Eggplant Parmesan

Here is a good recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. I have to say, not as good as grandmas but still very good. Now only if I could get my grandma to write down some of our families traditional Italian recipes I’d be happy, but older Italian women don’t follow recipes for Italian food they just make it like their mom taught them. Well that’s at least how it is in my family….. This recipe was very tasty and could be adjusted however you like it, more cheese, less cheese, more sauce, less sauce. I adapted the recipe from the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. If you don’t have this book yet I would go get it. I have already gotten so many good recipes out of it and I have at least 50 others marked to try…… The ingredients are:

  • 2 medium-to-large eggplant (2 to 3 pounds total)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Flour for dredging
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups Basic Tomato Sauce (I made a very easy and quick tomato sauce but you could use what ever sauce you like)
  • 2 Cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Peel the eggplant if the skin is thick or the eggplant is less than perfectly firm (as you can see I left the skin on). Cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Start with about 5 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium – medium high. When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle), dredge the eggplant slices, one at a time, in the flour (I season my flour with salt and pepper), shaking off the excess. Place in the pan, but do not crowd; you will have to cook in batches. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned, then drain on paper towels. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.
  3. Lightly oil a baking dish, then spoon a little of the tomato sauce into it. Top with a layer of eggplant, then a thin layer of each of the cheeses. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. End with a thin layer of the cheeses.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling hot.

(I served the eggplant with a simple green salad.)

Mango-Onion Relish

I don’t know about everyone else but I have definitely been trying to eat much lighter lately (still trying to shed the holiday pounds). So when I came across this recipe for Mango-Onion Relish I instantly thought how yummy this would be on a nice fillet of fish. My family loves fish! The fish with the Mango-Onion Relish was light, fresh, slightly sweet but with the onion and lime juice still very savory. I really enjoyed this! This is another good recipe out of the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.The ingredients are:

  • 2 Mangoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Peel and pit the mangoes. Chop their flesh and combine it with the onion, lime juice, and cilantro; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a day or two and serve at room temperature.

This Mango Relish can also be served on chicken. I was also thinking if you added a little fresh minced jalapeno then you would have a yummy Mango Salsa. I haven’t tried that yet but it was just a thought.

Pureed Butternut Squash with Ginger

 

Here is another good recipe out of the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. So far I am really enjoying this book. I have only come across 1 recipe that I didn’t care for and that was the Corn Bread recipe (the corn bread recipe that I already have is better, and my son looked at me like why did you go and mess up a good thing. He would never say that to me because he is way to sweet, but mamma knows. My kids are such troopers when it comes to all of my food trials.) but 3 good recipes out of 4 is not a bad start. This Butternut Squash Puree was smooth with a slight sweetness and the perfect touch of ginger. It kind of looks like baby food but definitely does not taste like it (actually you probably could feed your baby this). The ingredients are:

  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut or other winter squash, peeled and cut into chunks (I used the already peeled and cut up butternut squash from Costco)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste. (I used 1 teaspoon fresh ginger. I didn’t want the ginger to overpower the delicate flavor of the butternut squash.)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, or to taste (I used 1 Tablespoon in the puree and then even sprinkled some on the top before I served it. It says to taste, and I love the taste of brown sugar on my butternut squash! : )
  1. Place the squash in a steamer above about 1 inch of salted water. Cover and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. To microwave, place the squash and 2 Tablespoons of water in a microwave-proof plate or shallow bowl; cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, shake the container, and continue to microwave at 2-minute intervals, until the squash is very tender.
  2. While it is still hot, place the squash in the container of a food processor with the butter and ginger; process until smooth. Taste and add salt, pepper, and brown sugar if you like. (You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well wrapped or in a covered container, for up to 2 days before proceeding.)
  3. Reheat over low heat or in a microwave and serve.

