Posts Tagged ‘Italian’
Finally decided to get a z-pack in order to fend away this lingering sinusitis that I’ve been battling, but it hasn’t seemed to greatly increase my recovery rate. I may be wrong, but I feel as though the improvements this far are merely my own body’s accomplishments. Guess that means it could be viral, but either way it’s been a week and I’m tired of having stopped up nose and ears. So with that, let’s talk about some healthy comfort food.
If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, this this is a great place to start. As someone who has played around with quinoa a bunch, this was by far my favorite recipe using quinoa. It’s a healthier version of Chicken Parm! I’m almost mad at myself for not trying it sooner, especially after Tracey raved about it. I did note that she mentioned missing the breading on the chicken in the recipe she posted, so I decided to bread my chicken up! Obviously I do not know what it would’ve been like without it, but was very pleased with the results.
Two years ago: White Bean Chicken Chili
BAKED QUINOA CHICKEN PARMESAN
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
16 oz. chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup toasted Panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed with cold water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet. Coat the rack with cooking spray and set aside. Also spray a 2-qt baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- To make the chicken: Place the buttermilk in one shallow dish, and then combine the Panko, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a second shallow dish. Add chicken pieces to the buttermilk, turning to coat. Remove and dredge in Panko mixture. Arrange chicken on prepared wire rack and spray tops with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until done. Set chicken aside.
- To make the sauce: Add the oil to a large saucepan set over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add the vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Continue cooking until the vinegar is almost completely absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer as you continue with the recipe.
- To make the quinoa: Transfer the quinoa to a saucepan and add the chicken broth. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
- When the quinoa is almost done cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add the cooked quinoa and the chicken to the sauce and stir to combine. Add half of this mixture to the prepared baking dish then top with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Add the remaining half of the quinoa mixture and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Top with the Parmesan cheese and then the breadcrumbs.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with the parsley before serving.
I didn’t realize until posting this recipe that I accidentally doubled the turkey from the original recipe. I wondered why my meatballs seemed a little large! Oh well, they are still good for you – packed with spinach, oats, and yogurt. If you want the ratio of healthiness per bite to be higher then use 1/2 lb turkey (but of course it will serve less people).
They are not the most photogenic meatballs, but they are super moist and full of flavor. I also enjoyed the chunkier style of the sauce as a change from the pureed pasta sauce. Even though I’m typically not a fan of chunky sauce, it was perfect for this dish. And this is a one-pot meal! Hooray for less dishes to wash!
OATMEAL MEATBALLS WITH SPINACH
Makes 16 large meatballs (Serves 6-8)
1/2 cup instant oats
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup packed baby spinach, thinly sliced
1/4 cup packed basil, chopped, plus 1 sprig
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg white
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb all-white-meat ground turkey
Olive oil cooking spray
1 can (26 oz) diced tomatoes, plus juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-13.25 oz box whole-wheat pasta, cooked according to the package instructions (I used penne)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix oats and yogurt with 1/4 cup water in a bowl until oats begin to absorb liquid. Add spinach, basil, Parmesan, egg white, half the garlic, salt and pepper, and stir. Add turkey and mix until well combined. Form into 16 large meatballs.
- Coat a large, oven-safe stockpot with cooking spray. Add meatballs and bake until they begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn and bake 10 minutes more. Add remaining garlic, basil sprig, tomatoes and wine. Cover and cook until meatballs are cooked through and sauce begins to thicken, 20 minutes. Serve immediately with pasta.
Source: Slightly adapted from SELF Magazine
A quick meat sauce and some pasta was one of two meals I ate frequently during undergrad (the other was stir fry). I loved it because not only was it quick and needed few ingredients, but it made plenty of leftovers for subsequent lunches and dinners. Somehow I have less free time the past four years of graduate school, yet I cook many more things that take much more time than before. Go figure.
