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Skinny Eggplant Parmesan

Skinny Eggplant Parmesan

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Skinny Eggplant Parmesan

An excellent recipe from Sheena over at culinary tuesdays. Certainly a very busy woman by the sounds of it 🙂 Thanks Sheena!
Make my own eggplant parmesan at home and without feeling guilty. For this recipe I used panko for a crispier texture but normal breadcrumbs make an excellent alternative. You can also add a little extra virgin olive oil to make the texture a little crispier. This parmesan is perfect with pasta but if you dont feel like pasta you can rice, roast potatoes or even just a side of salad.

Ingredients

  • I medium Eggplant, sliced into 8 thin slices
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup Panko break crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp Grill seasoning
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 2.5 cups of pasta sauce; I used Organic Glen Muir chunky tomato
  • 2 oz of shredded part-skim Mozzarella (shred it yourself to get a good melty cheese)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  2. Prepare a cooling/baking rack over a baking tray; to bake the eggplant
  3. Set up a breading station: 1 dish with egg and 1 dish with panko, Italian & grill seasoning
  4. Dip one slice of eggplant at a time into the egg and then into the panko with seasoning, covering both sides
  5. Place onto the cooling/baking rack; repeat with all 8 slices
  6. Spray the top of the eggplant with a little of the EVOO spray
  7. Bake the eggplant for 5 minutes on each side then remove from oven.
  8. Lower the oven temp to 375 and prepare a 9×13 pan with EVOO spray.
  9. Add 1 cup of glen muir sauce on bottom of the pan,
  10. Place 4 baked eggplants on top of the sauce, then add 1/2 cup of sauce on top of the eggplant.
  11. Stack the next 4 eggplants on top of the bottom layer of eggplants.
  12. Now, add 1 cup of sauce on top, sprinkle cheese on top. (Now you can store in fridge for later in the week or you can bake)
  13. Bake for 40 minutes. ** add an additional 15 minutes to the baking time if you stored in fridge.
  14. Garnish with 1 Tbsp of parsley & Serve.

Berry Crisp

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Today is a take it easy kind of day. The kids are off to camp and won’t be home for days. That means I can take it easy on the cooking as well. Except when the husband demands for his own food cravings, then I’m on food patrol again. But I got none of those today. I opened up a food magazine and started reading on berries and get some chill time.

I wasn’t planning on doing some baking, but inspiration hit me with those berries. I figured I really can’t put down my chef’s hat just yet; well, not when my cooking instincts take over me. I would probably end up eating half of this dish myself before the kids could try it. Or, I might just make them a fresh batch. This one’s for the husband and I to enjoy tonight.

But before I go head into the kitchen to do the cooking, I want to share what I read about berries. I believe this is what would convince you to incorporate them more into your diet. It’s really good for the following reasons:

  • Fresh or frozen berries are best. They don’t lose their nutritional value anyway you have it.
  • When used in baking, it mixes well as a garnish in cakes, muffins and cookies.
  • Berries are naturally high in Vitamin C and a rich source of antioxidants. On this case, more of it is better for the body.

Ingredients

  • 4 large cooking apples, peeled and sliced or coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 325°F. Next, rub some butter on a 11 x 17 inch baking dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together sliced apples, berries and granulated sugar. Give it a little toss. Add in some small pieces of cold butter. Pour this into the baking dish.
  3. Next, combine the brown sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and rolled oats with the melted butter. Toss this mixture and then sprinkle over evenly over the fruits.
  4. Take the baking dish into oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Check to see if the fruits are tender and the toppings turned brown.
  5. Best served straight out of the oven.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

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Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs 2
Baked goods are the best. If you’re like me, you also love the convenience of having to pop something into the oven and cook. That’s how I prefer to cook my chicken dishes because they take no time to bake at all. On days when you don’t have the extra time to whip up complicated dishes, this recipe will surely help you out.

I scratch my head sometimes because I have to cook for a family that easily loses their interest in food that’s been on my dinner table one too many times this week. Besides, having pasta 4 out of 7 nights, I’d probably wonder if there was something better in store for next week too.

Personally, I don’t find anything wrong with chicken dinners every night for as long as each recipe would be different. If you’ve got to serve chicken (because my kids love them) like I do, this will surely give your taste buds a ride. The ingredients aren’t difficult to find; some may already be kitchen staples too. Have fun making this like I did.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds chicken thighs (or legs)
  • Salt
  • Slivered Almonds
  • 2 sprigs rosemary or Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced

Description

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the meantime, prepare a large bowl and throw in the honey and olive oil. Next, add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. If the seasoning isn’t quite adequate, add more salt and the mustard until the desired flavor is achieved.
  2. Season the chicken thighs lightly and arrange them skin-side up in a shallow casserole dish. Massage the honey mustard sauce over the chicken. Add the rosemary sprigs in between the chicken pieces.
  3. Add your sliced bell pepper and silvered almonds.
  4. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Insert the meat thermometer needle in one piece and watch if the temperature reaches 175 °. The juice would probably run clear once you’ve pierced the chicken. When done, remove the casserole and scoop out the excess fat.
  5. Sprinkle some freshly ground pepper before your serve. Best served hot.