Shrimp, My Way

 

Here is another recipe out of my cookbook, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. We all really enjoyed this shrimp recipe. The Cumin in this gave the shrimp a southwestern flare and I loved the chunks of garlic in it. The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers (I used 4, YUM!)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp, in the 20 to 30 per pound range, peeled, rinsed, and dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh spicy paprika (I had regular paprika so I used that)
  • Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
  1. Preheat the broiler and adjust the rack so that it is as close to the heat source as possible.
  2. Very gently, in a large, broad ovenproof skillet or baking pan, warm the olive oil over low heat. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don’t skimp. Put the garlic in the oil and cook for a few minutes, still over low heat, until it turns golden.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to blend and immediately place under the broiler. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice and stirring if necessary, but generally leaving the shrimp undisturbed, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly. This will take from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your broiler. Garnish and serve immediately.

Baked Oatmeal

About 5 years ago we went to visit some friends in Texas. For breakfast one morning my friend Angie made us all baked oatmeal. It was so good and we all loved it. So I asked her for the recipe and have been making it for my family ever since. I serve it warm right out of the oven with a little bit of milk and it’s delicious. I normally double this recipe but this time I didn’t and by the time we were done there wasn’t a crumb left. I used chopped green apple but you could also use raisins, blueberries, peaches or what ever else you might like. The ingredients are:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 Cup brown sugar

In a medium bowl, mix all theses dry ingredients together

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 eggs

In a small bowl mix all of these wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredient to dry ingredients and mix together.

  • 1 small green apple chopped

Add chopped apple to the mixture and combine.

  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Pour mixture into a square baking dish. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and top with pats of cold butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with milk.

Chicken Adobo

The second book I chose out of my collection of cookbooks is How To Cook Everything By Mark Bittman. I don’t know about everyone else but when I get a cookbook I get little paper page tabbies and put one on every recipe that I want to eventually try. I have about 90 tabbies sticking out of this book! So needless to say there are a lot of good-looking recipes that I want to try. The recipe that I chose to try first is a recipe for Chicken Adobo. I don’t know if this is a classic Chicken Adobo recipe. I’ve had Chicken Adobo before and it wasn’t finished off on the grill. Never the less I really liked the char that the grill gave the chicken and it still had great flavor from poaching in the sauce. My kids really liked this recipe they both finished their plates without any coaxing from mom and kept dunking their chicken in the extra sauce saying this is yummy.

This was a good start for this book and it makes me want to keep trying the other recipes. I’ll let you know when I try another one but for now here are the ingredients for Chicken Adobo.

  • 1 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1/2 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole (3-4 pound) chicken, cut up (legs cut in two), trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels; or use 2 pounds bone-in thighs (I used bone-in thighs)
  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a covered pot large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice. (You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate the chicken, in the liquid, for up to a day before proceeding.)
  2. Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler. The fire need not be too hot, but place the rack just 3 or 4 inches from the heat source.
  3. Remove the chicken and dry it gently with paper towels. Boil the sauce over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup; discard bay leaves and keep the sauce warm. Meanwhile, grill or broil the chicken until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with the sauce and white rice.

Quick Loaf Bread

Happy Late New Year Everyone! Well I’ve decided that since I have over 200 cookbooks and cooking magazines (I know a bit excessive, I can’t help it, I collect them) it’s now time to use them or loose them. I guess you can say that’s my New Years cooking resolution! The first cookbook I chose out of my collection is The Best of Food & Wine The Italian Collection. That is where this recipe for Quick Loaf Bread came from. I have to say I wasn’t so sure that this bread was going to ┬áturn out. I’m pretty much a beginner when it comes to ┬ábread making and it seemed to me that my dough wasn’t rising enough. My worries were put to rest with the end result. My bread loaf looked nice and tasted great!

This recipe makes two loaves. I served this fresh bread New Years Eve and we dipped it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I used the rosemary infused olive oil I made a few weeks ago). It was very very good!! The ingredients are:

  • 2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey or sugar (I used sugar)
  • 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups unbleached bread or all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey. Stir briefly and let stand until the yeast dissolves and begins to foam, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir 3 cups of the flour and the salt into the yeast mixture and beat well until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a fairly soft dough; do not add more flour than the dough can absorb.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until the dough is just barely nonsticky, about 2 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat with a light film of oil. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
  4. Punch down the dough and divide in half, place each half in a well-greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Turn out onto racks and let cool before storing.