Sunday, December 19, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana

I've always loved restaurant Eggplant Parmesan, but haven't ever been able to make a really good one at home. I figured out this is because in trying to be health conscious, I've always breaded and then baked the eggplant before assembling the dish. Which works fine, but of course it lacks the super-yum factor.

I found this recipe in the Martha Stewart Living magazine, and since eggplant was on sale this week I decided to try it. Simple, easy, and super-yum! Even my 15 month-old loved it. A really good (homemade if you can) marinara sauce is key.

Eggplant Parmigianafrom Martha Stewart Living, January 2011

For Breading and Frying
2 cups fine plain fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed

For Assembling
Marinara Sauce
3 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions1. Bread and fry the eggplant: Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Put flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in 3 separate dishes. Dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.

2. Heat oil in large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. (If oil gets too dirty, discard, and heat an additional 1/4 cup.)

3. Assemble the dish: Preheat oven to 375. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant on top, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 Parmesan. Repeat twice to form layers with eggplant, sauce, then cheeses. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes more.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

We're always thinking of new ways to jazz up breakfast. Since we LOVE breakfast.

No recipe needed for this one...any pizza crust (or biscuit dough!) will do. Use some sausage gravy for the "sauce", then top with scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, onion, cheese, etc. Don't get yours as crispy as the one pictured here though :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Paula Deen Green Bean Casserole

As with the stuffing, I also decided to make two versions of green bean casserole - the standard one and one a little different. I decided to try Paula Deen's version, because she rarely steers me wrong! I was interested by how the addition of cheese on top would change the flavor, and of course everything is better with cheese!

Though the recipe calls for fresh mushrooms I didn't add any due to special request, and the only other (delicious) change I made was with the topping...instead of mixing them in, I ground up the french-fried onions and combined them with some panko bread crumbs, and sprinkled this lovely mixture on top of the cheese. Yum!


1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups sliced green beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings
Pinch House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 cup grated Cheddar


1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.

Bacon Jalapeno Stuffing

I was in charge of stuffing for Thanksgiving this year, and I decided to try something new and different in addition to the usual. I found this recipe on the Food Network website and was definitely intrigued. Its definitely not for everyone due to the spice level, but those who enjoy a little heat gave it great reviews!

I doubled the recipe and it was the perfect amount for a large casserole dish. Also, I thought it was definitely on the spicy side even with the seeds removed from the jalapenos, but my husband said he would actually add another one if we make it again.


1/4 lb. diced bacon
2 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (I also removed the seeds)
1 Tbsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. chili powder
3 cups chicken broth
2 egss
1 cup diced pepper jack cheese (I shredded it)
8 cups toasted white bread cubes
6 cups crumbled cornbread ( I made cornbread muffins from a mix and crumbled)


1. In a large deep skillet, saute bacon in the butter for 5 minutes; transfer to paper towels.

2. To the same skilet, add onion, celery, jalapeno, thyme and chili powder; season with salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes.

3. Pour in 3 cups chicken broth. Simmer until step 5.

4. In a large bowl, mix eggs,pepper jack cheese and the bacon.

5. Add to the bowl 8 cups toasted white bread cubes, 6 cups crumbled cornbread and the hot broth mixture.

6. Gently toss the stuffing, then spread in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Dot the top with butter or turkey pan drippings, cover and bake 30 minutes at 350. Uncover and bake until golden, 20 more minutes.

Sourdough Stuffing

I made this stuffing for the first time last year, after deciding to try a real, made-from-fresh-bread-cubes stuffing...previous to that our stuffings have always been based from boxed, dried bread cubes. Its a little more work of course, but the fresh bread is so much better! I like this recipe because its classic, simple, and tasty. I doubled the recipe this year so we could have lots of leftovers.

The only update I make to the recipe below is to add crumbled pork sausage, because, well, I like it :)

from Dave Lieberman, Food Network

1-pound loaf sourdough bread
8 Tbsp. butter
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick in both directions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

2. Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and beginning to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add chicken broth to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake in the center of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.


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