Eggplant Manicotti

1 medium eggplant
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red bell pepper
3 large plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 cooked manicotti shells
vegetable cooking spray
3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated parmesan

Make several 1/2 inch slits on eggplant.. Insert garlic slices. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Let cool. Peel and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cut pepper in half lengthwise. Place pepper, with skin side up on a baking sheet and flatten with palm of hand.

Broil 3 inches from heat 10 minutes or until charred. Place in ice water and let stand 5 minutes.

Remove from water, peel and discard skins.  With knife blade in processor:   Add eggplant, pepper, tomatoes, thyme and salt and process until chopped. Stuff each shell with 1/3 cup mixture, and put in baking dish coated with spray.

Cover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Wash processor bowl and blade. Combine spinach, cottage cheese, lemon juice and pepper in bowl and process until smooth.

Spoon spinach mixture over shells and sprinkle with parmesan.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Yield: 4 Servings

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