Baked Cauliflower Gratin

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Baked Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients

  • 1 large (3 pound) head of fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup dry, seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Description

  1. Preheat an oven to 375F. Butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and set it aside. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 5 to 7 minutes, until the florets are just tender. Rinse them in cold water, drain, and arrange them in a single layer in the buttered dish.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually – 1/3 cup at a time – add the milk. Continue whisking and cook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with the salt, thyme, and nutmeg.
  3. Pour 2 cups of the Béchamel sauce over the steamed cauliflower and gently toss the florets to make sure they are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Bake the gratin, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir together the grated Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the gratin. Bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the gratin is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the surface of the baked gratin with the ground pepper and serve hot.
  4. This cauliflower gratin recipe makes 8 to 10 servings.

Blueberry Muffins

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I have to participate in a bake sale in a few days due to my daughter accidentally signing me up in her school as the main proponent for this project. I’ve never done the baking and the selling part in bakes sales before because I’ve just always been the kind of mom that buys the goods and eat them. I will no longer be that mom pretty soon.

But since I am doing this, I am planning to impress my daughter by baking two kinds of muffins. I decided to showcase both banana and blueberry muffins.  This is my practice run. I got my blueberries fresh this morning. So they are ripe and ready. I always make sure to wash these and dried on paper towels. This way I won’t get water in during the baking process.

My kids love blueberries and I am hoping this would be a hit that day (fingers crossed). But if not, it wouldn’t be a total loss. I figured that if I don’t sell them all then I can take the left overs home with me. This way I would have pre-breakfast muffins probably all week with my early morning cup of coffee. Now that sounds like a plan.

I am using this classic muffin recipe and gave it a little twist. This used to be a secret but now I am choosing to share it to you. I am hoping this one gets you through many bake sales too.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 400°F or about 200°C. Next, degrease your muffin tray with oil or line them up with muffin paper cups.
  2. Then, in a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Place the vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring device and add the egg and enough milk to fill up the cup.
  4. Pour this into the flour mixture. Next, fold in the berries slowly. Then, spoon in the batter to fill the muffin tray to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  5. For the crumb topping mixture: mix together ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup butter and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
  6. Mix these ingredients with a fork and use it to sprinkle on top of the muffins before baking.
  7. Place the muffin tray into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When done, take them out to cool down.

blueberry muffins 3

My Best Banana Bread

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Banana Bread

Sometimes our kids can be the best sources of information. We were discussing quite a lot on the subject of bananas and how healthy they are. Apparently, my youngest learned it from school and so she naturally told me everything about it. She talked a lot from the ride going to school and then again on the bus home. She caused her sister quite the craving for banana and peanut butter sandwiches.

As I was making them, I suddenly realized that I bought home a bunch of bananas for a reason. My daughter had also subconsciously made me want to eat bananas and all things I can bake using it as the main ingredient. Probably it’s why I chose to bake banana muffins the other day too.

Today, I went ahead and made some banana bread. I was planning to serve this with vanilla ice cream on top but the family normally just enjoys it as is. Whatever the case, I was determined to put the banana discussion to rest by asking my daughter to stop talking about it and give her these as peace offering.

I think the smile on her face told me I was already forgiven the moment I took it out of the oven. It should work the same way for your family. Nothing puts an issue to rest than a hot plate of forgiveness served with a piece of bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Description

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F or about 175°C and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Do it lightly.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Next, take the butter and brown sugar and mix them together on a separate bowl as well.
  3. Add the egg and mashed bananas and mix until well blended. Pour this into the flour mixture just to moisten. When they’re all evenly combined, pour this over into the loaf pan.
  4. Place the loaf pan into the oven and bake for 60 to 65 minutes. Or insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf and if it comes out clean, the bread is ready.
  5. Take it out of the oven and let it cool off for 10 minutes. Then turn this out into a wire rack. Cut them into pieces right before you serve.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

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Desserts have quite an appeal on women. They are very typical of aphrodisiacs. Give some chocolate to the woman you love and she’ll never forget how sweet you are. Any chocolates will do the trick. However, there are some desserts that when combined with fruit, would rattle your world in a totally different way.  I’ve got three words for you: chocolate covered strawberries.