This dish I found from Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats, inspired by Sbarro. To me it is a pumped up version of the simple meat sauce and pasta. Now it has cheese and is baked! Even though this only takes 20 minutes longer (because of baking time), I wanted to eat my arm by the time it was done. But I had just been at spin class for 1.5 hours and food was the only thing I could think about. This may come as a surprise but this was much more satisfying than my arm could’ve ever been. And I made it with piccolini farfalle! They are just too darn cute to not enjoy.
BAKED MINI BOWTIES
16 oz. (1 box) piccolini farfalle (mini bowtie) pasta
3/4 lb. 90/10 ground beef
1 cup shredded and 1 cup sliced* fresh Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 jar marinara sauce
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until just under al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, season ground beef with garlic salt & pepper and brown in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain and add to the pasta.
- Add 1 cup shredded Mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce to the pasta and beef. Mix to combine.
- Pour into a non-stick sprayed 9×13″ pan and top with sliced Mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with parsley.
*You can use all shredded Mozzarella, I just thought it looked pretty to have globs of melted Mozzarella on top.
Source: Iowa Girl Eats
I fell in love with the eggplant burgers I made last week. So much in love that I wanted to try stuffing them into pasta and covering them in sauce. And that’s exactly what I did. Changed a few little things in the eggplant to go along with the Italian flavors, and then sauced it up with not one but TWO sauces. You will have leftover marinara sauce, but I assure you it will not go to waste.
And these stuffed morsels? I was at a loss for words after the first bite. It may take a but of time, but good grief was is more than worth it! Make it. Now. I promise you will fall in love – again.
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
4 oz mascarpone cheese
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
EGGPLANT & SHELLS
20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked
2 large eggplants, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt and black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
- First, make the marinara sauce. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions for 4-5 minutes, add the garlic and roast for another 2-3 minutes. Pour in the can of tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender), puree until you reach a desired consistency. Turn heat to low and cover until ready to assemble the shells.
- For the eggplant, heat a tablepsoon of oil over medium-low in a large pan and cook the cubed eggplant down to a mushy mass, stirring occasionally for approximately 25 minutes. Remove it from the pan and put it in a large bowl.
- In the same pan, lightly sauté the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add to the bowl of cooked eggplant.
- Stir in the parsley, Mozzarella, bread crumbs, and seasonings into the eggplant mixture. Get in there with your hands and mix it up. Set in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to chill.
- Meanwhile, prepare the bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a non-stick sauce pan and slowly add the flour a teaspoon at a time, whisking until well blended (about 3 minutes). Next, whisk in the cream and milk and increase the heat to high until the sauce begins to simmer. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg- cook for another 3 minute then turn heat to low and allow to sit until time to assemble the stuffed shells.
- Pour the bechamel sauce into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Scoop a few tablespoons of eggplant filling inside each cooked shell. Place each pasta shell in the sauce, seam up. Dollop a spoonful of the marinara sauce over each shell. Cover the dish with foil and bake it for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake it for a final 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired, and serve immediately.
Leah and I made this last night to kick off our Harry Potter movie marathon, in preparation for the final movie coming out next week. You better believe we are going to the midnight showing! Unfortunately, the four others we convinced to start the marathon with us last night (4 who have never watched any of the movies, let alone read the books – blasphemy I say) will probably not be joining us for the duration. Advantage of reading the books as they came out (totally waiting in line more than once at midnight for it) and then watching the movies right as they hit the screen, I suppose. Somehow this meal wasn’t enough to convince them to come back for more.
This was the second time I’ve played with the Philadelphia cooking creme, and I continue to love it. I really need to try the other blends, because it makes for fun and quick meals. This dish in particular was almost a little too spicy for Leah, but I not only got seconds but thirds. And the not-so-much-Harry Potter fans found something else to be a fan of. In other words it was just marvelous… darling.
Oh, and this is completely unrelated but if I had a bunch of money lying around, I would buy these shoes in a heart beat. Size 7, mk thanks O:-).
1 lb fettuccine noodles (used Ronzoni’s Garden Delight)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb hot Italian turkey sausage, sliced thin
16 oz package frozen vegetable medley (used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash)
1 tub (10 0z) Philadelphia Italian Herb and Cheese Blend Cooking Creme
1/2 cup – 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
- Cook noodles according to directions. reserve pasta water.
