Roasted Veg “Parmigiana”

I love eggplant parm, but it is (a) not the healthiest of meals and (b) it really really time consuming to make. This is my fake out version that take wayyyyy less time and effort and clocks in at around 450 calories for a whole bowl. Pretty good deal.

Ingredients for one serving:

  • One small to medium eggplant (i love graffiti eggplants, they are so pretty)
  • One bell pepper, color of your choice
  • About 12 or so grape tomatoes
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • handful chopped basil and parsley
  • 1 tablespoons shaved asiago cheese or cheese of your choice
  • salt and pepper

First prep the eggplant by cutting into thin half moons, placing on a paper towel and sprinkling with salt to draw out the excess moisture, let stand for approximately 30 min.  While the eggplant preps, pre-heat oven to 425F.

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Cover a baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Dab eggplant with a paper towel to dry off any residual moisture.  Chop pepper and add pepper, tomatoes and eggplant to baking dish.  Spray with cooking spray sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until the veg starts to brown.

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Towards the end of the veg cooking, start the bread crumb topping.  Add the olive oil and garlic to a pan and saute for a minute or too until fragrant.  Add the breadcrumbs and toad until golden brown, then toss with the chopped herbs.
Plate veg, top with the bread crumbs and add the finishing touch of cheese.

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Seasame Garlic Eggplant (aka my new favorite dinner)

Very rarely do I make something for dinner and then immediately think “Wow that was good! I think I will make that again tomorrow!” But that exact thing happened yesterday. I love eggplant but I don’t often cook it for myself, but I thought I would take on the challenge of this recipe, the original found here: http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2012/05/sesame-garlic-eggplant-low-carb-and-gluten-free.html. I make a few adjustments to the original, I added half a chopped yellow pepper that I had on hand and substituted the xanthan gum for corn starch.  Also between salting the eggplant and the soy souse in the recipe there is the potential for a very salty dish, so I would suggest using low sodium soy sause (which I did) and a squeeze of lime juice at the end to cut through some of that salt.

I served this with some brown rice, a fried egg and some chopped green onions on top, Making this a very simple and easy Tuesday night dinner.

Sesame Garlic Eggplant:

  • 2 small eggplants
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy souse
  • ½ tsp ground ginger or fresh grated
  • ½ tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Chop eggplant into one inch cubes, place in a colander and spring with salt. Let drain for an hour.

Heat oil over medium heat, add eggplant and peppers and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.

While eggplant is cooking, mix water, soy sauce and ginger together.  After garlic had been added, add the sauce mix and stir to combine. Sprinkle with corn starch and let thicken.

Remove from the heat, drizzle with sesame oil and top with sesame seeds.

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Caitlin Cookies (Gluten Free!)

This weekend I developed a recipe for my dear friend Caitlin who was in need of some cookies.

These came out much better then I had originally planned! These could very easily become vegan by using non-dairy butter.

Strawberry Shortbread Cookies:

  • 1 Stick unsalted butter (8 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • Zest of one Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dired strawberries, crushed to form powder
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together the butter, honey, sugar, lemon zest and lemon extract.

Mix the berry powder, cornstarch, flour, and salt together then add gradually to wet ingredients to form a soft dough.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes. Then roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.

Bake in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!🙂

 

Copy-Cat Salad

At a family dinner recently, my mother and I experienced salad perfection. The harvest salad at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA. It is a perfect combination of roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, dried cranberries and apple cider dressing.  I tried to duplicate this perfection, with mediocre results.

My version was good, though it did not quite reach the awesome-ness of the original. I suspect this has to do with my dressing choice, I was lazy and used a pre-made pomegranate vinaigrette, which did not exactly match the flavors of the original apple cider dressing.

I added almonds to my version as I was taking it with me to work for lunch and felt it could use the added protein to get me through the second half of my day.

Harvest Salad:

  • Roasted Butternut Squash
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Almonds
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Pomegranate dressing

To roast the squash:

Peal and dice the squash into uniform small pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 F for 30minutes or until brown on the edges.

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Amazing Cheesecake Stuffed Strtawberries

I don’t like this “pintrest” thing. It clogs up my twitter and facebook feeds. I do however enjoy trolling the web for new recipes.  When I saw this recipe I had to try it.

I ended up making these the day before to bring to a family dinner, but had to make two batched because people kept eating them!  They are that good and extremely easy. The original recipe suggested cutting off the end of the strawberries so they could stand. I did that with my first batch, but they were still very wobbly, so I skipped that step with the second batch.

Rather than buying pre-crushed graham crackers, I prefer to smash my own… get out some of by frustrations. Also I like the look of various sized crumbs.

When I make these again I’m planning on swapping the vanilla extract for almond and topping with sliver almonds.

Original Recipe found on: http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2011/05/30/cheesecake-stuffed-strawberries/

  • 1 pound Strawberries washed and hollowed out (cut of the tops and use a paring knife to remove some of the center)
  • 1  8oz package of cream cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • graham cracker crumbs

When all strawberries have been prepped, mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add to a ziplock bag and snip off the end of a corner. Use the bag to pipe the filling into each prepared strawberry. Dip the strawberry into the prepared graham crackers.

This was most defiantly a successful experiment🙂

 

Less-than-perfect cake truffles

This past weekend I had my first foray into the trendy world of cake pops/cake truffles. I was meeting up with some friends that I don’t see very often, and figure they would be excellent test subjects. I Google-ed “mocha cake pops” and tried the first recipie that came up: http://thekitchenismyplayground.blogspot.com/2011/08/mocha-cake-ball-truffles.html

Of course I didn’t want to make a special trip tout to get candy melts, and I fiugred that I would just make a dark-chocolate ganache instead…. big mistake. The mixture was way too thick to cover the truffles easily, mostly creating a goopy mess.

I have very nice friends who praised my attempts, and flavor wise they were very good, but in the future I will make the extra trip for candy melts to easy the coating process.

 

Veg Shepard’s Pie

I did some experimenting this weekend. I attempted a vegetarian shepard’s pie, with out fake meat. I’m not against fake meat entirely, but in baked or long cooking dishes, it never seems to hold up, texture wise. So to substitute I used lentils and mushrooms to give this dish the hearty quality that is sometimes missing in a dinner made only of mashed potatoes and veg.

This was a full on experiment, no measuring, no timing, no over thinking. I have to say it’s pretty good. In the future I would maybe pre-cook the lentils.  I was worried about them getting to mushy in the oven and ended up with lentils that had a pretty substantial bite to them… not necessarily in a good way, but other than that i think it was a good first try.

Sort-of recipe:

Parsley Mashed potatoes:

  • 4 red skinned potatoes
  • minced garlic
  • margerine
  • fat-free half and half
  • lots of parsley
  • pepper

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender,  mash with a small pat of the margerine, a splash of the half and half, one clove of minced garlic and LOTS of parsley. Add pepper to taste. Set aside

Filling (amounts are estimates):

  •  1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • teaspoon tomato paste
  • Veg. broth
  • fresh thyme
  • cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, garlic and carrot in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes to get soft, add the mushrooms and lentils. once the mushrooms cook down add the tomato paste, broth and a few springs of thyme and simmer until lentils are soft, add more liquid if needed.  once lentils are cooked, use corn starch to thicken sauce if needed and add peas. Assemble pie in oven safe dish filling first them add potatoes on top. Store, or bake in a 350 oven for about 20minutes or until top is golden brown.

When I make dishes like this is usually assemble them into single serve disposable mini-loaf pans then freeze a few for days when I don’t want to cook… not the most “green” thing, but i do what I can

 

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