As always, every year I make a resolution to eat healthier and finally lose those extra pounds I’ve been packing since … well, forever.  Every year, I do really well for about a week, and then my old bad habits kick in.  Ugh.  I mean, sure, at this moment in time I’m only about 10 pounds heavier than I was in high school, but come on, who are we kidding?  I was unhealthily large in high school too.  I just happened to have more muscle on me from playing tennis.

This year is going to be different, though.  This year I’m focusing less on weight and more on healthy habits.  I’ve been on a soapbox for like basically ever saying that we should eat less meat and more veg, so now I’m going to actually practice what I preach.  I’m going to ramp up the veggies and whole grains, cut down the animal protein (but not give it up; bad things happen when you deprive me of prime rib) and generally live a greener existence.   I’m also going to listen to my body more, and stop eating before I’m full.  (Because if I eat until I’m actually feeling full, by the time the food finishes hitting my system, I’ve gone all the way to uncomfortably bloated.  Seriously.) Portion control, baby!

Benefits?  Plenty.  I’ll lose weight naturally by being more mindful of what I put into my body, I’ll be healthier because I’m not pumping my body full of junk, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, my digestive tract won’t constantly be at war with me because I’m eating too much fat and dairy.

That being said, here’s what y’all came here for in the first place:

I cooked some quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa” – look it up, this stuff is so good for you.) in some vegetable broth, and I wanted something awesome and vaguely cheesy to go with it.  Enter one of my favorite berries in the world, the beautiful and delicious eggplant.  Now, I love a classic breaded eggplant parm as much as the next person, but that dish does a number on me and I’m just not willing to feel that icky.  My friend does a dish he calls “zucchini parmesan” which is basically just zucchini and onions sauteed and then covered in parmesan cheese, and it’s delicious, so I figured I’d just take that method and run with it.

The goods:

2 shallots or 1 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 eggplant, cubed into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

shredded parmesan cheese (splurge on the fresh stuff, seriously. If you use the powder I may cry.)

crushed red pepper flake, to taste (optional)

The method:

– Whack your favorite large skillet (mine is a non-stick, hard anodyzed beast.) over medium high heat and get it good and hot.

– Drizzle in some olive oil, a good several turns around the pan.  Heat until it’s barely shimmery.

– Throw in your shallot or red onion, saute (stirring frequently) until it’s soft.

– Throw in your eggplant.  Add a good couple pinches of salt.  Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s all lovely and soft.  This will take some time, don’t worry.  If it looks like all you’re doing is burning the eggplant, lower your heat a little and add a smidge more oil.  But eggplant is pretty forgiving, so as long as it’s not turning black or smoking or anything unpleasant, you should be okay.

– Once your eggplant is mostly soft, take off the cover to finish cooking, in case you have any liquid you need to evaporate.

– Taste it!  Add some salt and pepper (if needed), and some red pepper if you want a kick.

– Generously sprinkle your parmesan cheese on, and slap the cover on just until the cheese is melted.

– Give it a stir and a taste, adjust your seasonings if you need to, dish it up, and enjoy!