- Heat large skillet over medium high heat with olive oil. Brown sausages for about 7 minutes. Add frozen vegetables, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables have thawed out. Add cooking creme and noodles to skillet and stir together. Add reserved pasta water, one ladle at at a time, until sauce is to your desired consistency. Stir in Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes as garnish.
Source: PB & Kelly
Ever since I heard about the Philadelphia Cooking Cream, I’ve wanted to try it out. )I love cooking with cream cheese, in case you hadn’t noticed.) Since I had a coupon for it during my last trip to the grocery, I decided to pick it up finally. But then I had to figure out what to make with it. I decided to start small so I could use it in more than one dish. After seeing the original recipe by Tanya at Sunday Baker I knew the cooking cream had to go in there. After all, what’s better than Italian or Mexican food? Fusing them together to create Chicken Parmesan in a tortilla! It’s so easy to make and incredibly satisfying.
4-8″ whole wheat tortillas
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast
2 Tbsp finely chopped frozen spinach, thawed (or fresh)
1/4 cup shredded Mozzeralla
1/8 cup shredded Parmesan
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread 1/2 Tbsp of the cooking cream on the top of two tortillas. Sprinkle each with the minced garlic. Top with the chicken, spinach and cheese. Spread the remaining cooking cream on the bottom of the other two tortillas and sandwich together with the topped tortillas.
- Place quesadillas on a large ungreased baking sheet. Brush olive oil and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top for extra taste.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tortilla is crispy golden and the cheese is melted. Serve with a side of warm marinara dipping sauce.
Source: Adapted from Sunday Baker
A couple years ago, a group of friends and I went to a hands-on Viking Cooking School one-night class. It had to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had, but I may have been biased due to the complimentary wine they kept pouring in my glass while we cooked. This is everything we made/ate:
- Marinated Roasted Red Peppers and Olives
- Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato-Pancetta Butter
- Veal Scaloppini with Prosciutto and Sage (Saltimbocca alla Romana)
- Chocolate Gelato with Cherries rolled in Bittersweet Chocolate (Tartufo)
- Sparkling Wine with Fresh Strawberry Puree (Rossinis)
Seriously, we ate all of that and I should’ve been rolled home.
Thankfully we were provided with all the recipes, because I have remade several of them already for various occasions or just for dinner again. Unfortunately, I had never fully recreated the ravioli (until now) because I lacked the tools necessary to do so. (I’ve been using frozen pre-made ravioli instead and just making the Tomato-Pancetta butter – which I welcome you to try if making homemade pasta isn’t up your alley.)
But guess what? I own the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Pasta Roller attachments now! Hooray!! So I decided to make these lovely things, but attempted them in whole wheat. Unfortunately the texture wasn’t quite right, but the saving grace is that they still tasted wonderful. I’m not sure anything stuffed with ricotta, Romano and spinach, covered in butter, sun-dried tomatoes and pancetta could ever be unpleasant.
If you’re lucky I may make more of the others recipes from that night and post them soon .
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for rolling dough (or all-purpose for the original recipe)
1 tsp kosher salt
- In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the eggs and oil to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and salt. While the machine is running, add the flour mixture through the feed tube. Process until the mixture holds together and forms a ball. (Note: If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of warm water and process briefly. If the dough is too sticky, remove it from the processor and knead it with just enough flour to make it smooth and elastic.)
- Remove the dough from the work bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Cut the pasta dough into fourths. Wrap three of the pieces in plastic wrap, then set aside until needed. Flatten the remaining piece into a rectangle, approximately the same width as the pasta machine rollers. Adjust the pasta machine rollers to their widest setting.
- Roll the rectangle of pasta through the rollers one time. Then, fold the rectangle into thirds and feed it through the rollers 6-8 more times, folding the dough into thirds each time. Dust lightly with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking. Tighten the rollers of the pastas machine one notch, and feed the dough through the rollers without folding. Continue to feed the dough through the rollers without folding, tightening the rollers one notch each time, until the pasta is the desired thickness.
