Monday, August 22, 2011

Trader Joe's simple dinner (eggplant polenta bake)

(flowers from TJs)

Trader Joe's is sort of a safe haven for me. I love wandering around the aisles with my miniature cup of coffee (decaf) and the sample of the day. I often go after work, when I'm tired and slightly cranky, and have no desire to cook dinner. But after a few rounds of the store, I'm usually inspired with a list of recipe ideas - most of which are quick, healthy, and super cheap.

I'm especially proud of the "semi-homemade" dinners I put together from TJs. These require no actual cooking effort, just some brief prep work and then you pop the dish in the oven to heat up. Dinner is read in 20 minutes or less and there's no giant mess to clean up.

This past weekend I bought a container of premade polenta, a jar of eggplant caponata, and a wedge of rosemary olive oil asiago cheese. (I already had green onions at home, but you'll need those too for this recipe). I cut about a 2-3 inch piece of polenta and "smushed" it in the bottom of a personal sized baking dish, poured 1/2 cup of eggplant caponata on top, and sprinkled it with 1/4 cup of shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped green onion. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, and it was delicious and heartwarming and everything nice.

(polenta - smushed)

(polenta adorned with eggplant caponata)

Now, because this dish was so good and easy, I decided to make it once more this weekend. This time I poached an egg and placed it on top of the cheesy-goodness right when it came out of the oven. This was true comfort food. I do realize that the poaching of an egg equates to real cooking and not just semi-homemade preparation. But, it's so easy to poach an egg - I swear it! (Watch a great demonstration here). And, this way you can get that protein that mom's always yelling at you about...

(the finished product with a poached egg)

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