Monthly Archives: July 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

My daddy was always a wonderful cook growing up, and one of his best dishes was eggplant parmesan. I stole his recipe and made a couple of tweaks, but the essence is the same – and delicious. This dish is very involved, so make sure you have a couple hours to do it right. Your tastebuds will thank you for the effort.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggplants, thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 tsp. ground thyme, plus 1 tsp.
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano, plus 2 Tbs.
  • 2 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, plus 1 tsp.
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup button or crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 7-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs.+ canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. anise seed
  • 2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella
  • 1 lb. thin spaghetti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. In a separate bowl, stir together bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings. Coat thin slices of eggplant in egg, then dust with bread crumb mixture. Let sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes. This well help the breading stick to it.
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Heat large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
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Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, anise seed, fennel seed, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cover.
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Meanwhile, in a separate skillet over medium-high heat, heat canola oil. Lightly fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown on both sides, then drain on paper towels.
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Now it’s time to assemble the casserole. In a 3 quart casserole dish, ladle 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom. Cover this with fried eggplant, then ladle another 1/3 of sauce on top. Sprinkle with both cheeses. Top this layer with more eggplant, more sauce, and then top with with the rest of the cheese.
IMG_4273Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Broil for 2-5 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
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Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta. Serve eggplant parmesan with the spaghetti. Enjoy!
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Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

Everybody has a different definition of what “comfort food” means to them. For me, it’s spaghetti with meat sauce (otherwise known as spaghetti bolognese). It was my favorite meal in my school cafeteria, and you KNOW I made a spaghetti sandwich with my dinner roll (you did it, too, don’t deny it!). This spaghetti bolognese recipe takes only about 30 minutes from start to finish. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll make sure it becomes a part of your “comfort food” lexicon!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, choppedĀ 
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar pasta sauce of your choosing
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. anise seed
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil into pan. Saute onions and mushrooms until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
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Add ground beef, cook until fully browned.
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Stir in jar of pasta sauce. Season to taste. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
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Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente.
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Drain pasta. Ladle bolognese sauce over spaghetti, and top with freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!
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