- Repeat the rolling process with the remaining three pieces of dough. Allow the pasta sheets to dry for 5 minutes before filling.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-10 oz. bag spinach, tough stems removed
Salt and black pepper, to taste
7.5 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 pinch nutmeg
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat; add the oil and heat through. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to sizzle, about 15-20 seconds. Then, add the spinach in large handfuls, stirring to wilt before adding more. Cook until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes; season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool completely.
When cool enough to handle, finely chop the spinach. Place the chopped spinach in the center of a large, square, dampened piece of cheesecloth folded double. Draw up the sides to form a pouch, then twist and squeeze to extract the excess moisture; transfer the chopped spinach to a medium bowl.
Stir in the ricotta cheese, egg, Pecorino Romano and nutmeg; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, the set aside until needed.
Using a ravioli form, lightly coat with nonstick spray and lay a sheet of pasta over it. Place the top of the form on the pasta sheet, pressing gently to make impressions for the filling. Remove the top of the form, and place 1 tablespoon of filling in each impression. Lightly moisten the border of the pasta sheet and in between the filling with water, using a pastry brush. Cover the filled impressions with a second sheet of dough. use a rolling pin to roll over the top of the form to cut and separate the ravioli. Push the finished ravioli out of the form. Transfer the ravioli to a flour-dusted baking sheet or a clean kitchen towel; let dry for 5-10 minutes. (Meanwhile, prepare butter – below)
Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and immediately stir to separate the individual pieces. Cook the ravioli, stirring once of twice during cooking, until al dente, about 2 minutes, or until they float. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon, then transfer to paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth to drain.
3 oz thinly sliced pancetta (3/4 cup chopped)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
Black pepper, to taste
- Place the chopped pancetta in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat; cook until crisp and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined dish to drain; allow to cool to room temperature. (Meanwhile, cook the pasta – above)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all but 2 tablespoonfuls of the cooked pancetta with the butter, diced tomatoes and thyme. Season to taste with pepper, then set aside until needed. Reserve the remaining pancetta for garnish.
- Gently melt the tomato-pancetta butter. Place the cooked ravioli in a warmed serving bowl; pour the butter over the ravioli, and toss to coat. Garnish with grated Pecorino Romano, the reserved pancetta and the thyme sprigs; serve immediately.
Although I do not frequent the Olive Garden often at all, I do enjoy their salad. Of course that meant when I craved it the other day I had to figure out how to make it on my own. Thanks to Copykat Recipes I was able to recreate the salad and dressing without troubleshooting (yes I was lazy). And it really does taste like their salad! I may have to use the dressing on other things too now that I’ve got my hands on it.
I served this along with dinner Saturday night with a group of friends. Huge hit! One person was even tricked into liking mayonnaise, which is part of the dressing. I feel like a mom trying to think of ways to get her kids to eat vegetables, but in this case it’s a not-so-healthy item O:-).
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 Tbsp Parmesan, shredded
2 Tbsp Romano, shredded
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp Parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined. Add sugar to taste (I used 1/2 Tbsp). Place in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
1-12 oz bag American blend salad
4-5 red onion slices
4-5 black olives, sliced (I don’t like olives so I opted out)
2-4 pepperoncini or banana peppers
1/2 cup croutons
Small tomato, chopped
Fresh shredded Parmesan, for topping
- Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss. Top with Parmesan and serve with dressing.
What’s better than a great meal and a movie? Sharing the experience with friends while in PJs! Last Friday I got together with a couple friends to cook dinner and watched movies… and yes all while we rocked our favorite pajamas. Which meant I was wearing my Ohio State sweatpants, doubling as my spirit for the night since our Basketball team was playing. Unfortunately they did not feel the spirit enough to pull out a win, but at least dinner was a success.
