I let it sit in the salt for about 15-30 minutes.
- While your eggplant is sitting, season your breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, parmesan and Italian seasoning (you can always use store bought Italian seasoned breadcrumbs if you like). Set up an assembly line: sliced eggplant, whisked eggs, shallow dish of seasoned breadcrumbs and lightly greased baking sheets (I spray mine with cooking spray).
- Rinse salt off eggplant and pat dry well with dish towels or paper towels. I like to press down as I'm drying to really pull out all the water. Once eggplant is pressed dry, you are ready to bread.
- Dip your eggplant slice into the egg, removing any excess egg before dipping into breadcrumbs. Press eggplant slice into breadcrumbs on both sides until coated well. Place into baking sheet. Repeat until all slices are breaded.
- At this time, spray each breaded eggplant slice with olive oil spray (or cooking spray).
- Bake in oven heated at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Flip each slice over and bake for another 15 minutes until eggplant slices are golden brown. Keep an eye on your eggplant, if some slices are thinner than others they may brown up quicker.
- To store in freezer: Lay a freezer bag flat on counter and layer cooled baked eggplant slices alongside each other (slightly overlapping) in the bag. I try to find a flat surface in the freezer to store them until they are frozen. Once they are frozen flat they are easier to store.
- To serve from freezer: You can defrost ahead of time if you like, or take straight from freezer and warm up in 350 degree oven or toaster oven.
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Have a great weekend!
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At least it isn’t the summer 16…or 26…or 60! You seem very disciplined, I’m sure it will disappear in no time at all! The eggplant looks so yummy, I definitely don’t cook with eggplant often (for no reason at all), can’t wait to try this.
Love the picture of the kiddos, so cute! I don’t think they could look much happier!
oh goodness…if it was 16, 26 or 60 I would be in trouble…summer is just 2 short months 🙂 Thanks! I love that pic of the kiddos, their first time swimming laps with me this summer, it was a fun afternoon…good memory!
have a great weekend!
Ugh, I hate that summer 6 (or more). With running, that will come off in a flash. I used to be the same way with running, thinking “How could anyone possibly enjoy this?” Then I broke through that barrier and started to run longer distances. What a fantastic feeling!
it’s crazy how the longer you run the more you love it…I always say the first 3 miles are the hardest for me. It’s like a warm up!!
Great pictures! That eggplant looks amazing! Have a great weekend my friend! Miss you
aw, thanks Alison! You too!! I hope we have a chance to see each other soon!
I relate to this post in a number of ways. 1) I thought I was the only one who gained in summer. 🙂 Too much good stuff! 2) Running!! Once you break a certain point, it really is amazing, yes? I remember you told me long ago you didn’t like it, but hey, you stuck with it. You’re an inspiration. 3) I know about these recipes – the simple ones that you keep typing out for people because for one reason or another (for me, it’s usually getting good pictures), you can’t seem to get a post up about it. Thanks for sharing, as always.
oh my gosh, summer is the worst! I just like to lounge and eat! LOL
and yes…I disliked running a lot. 🙂
This is so one of those recipes! It’s one of those method ones…and the pictures never came out. Breading and photography don’t really mix! 🙂
Have a great weekend Melissa! I thought of you the other day when I was out eating Thai…tried something new 🙂 (Panang) Loved!
Mmm Panang. 😀 Glad you enjoyed. You have a great weekend as well, my dear!
I made something similar at the lake this past weekend – except cut into rounds and turned into bruschetta (think eggplant instead of bread). I pan-fried them instead of baking – definitely like your idea better! YUM-o!
I just saw an idea like that recently and really want to try it out! It sounds delicious!
Oh I love this bruschetta idea. 🙂 Mmm….
you are too funny! i am sure you look terrific but running is a healthy idea! Yje photo of the kids is adorable! The eggpalnt looks deliicous. i have only sliced it round before. Love seeing it this way
thanks Maris 🙂 I love it longways like this, my parents sliced like this at their restaurant so I always do it like this too…it’s a habit I think…I see it round more often than long.
