Sunday, May 26, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan
Serves: 8


Ingredients:

2 medium eggplant
16 oz fire roasted marinara (Fire Roasted Marinara)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 small container of ricotta cheese
1 bunch of basil leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil


Instructions:

Slice eggplant into 1/4 - 1/2 inch rounds.
Salt on both sides heavily, and leave on a baking sheet.
After about 20 minutes blot the rounds with a paper towel and then flip the rounds over 

The salt will pull the moisture out of eggplant and remove any bitterness from the flesh.


Place eggs, milk and salt and pepper into a shallow dish.

Place flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper into another dish

Place panko and parmesan into a third shallow dish



Prepare your breading station


Coat each slice in flour, then egg, then panko.
Heat up a large skillet with olive oil and pan fry the eggplant on each side until golden brown and crispy.


Set on a drying rack to allow excess oil to drain off.


Then take your homemade marinara (Fire Roasted Marinara) I make mine in large batches and either can the marinara or freeze in quart containers for later.


Place in a 9x13 baking dish.


Layer with the fried eggplant


Take a small container of ricotta and add in salt and chopped fresh basil, then add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to each slice of eggplant.


Top with more marinara sauce.


Create as many layers of this process as will fit in the baking dish.

Finally top with the shredded mozzarella, or in my case, a blend of cheeses because that is all that I had.


At this time you can either bake off the eggplant, or freeze it for later. 

To cook now, bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until it is golden brown and bubbly. 





Homemade Canned Restaurant Style Salsa

Homemade restaurant style salsa


I am a salsa addict, ill admit it, a good salsa and some tortilla chips, and I can really do some damage. Of course I find the majority of store bought salsas to be utterly disgusting, so that leads to me making my own salsas. 

I've got a few different salsa recipes, but I'm really loving this one right now, mostly because of how incredibly easy it is to make and can for later, and also because it really does taste like the salsa you get at a Mexican restaurant. 

Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
2 10oz cans of Rotel, original 
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Juice of 2-3 limes
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 diced jalapeño for extra heat, if desired

Instructions:

Using a food processor, chop up the onion.


Add the cilantro and garlic


Add in the Rotel tomatoes, salt, pepper and cumin


Blend well


Add the lime juice, one lime at a time until you like it, adjust salt if wanted.


Place in sterilized mason jars


Boil for 15 minutes, let cool, keep in a dark cool place. DELISH!



Spicy Sausage Pasta

Spicy Sausage Pasta
Serves: 4+

I don't typically eat pasta dishes, I try to avoid such a processed carbohydrate as much as possible, but I found a low-carb pasta called Dreamfields Pasta that uses non-digestable fiber - protecting blood sugar from rising and only giving about 5g of digestible carbs! Typical pastas have anywhere from 20-60 grams of digestible carbs depending on pasta style. I feel okay indulging in pasta once in a while, if its dreamfields pasta.

Spicy Sausage pasta is amazing, I made it with a bit more sauce then other recipes I've seen because it is rich and delicious and I could drink it up from the bottom of my bowl!



Ingredients;
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage - I used Butterball spicy turkey sausage1.5 cups diced onion
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1 diced red bell pepper
1 8oz package mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 box of penne pasta
1 cup shredded cheese, mexican blend or jack cheeses.
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Roast your red pepers over an open flame. You can use a gas burner or an outdoor grill.



Once blackened on all sides, place in a zip lock bag and let steam for 5-10 minutes. It will make the skins easy to peel off.



Let cool enough that you can touch the pepper without burning your hands.



Once the skins are removed, cut up the flesh and add to the pan.

2. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until they have browned.



Then add your roasted red peppers.



2. Add broth, rotel, uncooked pasta, salt and pepper and stir. 


Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.




3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese and the half and half. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions or fresh basil. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.


It will continue to thicken as it cools.

I topped mine off with some fresh cut basil, it is AMAZING!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Crock Pot Homemade Chicken Broth

Crock Pot Homemade Chicken Broth

Chicken broth, especially the organic variety, can be quite expensive at anywhere between $2.00 to $4.00 a quart. I find this kind of amazing considering how watered down and weak the store bought varieties are, and how unbelievably easy it is to make. I usually put an entire raw chicken in a stockpot and cook on low with veggies for several hours, but recently found a crockpot version that uses bones and scraps instead, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Now, don't think I'm a freak or anything but I am a saver. When I make wings at home, I've always cut the tips off and kept them in a freezer bag in the freezer. 

I'm not crazy, I'm smart, and I don't think that wasting chicken bones is a smart thing to do. 

This recipe goes a step further, using the bones and carcass of a rotisserie chicken you get from the super market. This idea is fabulous because the chicken is already well seasoned and will add a lot of flavor and depth to your broth! You could even go a step further and keep all your chicken bones from your home cooking in the freezer until your ready to make broth.



Ingredients:

  • a mixing bowl of chicken bones and cartilage (preferably from a pastured chicken)
  • coarsely chopped carrots, celery and onion
  • 3-4 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • Filtered Water
  • handful of whole peppercorns
Method:
  • Add vegetables and bones to crockpot
  • Add bay leaves if using
  • Fill with filtered water
  • Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Cook on low for at least 24 hours
  • Add salt to taste
  • Strain and store
Put the vegetables and bones in a crockpot.  Fill with filtered water.   I add a bay leaf or two and a handful of whole peppercorns.
Add a couple tablespoons of an acidic liquid (I use raw apple cider vinegar).  This helps draw the minerals out of the bones. 
Cover and cook on low for 24 hours.  Strain and you have delicious, nourishing chicken bone broth! You can store this broth in bags or jars in the freezer, or it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
1 whole chicken carcass with a few wing tips made over 4 quarts of broth, which would normally cost between $15 and $20, but I would estimate I spent about $7!