Monday, July 30, 2012

Melt in your mouth: Eggplant Parmesan Omelet.

I love summertime, I love getting fresh stuff from the local stands, farmers market, friends gardens and my own back yard.

I frequent a little fruit stand Gift shop down the street and she had some eggplant that I couldn't resist! I grabbed one and the next morning I knew what I was going to do.

Somewhere along the line I have to have some Italian in me because my love for Italian flavors is enormous (and I can eat garlic raw) I love eggplant parmesan but I am so picky about it, I never order it out because it is always over sauced and soggy. I knew I could make an omelet that was sure to please my picky palate.

What you need:

2 slices of eggplant (1/2" thick)- diced. ( I did not peel my eggplant because I knew frying it like this wouldn't make it so tough, it was also a small locally grown plant so the skin wasn't so waxy- If you are unsure as to what to do, I suggest you peel it so you don't get turned off by the possibility of tough skin)
Plain bread crumbs (about a cup or so)
2 eggs (one for the omelet one for the egg wash to batter the eggplant (that is the word egg in one sentence too many times :) )
Fresh Thyme, dried Oregano, dried or fresh Parsley & fresh basil (dried spices will do fine as well for all of them but you may need to adjust the amounts)
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
hand full of cherry tomatoes
garlic clove
shallot (small piece of one)

Put your diced eggplant in one egg (well beaten)

To your bread crumbs add thyme (I used two twigs) oregano (about a TBSP) Dried parsley (about a TBSP) fresh grated parmesan (about 2 TBSP but probably a little more- eyeball it. I always taste my bread crumbs to be sure that they are seasoned well before I roll anything in it)

Now put your eggplant into the bread crumbs and coat well

In a small skillet with a bit of olive oil fry the eggplant and half the shallot until golden brown (salt and pepper to taste).

(I own one small skillet so I would wipe it clean and use the same on for each step, you can use 2 skillets if you like :) )

Now I made my omelet, one egg with a splash of melt beaten well. in a skillet on medium heat melt tbsp of butter. once butter is melted swirl around to coat entire pan well. add egg, cook slowly- I use number 4 on my burner and it works perfect- cook the omelet constantly removing and swirling to ensure thoroughly cooked. Once done add the eggplant and mozzarella cheese

Slide the omelet on a plate and flip it in half

in the skillet saute the other half of shallot & garlic when they are done add the tomatoes (halved) some fresh basil and parsley cook just until heated (salt and pepper to taste). I added a pinch of the bread crumbs for texture. Top the omelet with saute mixture and some more parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spaghetti squash that will change your life!

1 spaghetti squash mine was medium sized. Prick with knife and roast on 350 for about an hour ( I bumped mine up to 450 for about 20 minutes then back to 350 for another 20 because I was starving ;) )

You can either cut your Brussel sprouts in half and throw them on baking sheet with squash for about the last 30 minutes ( drizzle with olive oil) or sauté them with the onions (if sautéing cut in quarters)

Once squash is done cut in half discard seeds and scrape the noodle like flesh out. In pan with olive oil (or about 2 tbsp butter) sauté 1 vidala onion until soft (if sautéing sprouts do those now too) add 1 large clove garlic minced and about 5 baby portabella mushrooms sliced. ( you'll need to add those last since the garlic will burn and the mushrooms will get soggy). Toss the squash in with a pad of butter, salt and pepper add Parmesan cheese and serve, I'm not kidding it is to die for.

If the computer wasn't broken I'd upload a pic :(

Monday, April 16, 2012

Update #2 Jambalaya

I almost didn't get to take pictures I made it Thursday night and stuck it in the fridge, by lunch time the boys had eaten almost all of it.

It was so good, I mean so good. Here is what I did. I started off thinking I was going to use the crock pot recipe well when I finally started my veggies I thought, hmm my crock pot isn't big enough. So in the stock pot it went. Please don't cry when you read the ingredients and directions.

