Tag Archives: side dish

Healthier version of Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant, also called aubergine, or melanzane (in Italian) is so versatile, and by far one of my favorite veggies. I love to make it different ways, and enjoy experimenting with them. This time, I decided to make an eggless and breadcrumb-free eggplant parm, an Italian dish believed to have originated in the Southern part of Italy. The result of this dish is  surprisingly delightful. First and foremost,  make sure you pick very fresh eggplants, preferably on the day you are cooking them.  I realize that it’s  not always possible in today’s busy lives. If that’s the case, get it a day or two before cooking it. You do not want an eggplant that’s been sitting in your veggie bin for 2 weeks. I assure you, that will make a world of difference.  You want to look for an eggplant that is smooth, without any bruises, and firm to the touch. Parmigiana is a style/method of cooking, using  tomato sauce and  mozzarella cheese.

Eggplants
Eggplants
Broiled Eggplants
Broiled Eggplants

       Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplant cut lengthwise
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Lots of olive oil ( make sure you have a full bottle on hand)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 basil leaves
  • 1 container chopped tomatoes 26.46 oz.  Pomi brand
  •  1/2 jar of Mid’s sauce or (about 16 oz of your favorite meatless tomato sauce)
  • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  •  Parmigiano Reggiano, Parmesan cheese to taste

    Preparation:
    1) Season the eggplant with salt and pepper, let them sit for 10 minutes. Place on a metal tray, drizzle them with olive oil and broil for about 7-8 minutes on each side.  Do this in 2 batches. Set aside.
    2) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
    3) In the meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, on medium-heat, heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil. Sautee the garlic for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, basil.  Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Turn the burner off and set aside. Cover to keep it warm.
    4) Time to start mounting the eggplant as if you are making a lasagna. Smear some sauce on the bottom of a large glass casserole (Pyrex) pan, line up the eggplant (as shown on my photo) top with sauce, mozzarella cheese and parmesan. Repeat once more and finish with mozzarella. Cover with foil.
    5) Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Uncover, and broil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Use a spatula. Hope you will try this delicious version of Eggplant Parmigiana. It has no breadcrumbs and no  eggs. However, it will soak up some olive oil (which is healthy, but beware of calories)

    Please check out my traditional eggplant recipe:  Chicken & Eggplant Parm recipe (chicken is optional) Notice, I use different sauce, that’s because I like to change things up. ———>  https://foodiewinelover.com/2015/08/17/chicken-eggplant-parmigiana/

    Cook’s note: Never place glass dish on the bottom of the oven rack. Use the second from the bottom.

    Wine pairing suggestions: Chianti, Chianti Classico or any medium-bodied red wine will work.

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours,

Gina Zarcadoolas/Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles

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Perfectly Broiled Butternut Squash

Tis The Season for Butternut Squash! Everyone, including myself, always strive to get the perfect color on roasted butternut squash. I always bake them, but I am never fully satisfied the way they come out. I decided to broil them, and the result was magical. I ran out quickly, and left my son Peter-John in charge. He took over the kitchen, and turned them occasionally.  Upon returning home, they were already on the serving dish draining on paper towels.  I could not believe how beautiful and colorful they looked in such a short period. If you love your veggies, this delicious and nutritious side dish is for you.

Serves: 3-4  Degree of difficulty: Easy
butternut-squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of butternut squash, cubed
  •  Sea salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, de-stemmed, + more for garnish
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Preparation:

  1. Place the oven shelf about 11 inches away from the burner.  Turn the broiler on high.

2. In the meanwhile, on a flat metal tray, scatter the butternut squash cubes in a single layer. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle 2-3  times with olive oil. I use an oil bottle spout to give me more control.

3. Place the tray with butternut squash  in the broiler.  The trick is to turn them occasionally, using a metal spatula (it doesn’t have to be one by one) for about 10 minutes , or until they obtain a golden brown color. Remove from the oven.

4.  Layer the bottom of a serving dish with some paper towels to soak up any excess oil, and plate the butternut squash. This step will prevent them from becoming soggy. Serve immediately. This was a lovely accompaniment to a red grouper, but it was so good, that it barely made it to the table.

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I hope you will try this recipe in your kitchen, and share your experience with us. Happy Cooking from My Kitchen to Yours!

Gina

Foodiewinelover

 

 

Pasta Salad

pasta salad

veggies

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In my house, we love our pasta in all shapes and forms. Most of the time, I make it as a hot dish, but with summer upon us, (at least for us, South Floridians), I decided to make a killer Pasta Salad. I normally use the elbow shape just for cold pasta salads, since it’s the perfect size to blend well with all the chopped ingredients. You will never see me use this shape with any kind of red sauce, except for macaroni & cheese. LOL! I know, it’s an American thing!  This time, I served it as an accompaniment to some grilled New York strips. My family went crazy over it, and ate, and ate, and ate to their heart’s content.

This recipe will yield a very large bowl of pasta salad, but it can easily be divided in half.

Serves: 10 – 15 as a side dish
Level of difficulty: Easy to medium
Prepping time from start to finish: 1 hour
Chilling time: Minimum of 4 hours in the fridge

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 lb. pasta, elbow shape, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 lb. of bacon, crumbled
  • 4 boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 cup  mayo*
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Mrs. Dash, Italian Medley, no sodium
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lots of extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Preparation:

1) Cook bacon, crumble it and set aside.

2) Chop up all your veggies.

3) Get all your ingredients, condiments, and spices ready.

4) Boil eggs, chop them up set aside.

5) Boil salted water for pasta, and cook according to package directions.

6) Drain pasta well, and pour it in a very large mixing bowl.

7) Add all the ingredients and mix well.

8) Drizzle with olive oil. Mix again, cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. The colder the salad, the tastier it will be. This will allow the flavors to infuse nicely.

Right before serving, remove from the fridge, and drizzle more olive oil to moisten the salad.

* Notice that my salad is not saturated with mayonnaise, however if you don’t like mayonnaise at all, just substitute it with more olive oil, and add some red wine vinegar. It will be similar to a vinaigrette dressing. Taste, and adjust the spices as needed.

My son Matthew is a very picky eater, and he said, he’s never had such a good pasta salad before. The compliments were pouring in, as I sat and watch the bowl of pasta salad slowly disappearing before my eyes.  This was a good sign that I had prepared a wonderful culinary creation. My job was done in the kitchen, and I was happy with the results.

I hope the next time you get invited to a picnic, you will offer to make this very refreshing pasta salad.

Happy Cooking From My Kitchen To Yours!