While preparing and cooking dinner we were eating more than enough Avocado Salsa, which I must get the recipe from Young-In to make again. Then Stephanie shook up some Cosmopolitan’s and kept them coming. Which lead to very giggly girls, especially when we put on mud masks later in the evening. Yet we somehow proceeded to pass our while watching the first Underworld (P.S. I have a girl-crush on Kate Bekinsale). Guess that’s what happens when you try to watch a movie starting at midnight after great food and drinks. O:-)
For the main event, we made Eggplant Parmesan and used Young-In’s husband Chris’ pasta sauce which he so kindly made in advance for us to use while he was out of town for the weekend. You can use your own favorite homemade sauce, or just use a jar. Or actually, go to Annie’s Eats for the sauce recipe she used. Also, we used Romano cheese, so I suppose this should really be called Eggplant Romano. Oh well, close enough. It turned out great so it obviously did not hurt anything and the eggplant was nice and crisp. Which leads to me to advise that the most important step is draining the eggplant! How else are you going to achieve that cripsy goodness?
Once everything was done, dinner was served with spinach salad, garlic knots, whole wheat spaghetti and cosmopolitans. And don’t forget dessert! We had Strawberry Nutella Bread Pudding, which I will share with you tomorrow.
1 lb. globe eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 cups bread crumbs
1-1/2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, about 3/4 cup
Pinch of salt
1 tsp pepper, divided
3/4 cup flour
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 cup pasta sauce, plus more for serving
4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Fresh basil leaves, torn, for garnish
- To prepare the eggplant, toss the eggplant slices with the kosher salt in a large bowl until combined. Transfer the salted eggplant to a colander and set the colander over the now empty bowl. Let stand until the eggplant releases at least 1 tablespoon liquid, 30-45 minutes. Spread the eggplant slices on a triple thickness of paper towels (or layers of clean kitchen towels); cover with another triple thickness of paper towels. Press firmly on each slice to remove as much liquid as possible. Wipe off any excess salt.
- While the eggplant is draining, place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Place the bread crumbs in a pie plate and mix in the cheese, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
- Combine the flour and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a large zipper lock plastic bag; shake to combine. Beat the eggs in a second pie plate. Place about half of the eggplant slices in the bag with the flour; seal and shake to coat. Remove the slices, shaking off the excess flour. Dip in the eggs, letting the excess run off. Coat evenly with the bread crumb mixture. Set the breaded slices on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining eggplant until all the slices are breaded.
- Remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven. Add the vegetable oil to the sheet and tilt to coat evenly (or use a brush). Place the breaded eggplant slices on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes and flipping the slices after 20 minutes. Do not turn off the oven after the slices are baked.
- To assemble the dish, spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Layer in half of the eggplant slices, overlapping the slices to fit. Spread with another 1/2 cup of the sauce. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Layer in the remaining eggplant and dot with the remaining sauce, leaving the majority of the eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the cheese is browned, 13-15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, scatter the basil over the top, and serve with your favorite pasta.
Source: Adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats
After Brent’s fabulous vacation to Costa Rica & Panama, he has adopted yet another expensive hobby – scuba diving. However, this activity is one I think I may need to get into as well. Fortunately, he found the Dive Shop where they offered to take me in the pool for free to first see if I would even like it before I go spending money on classes. Umm, yes please! Let it be known that I will be breathing under water by the end of today.
In other news, I’ve been craving Chicken Parmesan for quite some time, but decided to try and change it up a bit. As if a light-bulb popped out of my head like in the cartoons, meatball-style came to mind. Even decided to stuff it with Mozzarella instead of putting it on top – stuffed yet inside-out? Whatever it is, I love it. The meatballs were even a bit crunchy on the outside, which convinced me to refrain from coating the meatballs in a Parmesan-bread crumb crust. Also whipped up some roasted broccoli and garlic knots to go along.
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 lb ground chicken breasts
1 Tbsp grill seasoning blend
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
Handful of parsley, chopped
4 oz Mozzarella, cut into 12 cubes
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Coat a medium skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the basil, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.
- While the sauce cooks, place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Mix in the egg, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and squish to flatten them; place one cube of Mozzarella in each, forming the meatball around the cheese. Bake the meatballs in a baking pan for 15 minutes until golden and firm. Remove from oven.
- Serve over spaghetti topped with Parmesan cheese, yum!