Green Pepper
Sriracha sauce
Emeril's Bayou Blast (I mean he is cajun, he is bound to know what seasonings to use, right?) I am not sure about the gluten content of his seasonings, but you could use cayenne, paprika, ground mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and maybe some dried lemon zest...I ended up using about 2 1/2-3 TBS of the bayou blast
Chicken breast- I used 3 breasts with rib meat, they were rather large.
Smoked sausage 1 package, I used the turkey sausage
Shrimp (I used 1 bag of 41-50 count)
Rice- I had on hand those boil-n-bag rice things so I used three of them
1 box of Chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Oregano (about TBS)
3 Bay leaves

In The pan I melted a stick of butter (yes, a stick...actually there were about 2 pads missing off of it and I slapped it in the pan, just call me Mrs. Butterton)
To that butter I added my diced onion, celery and green pepper until softened, (I season every layer of this so I added my bayou blast and a tad of salt and pepper because the seasoning was already salty in my opinion) I poached my chicken first (because it was frozen, shame on me) But you don't have to if it is thawed...dice that up and add it in. season. I added the whole entire box of chicken stock (and only used water as needed to keep it the consistency I wanted- like near the end where I didn't want to scorch it and the next day when I warmed it up and the next day, some like it really soupy though)my bay leaves and oregano Once the chicken was done I added the sausage and last I added the shrimp. Tasted it and decided I needed to add more heat- enter sriracha sauce I did a healthy squirt probably about 2 TBS or so. At the very end I put in the rice, now I added it in the bag and cooked it partially then realized that was stupid and opened them up and let it cook all together. By the time it was done the rice was nice, the chicken was shredded nicely and the shrimp were perfect. It wasn't too spicy, just enough to make you want to drink a beer.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Party update #1... Cheesecake stuffed strawberries.

My Jambalaya is done, I made it last night and I am glad I did. I ended up NOT using a slow cooker. I will update that with pictures later and recipe.

So I made my Cheesecake stuffed strawberries this morning. There are tons of these floating on pinterest but I decided the boxed jello cheesecake mix was not good enough for me.

Here is what I did.

I got my strawberries ready, the bigger the better and luckily Strawberries are coming in just south of here. I washed and hulled them and took out any extra that was inside. The bigger ones work best because they are somewhat hollow in the center.

Now the filling.(for topping you will just need graham cracker crumbs) 1 block of Cream cheese (8oz) Softened. about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar (I tasted and added as needed, when the strawberries are super sweet you don't need a lot of sweet stuffing but you can adjust it to your taste preference) 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of almond extract. Beat these together until smooth and creamy consistency and well combined. Taste now to ensure that you have it sweet enough. Put the filling in a plastic ziploc or a piping bag and pipe the goodness right in the holes in the berries. Once they are all filled on a small plate but your graham cracker crumbs and lightly dip the filled part of the berries in it. I was going to drizzle with some white and dark chocolate but I tasted one (then 2, then 3, then 4 and AB tasted 1 then 2 then 3 then 4 you get the picture) and they were perfect.

I will warn you, make extra and don't make these prior to having breakfast because they will become your breakfast :D

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Party time!

So this is a little different from my normal posts. I live to entertain, I have all these great ideas and I never get to use them. So Tomorrow we are having a cookout with people whom I do not know. Kind of a friend reunion of sorts for Jason. So all together I will have 7-9 adults, 2 teenagers, 3 children 5 and under and a baby.

So in my mind I have this whole idea of "what would Pioneer woman do" mixed with a bit of "How awesome would The virtuous wife's party be" These two women combined I am convinced could conquer the world. Seriously, they should be president and vice president of the USA.

Anyway. So I am doing this on a "Sanford and Son" budget Come on you know you want to sing it...

I need this to be simple yet have the wow factor, cheap but look amazing. Thank the Lord Pinterest has been invented (my bookmark bar thanks you, Pinterest)

The Menu-

My Fried Crappie (the fish is free thanks to my Awesome Hubby)
Filleted dipped in egg and milk mixture then in flour seasoned with old bay, salt and pepper then back in egg/milk and into panko crumbs also seasoned with salt and pepper. Let set about 5 minutes so the breader doesn't fall off when you drop them into the hot grease, deep fry until golden brown and inside is flaky goodness.

Hot dogs- nothing special about hotdogs :)

Pizza bites with dipping sauce
I am going to take pizza dough roll it out and put pizza sauce onto it and mozzarella cheese and roll it up like a pinwheel and cut like cinnamon buns then top with some more cheese. I will serve it with pizza sauce and garlic butter

Shrimp tarts
These are so good, I made these at my brother's High school Graduation and there were none left.

6oz cream cheese softened
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp fresh minced parsley
2 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp old bay
1 cup finely chopped cooked shrimp (peeled and deveined of course)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 pkgs mini phyllo tart shells (freezer section)

beat cream cheese until softened add sour cream, parsley, onion, Worcestershire, old bay mix until thoroughly combined. add shrimp and mozz. add filling to tart shells bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. can be served warm or cold.

