Eggplant Parmesan will forever be one of my all time favorite comfort foods. There's just something about taking a bite of the gooey, sauce covered vegetable that feels like a great big hug. I don't even know when I became such an eggplant parm fan because as a child, I'm fairly certain that I refused to even try it. Or eggplant in any other form for that matter. I don't know when that all changed but now I can't seem to get enough of it. 😋
Even though I prefer to eat my Eggplant smothered in cheese and sauce, I'm calling this a plant based recipe. It's mostly vegetable based, right? I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that it's a "healthy" recipe but I feel like it's healthy-er than the deep fried Eggplant Parmesan recipes.
You may notice that this eggplant pecorino has no breading. I've always wondered why people go through the trouble of breading the eggplant in eggplant parmesan anyway. After you drench it in marinara, the breading on the eggplant gets soggy. I much prefer this method of lightly sautéing the eggplant before layering it with spicy marinara and salty cheeses. I've actually heard that this is the traditional way that Italians first made eggplant parmesan. Not sure if that's true but I choose to believe it.
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy filets, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 cup olive oil
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 cup mozarella cheese, shredded
Repeat layering 3 more times. Spread remaining sauce over eggplant and sprinkle with mozarella.
Bake 30 minutes at 375. Place under broiler and cook until browned. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Hahahaha
It's officially eggplant season and I can't get enough of the purple fruit. 🍆 There has never been a better time to make my favorite eggplant dishes. I've got eggplant lasagna and eggplant meatballs on my menu for next week. Here's hoping my family doesn't get tired of eggplant dinners before the season ends. 😂
Anyone else able to overcome great obstacles but find themselves struggling with the simplest of tasks? That describes me in a nutshell. 🥜 I can pull off brunch for 50 without breaking a sweat but I can't seem to get my act together enough to master folding a fitted sheet. 😂
Fish is one of those uber simple meals that just seems to fluster me. I mean, what could be easier than sprinkling a little salt and pepper and squeezing a little lemon juice over a fish filet, wrapping it in foil and putting it in the oven for 20 minutes? Easy peasy, right? After all, I've tackled timpano, homemade brioche and beef bourguignon. Why am I thrown off by a simple fish dish?
I've been known to overcomplicate more than my share of recipes. 😂(#peachdumplings) Maybe I'm trying to make fish preparation more complicated than it needs to be. Perhaps fish should be prepared simply and enjoyed in its most basic form. Whether it's tossed on the grill with a little olive oil or baked in the oven with some fresh herbs - there is really no BAD way to cook a fresh fish filet. Which is why it's even more baffling to me that cooking fish throws me off my game.
I chose this Barbados Grilled Fish recipe to help get me over my fish cooking hurdle. This recipe is very simple but it has a lot of big bold flavors that perfectly compliments the fish without overpowering it. Maybe I will become a comfortable, confident fish cook after all. 🐟
Barbados Grilled Fish
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
salt and pepper
4 mahi mahi filets
Transfer to a platter to rest.
I'll be the first to admit that this fish has kind of an off-putting color. Don't let that discourage you from trying this recipe though. The green color comes from the fresh chives and thyme and the lime zest. The color may be unusual but the flavor is extraordinary. If you're afraid of serving green fish to your family - turn out the lights and make it a romantic candlelight meal. 😂🕯
Homemade marshmallows will forever go down in history as my worst baking idea ever. I spent two hours and a significant amount of money creating a sticky, sweet dessert that tasted exactly like the marshmallows that I buy in a bag at the grocery store for less than a dollar. To make matters worse, I spent the following two days scraping white goo off of my counters, cabinets and ceiling. 🙄 As a result of my overly ambitious marshmallow project, I also ended up replacing my standing mixer because the gooey mixture got so thick that it burned up the engine. 😬 I get the award for the most expensive homemade marshmallows in history. 😅 Lesson learned - No more homemade marshmallows for this girl.
Despite my bad marshmallow experience, there are still things that I make from scratch even though I could buy them cheaper from the grocery store. BUT - I try and only make the foods that are going to be better than the store bought versions. Homemade ice cream, homemade pies and homemade brownies - all things that are way better than the grocery store versions, in my opinion. Breads, spaghetti sauce and pasta also fall into that category of better homemade than store bought even though I could buy them cheaper from the store.
It takes 9 minutes to boil a box of dried spaghetti noodles. 🍝 It takes me a the better part of an afternoon to make fresh, homemade pasta. Is it worth it? Absolutely. If you've ever had fresh pasta - you know that nothing else even compares. I love it so much in fact that I'm willing to dedicate hours of my life to kneading, stretching, rolling and cutting out dough to make the most delicious pasta possible.
