Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan and a Sausage Cheese Dip

Friday was a gray, rainy day here in Jersey, so I wanted to fire up the crockpot and warm up the house with some yummy smells. In need of some new recipes, I was browsing around on the web when I stumbled upon the King of all Crockpot blogs, A Year of Crockpotting.

The blog’s owner, Stephanie O’Dea, made a New Year’s resolution to cook with her crockpot every single day in 2008 and she’s almost there. Today’s post, #322.

This ambitious resolution has made her quite the rising Internet celebrity. She made her way onto the Rachel Ray show in July and in numerous newspapers and magazines. Her blog welcomes over 10,000 visitors per day. What I love about A Year of Crockpotting is that Stephanie is all about testing new recipes and giving you her honest opinion on the results. She loves some, she hates some. She even has a category called “Flops.”

I decided to steer away from the flops and to try her Eggplant Parmesan with Feta since Stephanie gave it a very positive review. And, the Cream cheese, sausage and Rotel Dip because it sounded easy, delicious and it gave me a chance to use my Little Dipper Crockpot which has been collecting dust in my cupboard.

The only addition I made was to the Eggplant Parmesan. I added about 6 Hot Italian Sausage links because I’m a carnivore and need more than veggies and pasta to make a meal. I browned the sausage and cut them lengthwise on top of the eggplant. This makes for a heartier meal which the men appreciated.

Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan with Feta

–1 large-ish eggplant
–1 bottle of your favorite pasta sauce
–1/4 cup olive oil
–1/4 cup bread crumbs
–2 t Italian seasoning
–1/2 t kosher salt
–1/4 t black pepper
–1/2 brick of feta, crumbled

The Directions.
–wash eggplant and slice in 1/2 inch thick pieces. Don’t peel.
–pour 1 cup or so of the pasta sauce into the bottom of your crockpot
–combine bread crumbs and seasonings in a shallow dish
–paint both sides of each eggplant slice with olive oil
–dredge eggplant slices with the bread crumb mixture.
–stagger eggplant pieces in layers into the crockpot, on top of the marinara that you already poured in–cover with slices with the rest of the jar of sauce
–crumble the feta all over the top of the sauce
cover crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 3-4. This doesn’t take very long to cook, so if you need to be out of the house, go with the low setting.
serve with your favorite pasta.

CrockPot Cream Cheese, Sausage, and Rote Dip

The Ingredients.

–8 oz block of cream cheese
–1 can tomatoes and green chiles (aka Rotel), drained
–1 lb breakfast sausage, browned and drained

The Directions.

Brown the sausage on the stove, and drain on paper towels.

Unwrap the cream cheese, and put it into your crockpot. Chop up the sausage and add on top. Drain the Rotel, and add it.

Cover and cook on low for about 90 minutes, or on high for 45. Stir well and eat with tortilla chips.

Jersey Bites Verdict: Both dishes were excellent and easy. The dip was a huge hit. I recommend serving it with some good bread. I hope you try it at your next party. If you don’t have a Little Dipper Crockpot, you can prepare the dip on your stove top on the lowest setting. I actually prepared everything on the stove and then transferred it to the Little Dipper. It fit perfectly once everything was melted and combined.