Entree

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

Oven-fried eggplant parmesan stays extra crunchy when topped with cheese and marinara only just before serving. Served alongside orzo seasoned with parsley.

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

For how much I enjoy eggplant there seems to be a shortage of eggplant recipes only my blog, only five to date and now the sixth today. Most of the recipes are pretty creative though with things such as eggplant veggie burgers, eggplant stuffed shells, and also eggplant manicotti. I do also already have a recipe for the classic eggplant parmesan but the one I am sharing today is a little different. The first version was layered in a casserole after the eggplant was breaded. This time it is served separately in order to preserve the crunchiness of the breading. Slices of fresh mozzarella cheese are thrown on at the end and placed under the broiler just long enough to get all gooey. Served with warm marinara and orzo seasoned with parsley.

One year ago: Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Granola Bars
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Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Slow cookers are great for the spring and summer too. Add your favorite cut of beef and transform it into tender, shredded beef for tacos. 

Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Over the weekend I took a trip into the Smoky Mountains with some friends in an attempt to see the synchronous lightning bugs (aka lightning bug mating season). Although the cabin in which we stayed had a great view of the mountains and a hot tub, sadly there were no more lightning bugs to be seen than anywhere else in east TN. We may have been too high up or not near a big enough clearing but either way we still had a great time. I hope to return to the supposed best location for the viewing of this display later this week with my parents. I’ll try to snag a good photo or video to share, although I am certain there are plenty already on the internet if you search on Google.

As for these tacos, throw some seasoned beef into your slow cooker and then take a hike. Seriously, go walk around in nature (or at least down around your neighborhood) for a few hours and then come home to some awesome tacos served with your favorite toppings. At least that’s what I did and I certainly enjoyed myself. As an added benefit, cooking in the slow cooker does not heat up your house as much as your oven does therefore reducing your bill for central air.

One year ago: S’mores Jar Cake for One

Three years ago: Skillet Chicken with Peppers and Peanuts
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Creamy Chicken Sausage and Kale Pasta

Shake up your regular pasta for dinner with a creamy ricotta sauce, Italian chicken sausage, and hearty kale. Cooks up quick for a great weeknight meal and only uses two pans.

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Kale Pasta 1

We’re almost halfway through the calendar year folks. Which means nearly 6 months have gone by since I graduated with my PhD and my student loans from the past 11 years are about to come knocking on my door. Thankfully I do not have much debt with grad school tuition waived and a stipend the last 7 years. I’ve already taken a chunk out of my undergrad loans thanks to my dad’s help with investing what money I could spare over the years. Thank goodness for a father with money/investing smarts.

Creamy Chicken Sausage and Kale Pasta 2

You know what else is smart? Making this pasta for dinner tonight. One pot for cooking the pasta, one skillet for the rest, and dinner is ready pronto. As an added bonus it also happens to be delicious.

One year ago: Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers with Roasted Garlic Avocado Cream

Three years ago: Veggie Eggs Benedict
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Grilled Steak with Peppers and Potatoes

Start up your grills and get ready for some steak. Paired with sweet bell peppers and red skinned potatoes makes for a great meal to be enjoyed on your patio.

Grilled Steak with Peppers and Potatoes

My mini-road trip adventure continues to Ann Arbor, MI to visit my friend Stephanie who since graduating with me from UTHSC has started a post doc here at UM. She’s trying to convince me to get a job here and manged to get her boss involved! Moving to enemy territory may not be the first thing on my list (if you don’t know college football rivalries just ignore me), but what she is working on it really cool and I would not turn down a job if they found one for me. We shall see how serious they truly are.

If you haven’t started up your grill yet this season now is the time. Whip up this steak with peppers and potatoes and enjoy it on your patio because it’s finally nice out for spring/summer. While the steak grills, you saute the bell peppers and onions. Although next time I want to wrap up the onion, peppers, and seasonings in a foul packet to be cooked on the grill. I found myself running in and out of the house to check on the steak because I am not a grill-master and was unsure how long the steak needed to cook. Thankfully the oven and grill are not terribly far apart haha.

One year ago: Oven-Fried Avocado Tacos with Cilantro Lime Creme

Two years ago: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta
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Grown-Up Macaroni and Cheese

Boxed macaroni and cheese cannot compete with the three cheeses in this grown-up version. Sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and blue cheese will rock your taste buds.

