Daily Life in Italy and Reese's Baked Melanzane

I hope you all are having a great start to your weekend. I think weekends are so important to relax and have fun because during the week we're all working, running errands, taking care of our children, etc. that it all goes by in a blur. Although, this may not apply to Italian families here, since most children attend school Monday to Saturdays from around 8ish to 1ish everyday. I find that mothers seem to be more stressed here. Lunch is considered the most important meal of the day in Italy and because children don't stay at school for lunch, they have to prepare something for their family. I can't imagine what it would be like for a full-time working mother to have to prepare a sizable lunch for their family everyday.  

Generally, for me, on the weekends, I try and use one day for doing all the stuff I can't get done during the week, which is pretty much everything. I work hours that are unusual in N.A. and Britain, yet is considered quite normal here, but also shops in Italy aren't open when I'm not working. Shops open in the morning and close for four hours in the afternoon, and re-open usually at 5.30pm. Therefore, I tend to have to cram the things I used to consider daily errands like food and house shopping for Saturdays. So, then it becomes even more important for me to relax and enjoy this particular time of the week. Also, part of relaxing is eating great, delicious and healthy food, and most important of all - easy to make.  

My definition of easy to make consists of three things - not needing to use any type of food processor or mechanism - a knife, fork and spoon will do; herbs and spices that you generally have in your pantry (garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper,etc.); and food that you can find at any local grocer's. 

So, I'd like to share with you one of my recipes that I put together on a particular day where I was trying to cook something light and not heavy (since we eat dinner here around 10pm every night) and use ingredients I already had in my fridge and pantry. 

Reese's Baked Melanzane 
It's called eggplant or aubergine in other countries

This is a very simple recipe, but delicious and healthy.
The general ingredients you will need are onions, garlic, good quality cheese, tomato sauce, bread crumbs and salt, and of course the melanzane.

Prehheat oven to grill:

Cut melanzane in slices and bake on both sides
 (at approximately 7 minutes - each side in the oven on the grill setting). 
Take the melanzane out of the oven and sprinkle chopped garlic and salt and put it back in the oven for another 3 minutes, so the garlic is cooked but not brown. 
Do not leave the kitchen. Watch the oven...it doesn't take long.

Take a pan and pour the cooked tomato sauce (chopped canned tomato that you have cooked for about 15 to twenty minutes with a teaspoon of salt before) into the pan. 
Cover the pan completely with the sauce. 
Then lay chopped slices of onion on top of the sauce.
 Now put the baked melanzane on top of the sauce.
Put slices of cheese on top of each the melanzane. 
Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of everything.
Lastly, sprinkle salt on top again before popping it into the oven until the cheese has melted and the bread crumbs have turned a nice shade of golden brown. 
This last process doesn't take long (5 minutes or more), so keep an eye on it.  

pop in the oven for 7 minutes on each side (until it looks transparent)

once the melanzane is finished baking, take the melanzane out and pour in the tomato sauce and onions, or you can use a separate pan

slice the cheese ( I used bel paese, but any good cheese will do)

lay the melanzane on top of the onions, as you can see, there is steam rising from the pan because I had just taken it out of the oven.

now put the cheese on top of the melanzane and pop it into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown.

the final step - to eat it! it was so delicious. we ate it all in one evening. 

I hope you enjoy it. 
If you do try my recipe, please let me know how it goes. 
I would love to get some feedback. 

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