Have a great weekend!!
Summer is always a struggle for me to be disciplined. I’m always happy when Sept. rolls around. I had a great run this AM, too, and thought of you 🙂 Now time to hula-hoop! Recipe looks fantastic, girl! 🙂 xo
gotta get me a hula hoop! I’m on a mission!
I have some weight to lose too! But…mine came from that cute little peanut AND delicious summer foods ;). I have been waiting for this recipe- looks SO good!!
oh yes…your extra weight is cute 🙂 Let me know if you try the eggplant! I’ve been eating it with sliced tomatoes and cheese in sandwiches…so good!
Love the recipe! I am a huge eggplant fan. I can’t wait until I can run again. I am still working out, but running is too hard with the baby bump right now:)
Oh I just bought an eggplant for doing just this, looks like a great recipe. And with all that running you do I see your 6 coming right off. I can’t believe you have any extra anyway 🙂
Oh, your eggplant looks marvelous! I just got new running shoes yesterday…so much better on my feet. I rotate from Brooks to Asics~
Glad you have some time for yourself again and are picking up your running. I’m not a runner, but I keep thinking I’ll have to give a try.
You go girl. My summer 6 usually happens during the winter, I totally feel you. Good luck and LOVE the baked eggplant. I just picked some up at the farmers market the other day. Thanks for the idea. Have a great weekend!
I was thinking the other day, I don’t usually gain as much weight over the holidays. I truly believe its because the weather here is so nice in the winter that I’m always active outdoors. In the summer, unless I’m swimming I just hole up and get lazy because its TOO hot. Maybe I should relocate to Park City for the summers 🙂
LOL!! Yes, Aggie…I can relate! I am MUCH more active Nov – May. The summer heat really does drive us to the water or the a/c!
Right there with you! My summer six is trying to make a home right on my butt! UGH! Please keep me motivated with all your great healthy recipes. Although, still kind feels like summer…uh oh!
My summer 6 has spread itself out! Maybe it’s more than 6, but I liked how 6 sounded 🙂 I am dedicated to providing you healthy recipes. Hold me accountable!! 🙂
Giiiirl yes! So glad you’re back out and running again! I’m SO with you.
And that eggplant? I could snuggle it. Seriously.
Lol at the summer 6. I never heard it put that way before but I’m sure you will have no issues taking it off. Sounds like you’ve got a plan. As for eggplants, I’ve never tried them before but your recipe looks delish. Maybe I should make these and let you know how it turns out.
Please let me know if you try it!
Aggie…one of my favorite posts of yours! Love that you bared your soul about running and can’t wait to see the videos of the foam roller. I keep falling off…lol. I just got a new hydration belt, ifitness and can’t wait to try it this weekend. I have never frozen eggplant but will now!! And eggplant Parm is definitely coming up on the dinner menu soon.
How great that it’s baked and not fried. I’ll have to give it a try, I need to starting eating more veggies to get rid of some weight too.
At least its only the summer 6. I feel like mine is the summer 10 and then we have the winter 15! Uggg..it’s a never ending battle. Oh well.
Aggie, I love this post! You are so right that foam roller is life changing. I get the same tightness & pain when I run. Good luck getting back on your plan. The eggplant looks awesome!
awww, thanks girl!! that foam roller rocks my world. I want to give one to everyone… 🙂
What awesome summertime pics. I could use a view of my feet in the sand about now! That baked eggplant sounds great too!
I thought I was the only one who gained that dreaded couple of summer pounds! And you are totally right about it being too hot. I try and get up around 5:30 and get my run in but with the extra weight gain I am feeling sluggish and finding it really hard to get up. Got a good one in this morning though! Now to try your eggplant recipe!
I am getting back to running too Aggie. I was finally able to start up after the baby. I haven’t been looking forward to it, but I actually have found myself enjoying it more this time around.
Your recipes always look so good! Thanks for sharing them!
The same thing happens to me. Most people say they gain around the holidays, but I always gain in the summer–blame it on the kids!!! Gorgeous eggplant. 🙂
I just baked some eggplant last night. A spoonful of sauce and a sprinkling of some shredded Parmesan right before it came out of the oven and I also had my simple version of eggplant Parmesan!
