Cooking for the ones you love is more than just sustenance. It shows how much we care for each other. But sometimes life gets in the way. You are traveling, have to work extra, or simply cannot make it back home in time to prepare dinner. Having one of these Eggplant and Black Bean Tortilla Bakes in the freezer lets you feed your family a healthy and lovingly prepared meal on two different occasions. It’s a two-for-one benefit.
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (28 oz.) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz) cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed
  • 2 (4.5-oz.) cans mild green chiles (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 10 corn tortillas, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Nonstick cooking spray
Materials:
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large rimmed baking sheet
  • 2 (8-inch) square baking dishes
  • Peeler
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Nonstick skillet
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Coat baking sheet and baking dishes with cooking spray.
 
2.  Peel the eggplant; slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds.  Halve the rounds (or quarter if large).  Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet; brush 1 tablespoon oil over the eggplant.  Bake, turning once, until the eggplant is just beginning to brown on the edges, 10-15 minutes.  Let cool.
 
3.  Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin; continue cooking just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes, beans, chiles (if desired) and cilantro.  Set aside.
 
4.  To assemble the casseroles: Cover the bottom of each baking dish with 1/4 of the tortilla pieces.  Spread 1 cup of the tomato-bean mixture over the tortillas, then sprinkle each with 1/4 cup cheese.  Top each with a layer of 1/2 of the eggplant pieces, then layer each with 1 cup of tomato-bean mixture.  Divide the remaining tortilla pieces and remaining tomato-bean mixture between the casseroles, then sprinkle each with 1/4 cup cheese.  Cover both dishes with foil.  Label and freeze one casserole for up to 1 month.
 
5.  Bake the remaining casserole until bubbling, about 30 minutes.
 
6.  Uncover and continue baking until the cheese is lightly browned, about 10 minutes more.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
 
To Cook From Frozen:  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed in Steps 5-6

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