Secret Recipe Club

Happy Memorial Day! And also a happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day. This month I was assigned to Dena’s blog, Oh! You Cook! Not only is she a blogger, she is also a librarian by day and has a cookbook called The Everything Kosher Slow Cooker Cookbook. Regardless of your dietary restrictions however she has scads of recipes everyone can enjoy such as Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole, Chubby-Hubby Truffles, and even Caramelized Banana-Stuffed Fried Oatmeal. Talk about incredible! But with the Memorial holiday I had my sights set on her macaroni and cheese.

This particular mac and cheese is a huge upgrade from the boxed stuff (not that I don’t enjoy that from time to time). It is made with three types of cheese, sharp chedder, Gruyere, and blue cheese. The combination of those three makes for one awesome mac and cheese sauce. Which speaking of I must warn you, while making the cheese sauce for this recipe I was worried that it should have cooked down further or used less milk as it seemed like far too much sauce for the amount of noodles. However once it baked in the oven it was perfect. Do not be concerned with the seemingly excessive amount of sauce pre-baked, it will turn out just right.

Grown-Up Macaroni and Cheese

One year ago: Spaghetti Avocado

Three years ago: Baked Zucchini Fries with Balsamic Aioli
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Pass the Cookbook Club: Michael Symon’s Spicy 50/50 Burger

Mix up your burgers with these Spicy 50/50 Burgers made with ground beef and chorizo. Don’t forget the cheese, cilantro and a toasted bun.

PtCBC 2014

This month for Pass the Cookbook Club, Julie (White Lights on Wednesday) picked recipes from Chef Michael Symon’s 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners. This cookbook is a collection of recipes that can be made from 5 fresh ingredients (along with a few kitchen & pantry staples) in 5 minutes. The italicized items in each recipe are the “5” fresh ingredients.

Spicy 50-50 Burger

The moment I saw the recipe for the burgers I knew I had to make them. Not only are they perfect for Memorial Day, they are also made with half beef and half chorizo. With all the flavors already involved in the combination of those two meats there was no need to add anything else to the mixture except for a little salt and pepper. Topped off with a slice of cheese, fresh cilantro, and a toasted bun there’s not much left to be desired – except maybe some avocado slices which I went ahead and put on there as well. Served with Healthier Elote (Mexican street-style corn) and Baked Sweet Potato Fries seasoned with chili powder and brown sugar.

The only other thing I changed to the recipe was the step that said to flatten the burgers once they were on the hot pan. I refused to follow this step as I prefer thicker burgers. Also, I have to point out that while yes it only takes 5 minutes to cook these burgers, it does take slightly longer than that to prepare from start to finish. But still quick and easy!

One year ago: Almond Toffee Applesauce Bread
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Sweet and Sour Pork

If you love sweet and sour chicken then you’ll love this version with pork. In addition to the typical chunks of pineapple you will also find bell peppers in the mix.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Originally I had wanted to share some sort of BBQ recipe today or at least a BBQ-related side dish.You may think the reason behind this plan was to prepare for the upcoming grilling holiday that is Memorial weekend and while that is not entirely incorrect, it is not my original thought process. The real reason why my mind had been lingering upon BBQ is because I’m heading back to Memphis for the annual Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Festival! It is my favorite festival and therefore a great reason for me to return for the first time since departing the first week of February.

Although today’s recipe is not BBQ, it is pork and that’s halfway there. This one pan stir fry is easy to prepare making it great for dinner tonight. It’s just like sweet and sour chicken except with pork and some bell peppers. Mine was served with a side of corn on the cob which is a bit unusual but hey, when it’s spring time you do not turn down fresh sweet corn!

One year ago: Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes with Hoisin and Cilantro

Two years ago: Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola & Pecans
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Oven-Fried Chicken & Biscuit Waffles #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the second annual brunch week hosted by Terri of Love and Confections and Susan of The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen!  Join us May 5th through 11th while we celebrate the deliciousness of brunch and to prepare for Mother’s Day and summer brunching season.  We have 32 bloggers bringing you their best brunch game, from cocktails to eggs benedict to donuts, there is something for everything this week.  Our amazing sponsors have donated some great prizes for a gigantic giveaway, please visit them all for more information.

