I have more tomatoes then I know what to do with and I was craving something comforting this week. I also felt like being artistic, so I came up with this easy recipe for a summer tart. You can really get creative when arranging the tomato and eggplant slices. This recipe is also perfect for lunch or dinner and great for entertaining. I threw in some sprigs of fresh herbs that I have growing in my garden. Feel free to substitute fresh basil for a lighter, more delicate flavor. You could also substitute summer squashes for the eggplant, just cut back on the roasting time.

Fairytale Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and Feta Garden Tart
Serves 6
1 Pillsburg refrigerated pie crust
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
1 egg white
3 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Lay the slices of eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush the slices with the extra virgin olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. While baking, fit the Pillsbury pie crust to a tart dish and refrigerate. 
When eggplant is ready, take out of oven and let cool slightly. Brush the pie crust with the egg white. Arrange the roasted eggplant slices and tomato slices in circular layers. 
Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs over the tomato and eggplant. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes for a crispy shell. 

Let cool completely before removing the tart by inverting it onto a plate.  

After a much needed break, Fairytale Feasts is back for 2012!!! I have so many wonderful recipes and food photos that I can’t wait to share with you all. Please let me know if you have any requests or would like to see some more or you’d like for me to test a certain product. I do all of this in my spare time, but am going to make an effort to update more frequently this year.
Since it is January and a notorious time for resolutions to help shed those unwanted holiday pounds, I thought I would share some of my favorite healthy recipes. I am going to start by posting my favorite breakfasts. 
I’ve never been a huge breakfast person. In fact, it’s definitely my LEAST favorite meal of the day – but I also think it’s the easiest meal to eat healthfully if you’re making it yourself. I usually have my Kourtney Kardashian Steel-Cut Oatmeal or an omelet. This breakfast omelet really helps to start my day off on the right foot. I make this all the time with all different types of vegetables, so feel free to switch it up using the formula below. 

1 egg + 1/2 cup of egg whites  + vegetable + 1/4 cup of cheese = omelet
Depending on how many veggies I use, I usually eat half of  this full omlet. If I want to eat the whole thing, I will use less egg whites and vegetables. You can’t go wrong no matter how you make it. 

One other favorite variation of mine is instead of using mushrooms and feta cheese, I use chopped broccoli and 2% shredded Cracker Barrel white sharp cheddar cheese. Before adding the broccoli to the skillet, I steam it in the microwave. 

Let me also note that I almost always use Athenos Natural Crumbled Feta cheese in all of my omelets except the broccoli and cheese as mentioned above. Feta cheese is most commonly used in Greek dishes and has been used for centuries. Feta cheese does not have a rind, and it is cured and stored in brine in large blocks for months. In Greece it is made primarily from sheep’s or goat’s milk, but large commercial producers usually use cow’s milk. Feta can range from semisoft to semihard cheese and is available here in blocks or crumbled. It’s salty and has so much flavor, and it retains it’s texture in the omelet. I prefer the regular version and not the reduced fat version. I think the regular one is more flavorful and I’d rather use less of a full fat cheese than more of a fat-free cheese. Since I use a lot of feta in my omelets and salads, I usually buy the large container of Athenos Feta from Sam’s Club.

Fairytale Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Omelet
(Serves 2)

1 egg
1/2 cup of egg whites
1 1/2 cup of chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of Athenos crumbled feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh herb of choice)

In a 9 or 10 inch nonstick skillet, saute the onion over medium-high for two minutes. (I usually spray once or twice with non-stick cooking spray). Add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash seasoning or your choice of chopped fresh herbs. Saute for a minute. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg and egg whites. Beat with a fork until well blended. Add to skillet with spinach and mushrooms. Ensure the vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the egg mixture. Reduce the heat to LOW and cover with a lid. Let cook for a few minutes, until the top is doesn’t run anymore.

Add the feta cheese crumbles to the omelet, and turn over with a spatula. Serve immediately alongside a piece of fruit for a perfectly balanced breakfast.

Nutritional Information for half of omlet: 146 cals, 7 grams of fat, 8 carbs, 18 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 300 mg of sodium. 

Couscous is a staple of the Middle East but is widely enjoyed all over the world.  It is especially popular in Maghreb, a region in North African encompassing the countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libra and Mauritania.  This healthful grain is derived from the moistened semolina grain and coated with semolina flour. It is then shaped into small sphere-like beads. The shape of these beads vary and the more processed the couscous, the smaller the bead. Israeli couscous is usually larger in shape but equally delicious and a bit easier to make is the precooked instant couscous sold in boxes at your local grocery store.  Since I’ve never been a huge rice lover, I use couscous in many ways: as a side dish alongside a piece of broiled salmon, as a main dish mixed with mushrooms and grilled chicken, or as a snack with feta cheese and kalamata olives. 
The name couscous comes from the Maghreb dish “couscoussiere” where the semolina is steamed in the top part of a special pot and chunks of lamb or chicken, vegetables, chickpeas and raisins simmer in the bottom part.  This recipe for the perfect summer couscous salad is derived from the idea of this dish. I also added some fresh mint from my garden to give it a fresh flavorful kick. 
Fairytale Couscous Salad

1 box of Near East whole wheat couscous
2 large grilled chicken breasts, diced
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup reduced fat feta cheese
½ cup of green or kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup of diced red onion
1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint (or 1/8 cup of dried mint)

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper
juice of 1 ½ lemons

Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the box (usually its 1 ½ cups of boiling water over couscous with a drop or two of olive oil.) Add in the raisins.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Once it has cooled, add the diced chicken, feta cheese, olives, onion and mint.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper and lemon juice.  Pour over the couscous salad and mix well.  Enjoy! (Can be made the night before – just chill in refrigerator and reserve the dressing for the next day.)