4 medium sized eggplants
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise
5 stalks of celery
4 medium sized tomatoes
4 cups tomato juice
I began by grilling the chicken pieces on our George Foreman grill and then set them aside to cool.
I sliced the eggplants into rounds and laid them out and salted them to remove the bitter flavor (this wasn't in the original recipe, but I think it's a really, really important step with any eggplant dish!). After half an hour (at least!) I rinsed the sliced eggplant with water, washing the salt away, and then went back to the cutting board to cut the slices into chunks. Placing them into a pan I added a splash of olive oil (I tend to be over generous with olive oil, so it was probably quite a bit more than the couple of tablespoons the original recipe required) and put them on low to cook.
While the eggplants cooked (for about eight minutes, until they are soft) I sliced the celery and onions. Then I placed the eggplants in a bowl and put the celery and onions in the pan with another splash of olive oil and placed them on the burner on low. While the celery and onions cooked I sliced the tomatoes into chunks.
When the celery and onions were done (as was evident by their delicious aroma!) I mixed the celery, onions, eggplant and tomatoes together in a large pot. I then added the tomato juice and stirred everything together.
Then my spice addiction kicked in. I added basil and garlic salt (I would estimate around 3 tbs each, but as with olive oil, I tend to be generous with spices so the best advice might be to add the spices "to taste") along with a little bit of kosher salt and pepper.
Next I added a "splash" of balsamic vinaigrette (around 4 tbs) and stirred.
I then spooned the tomato/eggplant/celery/onion mixture into three casserole dishes. I layered the grilled chicken on top of the mixture (and sprinkled the chicken with pepper) and then covered the meals to freeze. I was able to fill one large, one medium and one small/medium casserole dish. I'd estimate that altogether these ingredients would combine to feed 12 people.
When I reheat these meals for dinner I'll pull them out to defrost them in the morning and then cook the defrosted meals at 35o degrees for 20 minutes.
I did have enough left over that didn't go into the dishes that we were able to try it out and it is a new family favorite. I traded Paul a bowl in exchange for doing the dishes and tidying up the downstairs!