BrunchWeek 2014 Logo

Check out all the amazing recipes today:

Brunch Beverages:

Brunch Eggs:

Brunch Mains:

Brunch Sides:

Brunch Breads and Desserts:

Oven-Fried Chicken & Biscuit Waffles

After getting you liquored up yesterday with my Raspberry Tequila Sunrise, how about something savory? For brunch today I am serving up a combination of chicken & biscuits and chicken & waffles using my favorite technique for oven-fried chicken. But this time the Panko breading was seasoned with Cajun seasoning. Then I made waffles out of biscuit batter and topped it all off with a dollop of homemade basil pesto. For a sweeter option, this would also be great topped with some Bonne-Maman fruit preserves.

Don’t forget to check out all of our sponsors and giveaways for your chance to win some great prizes! Click HERE for more information.

One year ago: Spicy Edamame Burgers
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Pass the Cook Book Club: Breakfast Sausage Ravioli & Giveaway

Ravioli is now acceptable for breakfast. Stuffed with fluffy potato, crispy bacon, and spicy pork and then covered in a sage cream sauce. It’s a dream come true.

PtCBC 2014

If you are like me, you accumulate cookbooks faster than cooking from them. Kita (Pass the Sushi and Girl Carnivore) saw a need and filled it by creating Pass the Cook Book Club. Every month a three recipes are picked from one cookbook and on the 4th Thursday we share what we made. This month I had the honor of picking the cookbook and recipes.

It was an easy decision to pick the Breakfast for Dinner cookbook by Lindsay Landis and Taylor Hackbarth (Love & Olive Oil), but narrowing down the recipe choices to three proved incredibly difficult. I’ve been wanting to cook from this cookbook ever since they came to Memphis (yea it took me way too long, don’t shun me Lindsay & Taylor) and there were far more than three which would have made my taste buds throw a party. Little pagemarkers were sticking out all over the place that I may as well have marked off every recipe. But there can only be three so in the end I chose Breakfast Sausage Ravioli, Italian-Style Stuffed French Toast, and Lemon Poppy Seed Thumbprints. And as the syrup on top (instead of cherry since this is breakfast we’re talking about) we are also giving away 3 copies of Breakfast for Dinner to our readers! After checking out everyone’s recipes, be sure to use the Rafflecopter widget to enter.

breakfast-for-dinner-book

As you already know, I made the breakfast ravioli. This was the #1 recipe on my list of things to make from this cookbook because not only have I only made homemade ravioli a handful of times (which I realize I more than most), but it’s breakfast-ized! How amazing is the world that we live in to have ravioli for breakfast!? Of course they are stuffed with all kinds of breakfasty goodness such as fluffy potato, crispy bacon, and spicy pork, but what made me fall in love was the sauce – the creamy, buttery, sage-flavored sauce. It was so amazing that I had to double the recipe for the sauce. It took a lot of self control to not rub it all over my face.

Breakfast Sausage Ravioli

One year ago: Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Greek Yogurt

Two years ago: Whole Wheat Thin Crust Pizza Dough
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Grilled Chicken Gyro Salad with Pita Croutons

If you love gyros then you need to make this gyro salad. It’s a Greek salad topped with grilled chicken, homemade pita croutons, and tzatziki dressing.

Grilled Chicken Gyro Salad

I do not repeat recipes often but when I do I typically change them up slightly. Today is one such example, where I deconstructed the recipe for my chicken gyros into a salad. Gyro-seasoned chicken is grilled to perfection and served over a Greek salad topped with homemade pita croutons and tzatziki dressing. The grilled chicken could easily be enjoyed by itself as it is tender, juicy, flavorful, etc… but the remaining components work to further enhance the experience. Although this recipe has quite a ridiculously long ingredient list do not be discouraged because it is relatively simple to throw together. Toss the chicken in the marinade, whisk together the dressing, toast the croutons (or use store-bought), chop up the salad and then grill the chicken. That’s only 5 steps and the longest task is marinading the chicken, which is inactive time.

One year ago: Funfetti Macarons

Three years ago: Mexican Mac and Cheese
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