Great post Aggie and I love the eggplant!
Love this idea Aggie…especially making a big batch and freezing it. I didn’t know you could freeze eggplant…it just never occurred to me.
Asics are my shoe of choice and like you I never run in the summer. I much prefer to run outside too since I LOVE the outdoors. It’s a great way to get in exercise, fresh air & alone time. What time of day are you running? Night? It’s still TOO hot!!
But I might get out on my bike in the evenings soon. Love toiling around my neighborhood or walks with my hubby. Our oldest is now old enough to babysit while we walk and talk “uninterrupted!” 😉
I really love eggplant but I’ve never thought to freeze it once it’s baked. What a fabulous idea! Leaves more time for running when you don’t have to prep dinner!
Another yummy eggplant recipe, wahoo! Also, kudos on the running…I never thought I was a runner, then I had gestational diabetes that didn’t go away. I’ve now completed 3 half-marathons and a number of other smaller races and I love it. I do go through times when I don’t love it, and I give myself some leeway to do other things. And when I am ready, I can step back into it easily because I already know I can run 13.1!
My hubby and I stay well-conditioned by playing tennis…nearly every day. We love it! It’s great exercise and it’s fun – can’t do much better than that. The only problem is that leaves less time for cooking. Everything in balance, eh? This eggplant recipe looks great – can’t wait to give it a try!
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I made your Baked Breaded Eggplant for dinner tonight and it was so yummy!! 🙂
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i totally know what you mean!! i always seem to gain weight…well throughout the year, but definitely in the summer!!!
love the foam roller idea – i need to grab one, i keep forgetting about the magic that is the foam roller!
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Delicious! Just made them and freezing the leftovers. I have made a bunch of your recipes. They are great!! Thank you!
This would be a great item to keep on hand in freezer for Asher! I don’t like breaking things either- nice idea to do a big batch at once!!
i’m lovin’ the idea of freezing the breaded eggplant !!! just wish i’d seen how you sliced length-wise before i did mine…. but a lesson learned for the next time !!! thank you !!!!
I love having it frozen in the freezer, I usually bake it up quickly in my toaster oven, or defrost it slightly and bake it with sauce for a quick eggplant parmesan! I learned the length-wise slicing from working in my parent’s restaurant. They always did it that way, but with an electric slicer…so much easier than slicing with a knife. But I like it longways so much better – be careful! Enjoy!! 🙂
Easy directions and simple to make — says the guy who cooked this for the first time, ever. It was mad delicious. Thanks Aggie!
Awesome feedback! Thanks Jonathan 🙂
No flour before egg? Couldn’t read through the comments as most had nothing to do with the recipe.
For this eggplant recipe I do not use flour before the egg. Thanks!
So delicious and simple. I have never successfully cooked with eggplant and this was scrumptious!
so much goodness! I love the healthy cooking, the running, the foam rolling, the summer 6 term, the eggplant and etc…. I happened upon your site looking for a different way to do my eggplant. I usually bread it, bake it and freeze it. The only problem is I tend to eat too much as is before it makes it into the freezer! Keep up the wonderful inspirationalism(word?). Tomorrow I’ll be adding on to my morning run and my healthy eggplant dinner tonight is sure to empower me! : )
I’ve never gotten the runner’s high when I’ve tried running… after reading your post, I’m thinking I may give it another try soon. As for the eggplant, I’ve never been a fan… but, perhaps making it this way will entice me into a new love of this veggie. 🙂
It’s funny Patsy because I didn’t for the longest time. I found once I got past those first 3 (ugh) miles I really felt it. 5 miles was a feeling of bliss for me! Ha! I guess your legs and endorphins need time to loosen up, I always surprised myself. I actually miss running, it’s been too long!
And the eggplant…this is my favorite way to eat it. I’ve had it breaded and fried for years (at my parent’s restaurant) and love it that way too but this is a way better option at home – healthier too. 🙂