Mac and Cheese bites

^that picture is before my good camera lol^
This is kind of a make up while I go deal but I am going to use my mac and cheese recipe (Barilla noodles, sharp and mild cheddar, salt, pepper, butter 2 pads diced and a can of evaporated milk) I may need to modify it to make it work because I am going to cook it in muffin tins so they are finger-foodish but I will update with pics :)

Jambalaya (which I know isn't a finger food so it may get cut)
I am going to try this recipe
But I will change a few things (as always)
I will pre-cook my rice and saute my veggies (the trinity onions, pepper and celery) and probably through some old bay in the mix too, I will update afterwards.

Potato skin bites

Really so simple. I cheat and cook my potatoes in the microwave and then slice into bite sized discs. brush with olive oil and put in the oven for just a teeny bit on broil, top with cheese broil again until melted top with diced bacon, sour cream and jalapeno.

(I am sure something else will get added but so far this is it!)


Sweet tea (what is a southern cookout without sweet tea?)

Lemon wedge jello shots (alcoholic and non-alcoholic for the kids)

And I really want to do the ice water with lemon in a big bucket of ice, but we will see.

I would really like to do mason jar cakes for the kids, but I may stick to cheesecake stuffed strawberries. We shall see.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Brussel Sprouts and Quinoa

Don't let the title scare you. These aren't the brussel sprouts you ate as a child all mushy and boiled, these are fresh yummy goodness.

Quinoa, bacon, onion (one half of a small sweet onion) 3 Garlic cloves, salt, pepper, dill, brussel sprouts.

Prepare your Quinoa according to the directions (this stuff is bland it takes on whatever flavor you add) So I used water but added a bit of garlic and onion powder, olive oil and salt.

Dice up some bacon I used 3 strips and put it in your pan

Cook it and remove to a paper towel to drain - leave the grease in the pan (you could forego the grease and use olive oil but I like the bacon flavor, I probably had about 1- 1 1/2 TBS rendered from the bacon)

Cut about 5 brussel sprouts in half, give your onion and garlic a rough chop.

In your bacon grease or olive oil saute your onion and brussel sprouts, season with salt and pepper, once they begin to soften a bit add your garlic (remember garlic burns quickly) I added one pad of butter at this point. Once your veggies are done add some dill (to your liking, I wanted to do parsley but was out so I grabbed dill, turns out it was awesome!) Add your precooked quinoa and taste to see if it needs any more seasoning. I personally think Quinoa can be dry, so, at this point you can add a bit of chicken stock to the pan so it isn't so dry, I didn't have chicken stock on hand so I decided that I would dollop some sour cream on top and top with a tad more dill. I am a strange bird, or so I have been told, but I tell you the sour cream on it was awesome.

It would also be good if you topped with cheese, but if you are the plain Quinoa type no topping is needed ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homemade French fries.

These are so good, they are easier than you think but requires a little more work than opening a bag of frozen ones but it really is worth the extra effort and it saves lots of money since you can buy a 10lb bag of potatoes for the price of 1 or 2 bags of the frozen bags.

in the picture I used red potatoes because it is what I had on hand. Then a couple of nights later I made them with russett potatoes, good both ways.

You can do these skin on or off which ever you prefer I do it both ways but the past two times I have done them skin off.

5-6 good size potatoes fed my family of five and we had leftovers.

In your deep fryer or a large pot on the stove warm your oil (peanut oil is the best but it is pricey and I use a lot of oil so that I can get more done at a time, so I usually use vegetable unless peanut is in the budget) you want it to be around 325

Get a bowl with cold water, this is where you will put your raw fries after you cut them (and while you cut the rest).

Wash and peel potatoes I try to get 4 slices long ways and then 4 fries out of each slice, you can cut the fries according to your preference. Put the fresh cut fries in the cold water once you have cut all your potatoes let them stay in that water for a couple minutes (while you clean up your peeling mess)

Take them out and place them on a dishtowel or paper-towel to drain (make sure they are patted dry water and grease don't mesh well)

Drop them a few at a time being sure not to over crowd the oil I usually can do a handful at a time. Leave them in the oil for a few minutes, they will start to float at the top and won't have much (if any color) but that is ok! put them onto a paper-towel to drain and continue to do the rest. Once all of your fries have been fried once you can crank your oil up to about 350-375, let the fries cool back down to room temp. After they have cooled drop them in the oil for their final frying. They will become golden and crisp, remove from oil onto paper-towel to drain and sprinkle with salt (and pepper if desired, or Cajun seasoning, or dry ranch dressing)