Is it possible that there could be a happy medium between 9 minute dried pasta and the half day homemade version? Cook's Illustrated thinks so. They published a recipe for fresh pasta dough that's made in a food processor. (I can hear the disappointment of Italian women everywhere who are appalled by the idea.) Taking the kneading out of my hands (literally) makes the pasta making process sooooo much easier. I typically spend and hour making pasta dough by hand and I made this dough in a little under 15 minutes. I was more than a little hesitant that it was too good to be true but I was willing to give it a try.
Turns out - letting the food processor do the kneading was genius. The eggy dough was soft and stretchy. It's shaved at least 45 minutes off of my pasta making process. Yay for time saving ideas.
1 cups flour
1 cup semolina flour
2 eggs + 6 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Drain pasta and toss with sauce and top with cheese.
There is just nothing like the taste of fresh pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce. Makes me want to jump on a plane and head back to Italy today! 🇮🇹
You can just call me Miss Daisy. 🌼 I hired my own personal driver for the summer. The last time I checked, we didn't have any Uber or Lyft drivers in my area so I decided that I would take the matter into my own hands and hire my own driver for the summer. (aka my 21 year old daughter) Her rates are cheap. 😂
I'm not happy about the fact that hiring a driver happened as a result of a broken right foot rendering me unable to drive BUT I do love having a personal chauffeur. 🚙 I'm not so sure that my Uber driver shares my feelings about this relationship though. And she definitely doesn't appreciate the fact that I give her a rating at the conclusion of the ride either. ⭐️⭐️⭐️😂
It doesn't matter if I'm running errands, dropping off a cookie order or going to a doctor's appointment - I love having her by my side. She's at the age when I know that she won't be living with us much longer and our time with her is precious. It really is a gift to be able to have her as my Uber driver because I'm fairly certain that she would opt out of accompanying me on my weekly Wal Mart pick up appointments if she could. #forcedfamilytime 😂
I feel like I'm running even more errands now that I have a companion than I would if I was flying solo. Driving to Atlanta to pick up a camera lens is way more fun when I have a partner. Our chores become an excuse to run through Whole Foods market, stop and pick up food at a new restaurant or swing by and visit and old friend.
I have no desire to crutch my way through a grocery store or ride on one of those little electric scooters, so grocery store pick up has been the name of the game lately. Breaking my foot has forced me to give up control over choosing my own groceries and I've developed a whole new appreciation for the fact that someone is willing to do my shopping for me. 😉
I still like to choose my own produce though so I've been asking my Uber driver take me to the farmers market for my fresh fruits and vegetables. (My Uber doubles as my cart pusher and basket carrier too.) #betterthananuber Our Georgia farmers markets are absolutely bursting with local produce this time of year. The blueberries and blackberries have just started to ripen in my area and that was all the excuse that I needed to make this delicious Mixed Berry Buckle.
Mixed Berry Buckle
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup blackberries, cut in half
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries, cut in half
Remove from pan once it cools. Slice into wedges.
Mixed Berry Buckle - is it a breakfast food or a dessert? Good news - it's both! If you want to eat it first thing in the morning - call it breakfast. If you're craving a midnight snack - call it dessert. 😉
Have you ever wondered how in the world people manage to get dinner on the table all at the same time? My mom is a pro at it but it's definitely a genetic trait that I'm missing. More often than not, I fail miserably at any attempt that I make at getting a complete meal cooked, heated and ready to serve all at the same. My dinners resemble more of a progressive dinner than a sit down meal. The main course and the sides are hardly ever warm at the same time. 🤷🏻♀️
When I finally make the announcement that dinner is ready my family gathers around the table - whichever family member is last to the table and ends up in the "hot seat." That's what we refer to as the chair that sits closest to the oven because whomever occupies that chair has to hop up 2-3 times throughout the meal to retrieve things from the oven as they're warmed. It's just become part of our dinner routine. 😂
I'm convinced that the competence and expertise needed to get a meal on the table all at the same time is an inherited trait because I am NOT getting any better at it. You would think that over time, I would have learned how to cook a ham and warm a pan of macaroni and cheese simultaneously but inevitably, I end up with ham that's ready to serve at least 30 minutes before the macaroni and cheese is ready.
I've learned that make ahead side dishes really work best for me because of my inability to properly time my menu. Now that we're approaching summer, I feel like dinner time can be saved by make ahead, cold side dishes. You know what I'm talking about. Vegetables, salads and pasta dishes that you can make ahead of time and toss in the refrigerator until the main course is ready.
German Potato Salad is exactly what I need to compensate for my inadequacies and make me look like a dinner pro. I make it in the morning, toss it in the frig and pull it out just before we sit down to dinner. Oh, and it's delicious!
German Potato Salad
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" slices
2 pounds small red potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
4 scallions, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Add scallions, parsley and bacon to potatoes.
I served this simple potato salad alongside some grilled hamburgers, fresh corn on the cob and ice cold watermelon slices. What a great way to kick off the summer of 2020.
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