Inspiration. I feverishly search for it at the beginning of every year. It could be a new book, a new pathway for a weekend hike, a new workout regimen, and yes, new recipes.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut down on carbs. I have been searching high and low for new low-carb recipes that will inspire me to keep focused and achieve my goals. I was eating an eggplant parmesan dinner the other night, of course, pushing the garlic bread basket away from me. Now, if you know me, you know this was a major feat. Bread. Tortillas. Pasta. Pan Dulce. Rice. Oh, how those carbs just wink at me, luring me into their web of weight gain and sugar rushes. But at that weak moment, I felt, yep, you got it, I felt inspired.
I thought about how much I love Stacked Red Enchiladas, or Enchiladas Montadas, and how eggplant would be the perfect substitute for tortillas. In my mind, I imagined a mountain of eggplant rounds being held together harmoniously with a beautiful blend of cheeses with a pool of red chile sauce underneath, like a volcanic island in the middle of the ocean oozing with cheese. And, the Cacique® Four Quesos Blend worked perfectly for my dish. The Mexican-style blended cheeses include Manchego, Oaxaca, Quesadilla and Asadero. Together they deliver a smooth, buttery richness.
In the new year, I am paying closer attention to the little things that make this life beautiful. The scent of a rosemary bush while walking my dogs in the morning. Waves crashing along the shore. In the kitchen, I will be looking at the food I eat and discover ways to swap out ingredients to make a healthier start of something new. What will inspire you in 2016?
Note: Click the ‘Products‘ tab above to learn more about the Cacique® ingredients used in this recipe. You can find these ingredients near you by clicking the ‘Find Stores‘ tab, selecting the products you are looking for, and entering your zip code.
WHAT YOU NEED
- (2) large eggplants, sliced in ½ inch thick rounds making about 24 rounds
- 2 medium white onions, quartered
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 8 dried guajillo peppers, stemmed
- 3 dried chile de arbol, stemmed
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- Canola Oil spray
- 2 packages Cacique® Four Quesos Blend Shredded Cheese
- ½ cup chopped green onions
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Place the onions, tomatoes, whole garlic cloves on a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Char under a broiler, about 6 minutes, turning the vegetables over half way through roasting.
- In a medium stock pot, add the guajillo peppers and chile de arbol and cover with water. Bring to a boil and set aside. Allow the dry chiles to soften, about 5 minutes. Reserve at least 2 cups of hot water.
- Put the onions, tomatoes, garlic and softened chile peppers in a blender with the chicken stock and puree the mixture. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your blender. Use the reserved hot water as needed to achieve a sauce-like consistency.
- Pour the red chile sauce through a sieve to remove skin and seeds and discard. Set aside red chile sauce (should make about 4 cups).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish and reserve. With the Canola oil spray a large skillet and place on medium heat. Begin browning the eggplants, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Work in batches, spraying additional oil as needed. Reserve.
- Add about a cup of red chile sauce to small skillet on medium-low heat. Allow to simmer. Begin dipping the eggplant rounds in the simmering red chile sauce, fully coating both sides, and place on the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the shredded cheese on top of each eggplant round.
- Carefully stack the eggplant rounds about 4 tall, making sure the cheese is between each layer. (Optional: Insert a toothpick in the middle of each stack to keep them together.) Top with more cheese and a tablespoon of the red chile sauce. Reserve about 1 ½ cups of red sauce to serve. Once all stacks have been assembled, place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve the stacked eggplant enchiladas with more of the reserved red chile sauce, a sprinkling of shredded cheese and green onions. Serve hot.