Now tell what you think about when you hear those words. Personally, I would think of how to add some nuts into the chocolate dip. I would imagine biting into that strawberry and hear the crunch of the crushed walnuts in my mouth. For some people, this recipe would bring out their sexy side. I won’t blame you if you offer this up as a gift when you run into problems with your better halves.

On this recipe particularly, you can’t use small strawberries because it would lose the appeal. You have to carefully pick out the large sweet ones though. Typically, strawberries can be on the sour side. Some sourness may not be masked fully by the chocolate. If the fruit is already ripe and on the sweet side, you wouldn’t have to worry about the tanginess at all.

Also, this is pretty easy to make. It’s literally a matter of dipping the fresh strawberries into the chocolate and then letting it dry out. As an option, you could also use white chocolate on this instead of the plain one. I’ve even tried adding some crushed macadamias and mixed in the dip.. I’m telling you, you have other options. If not, it’s perfectly okay to have it plain and simple. So if you’re planning to have this for dessert later, make sure you’re all set for a good time. Good luck ladies!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

Description

  1. Start by preparing the double broiler. Pour in the chocolate and shortening and allow this to melt while stirring occasionally. Blend until smooth.
  2. Insert a toothpick in the center of the strawberries from the top. Hold strawberries by the base of the toothpick and dip into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the toothpick upside down and insert into a Styrofoam base that is sturdy enough to hold all of them. This will allow the chocolate to dry.
  4. Once dried, they’re ready to be served. You may use white chocolate as an alternative to this.

Baked Chicken Nuggets

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Sometimes the kids can’t stop munching on junk food which bugs me whole lot because I can’t seem to get them to snack on something healthier. Admittedly, I knew they weren’t the biggest fans of vegetables. As parents I might have had a hand on that too. This time, I am beginning to change things at home starting with our food.

I vowed that I would make them eat healthier. So I thought about incorporating meats into their snacks. Probably some meat recipes I have on my arsenal might work out as filling snacks. This chicken recipe is special because it would do just that. I find that it’s very good as a snack in between meals (believe me they’re perfect for it) as well as lunch. When I first made this, the kids when bonkers for it; which prompted me to be creative about my presentations so they don’t lose interest. They’re the same chicken nuggets we love but with a twist here and there.

I am sharing this recipe to you in the hopes that it would help other mothers do the same thing. It’s an easy dish which could keep your kids interested to eat their lunch/snacks from now on.

Ingredients

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Description

  1. Prepare the oven and preheat to 400°F or about 200°C.
  2. Slice chicken breasts into 1 and 1/2-inch bite-sized portions. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, basil and thyme. Mix these well.
  3. Melt some butter in small skillet and set it aside on a small sauce dish for dipping.
  4. Next, take each chicken piece and dip into the melted butter first and then coat it generously with the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the well coated pieces into a greased cooking sheet in a single layer. Bake the pieces on the oven for 20 minutes. Serve after it has cooled down.

Healthy Stuffed & Baked Tomatoes

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Healthy Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
I know it can be confusing to prepare a meal for dinner guests who are vegetarians. Having that prior notice used to give me panic attacks until I discovered this recipe. The best thing about this dish is the fact that it’s packed with nutrients. That matters when you have guests who count the vitamins and calories in everything.

I just have to say that rice is very filling so I urge you not to eat too much of this at one time. But the dish is lovely as a dinner starter. Try serving it up with other light dishes such as fish (or any seafood dish for that matter) or chicken but never with pasta or mashed potatoes. You don’t want to load your guests up with too many carbohydrates in one meal.

You’re probably in for a treat too because of the Parmesan cheese which doesn’t overwhelm the dish at all. It even gives it a little twist if you find the tomatoes a bit much. Other than this side note, you’re good to go!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup short-grain white rice
  • 6 ripe but firm large tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Description

  1. Fill up a medium sauce pan with water and add salt. Bring this to a boil and add the rice. Stirring constantly, wait for the rice to cook. It takes about 10 minutes and then you can drain the excess water. Run cold water through the rice and drain as well to set it aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, slice off the tops of the tomatoes about half an inch thick. Set aside the tops. Gently scoop out all the juice, seeds and pulp and place them on a separate bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of the tomato juice-pulp content.
  3. Prepare an 8 x 8 inch thick baking dish and spread olive oil to grease the bottom. Then arrange the hollowed out tomatoes into the baking dish.
  4. In a mixing bowl, throw in the remaining tomato juice-pulp contents with the rice. Mix these before adding the Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Combine them well and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Then spoon a mixture of the rice into each tomato and mound them in slightly to make sure the contents are really stuffed inside. When done, sprinkle what’s left of the stuffing mixture at the bottom of the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place the sliced off tops on the tomato and bake in the oven until rice is heated through, usually about 20 minutes. Best served hot or at room temperature, when necessary.

Blackberry Pie Bars

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Ingredients

Description

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