Lighter Eggplant Parmigiana

My food blog friend Sally @Bewitching Kitchen inspired me to make this lighter version of classic eggplant parmigiana. The eggplant is breaded but oven-baked instead of fried. It was quite delicious. 🙂

I served the cheesy eggplant over pasta with sauce, per my husband’s request, but it really wasn’t necessary. We ate it with spicy and garlicky sautéed broccoli rabe and roasted asparagus on the side. I used my new favorite jarred sauce, Trader Joe’s Italian Marinara Sauce with Barolo Wine, as a shortcut. This recipe was adapted from The Kitchen, contributed by Jeff Mauro, via Bewitching Kitchen.com. Great!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 medium to large eggplant
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a teaspoon of water
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 24 ounces jarred tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce with Barolo Wine)
  • slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 pound of prepared pasta, for serving, as desired (I used Capunti pasta)
  1. Heat a rimmed baking sheet – empty – in a very hot oven, 450 F to 500 F, preferably on convection.
  2. While the baking sheet is heating, peel the eggplant, cut crosswise in 1/2 inch slices. Place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
  3. Put the eggs, water, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in another bowl next to it.
  5. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg wash, but allow just one side to get wet with the mixture.
  6. Next, dip it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat, and carefully place on a rack with the crumb side up.
  7. Make sure you have the tomato sauce warmed up and ready to go, and the cheese slices also nearby.
  8. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and drizzle the olive oil to coat the hot surface.
  9. Working quickly, add the eggplant slices with the crumb-coated side down. It will stick to the oil and start to get pretty hot right away.
  10. Add the tomato sauce on top, cover with cheese, and place in the oven, reducing the temperature to 375 F, preferably on convection.
  11. Cook for 20 to 25+ minutes. When the cheese is starting to get golden brown at the edges, the eggplant will be done. (Additional sauce can be added on top of the cheese halfway through the cooking process, if desired.)
  12. Serve immediately with your favorite side dish.

Two Years Ago: Oaxacan Pork Picadillo Tacos

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

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Light Italian Wedding Soup

This is a lighter version of this classic soup. It has turkey instead of pork meatballs. The meatballs are also cooked in the liquid instead of being fried. This soup is also loaded with greens.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the garlic and used a combination of escarole and organic Tuscan kale instead of escarole alone. Swiss chard, beet greens, or broccoli rabe would also work well. It was very flavorful and hearty. Add some warm, crusty bread and it’s a perfect meal for the cold weather. 🙂

  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark-meat (93 percent lean)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 heads escarole (2 pounds total), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped or 1 head escarole (about 11 oz) and 1 bunch (about 12 oz) Tuscan kale, ribs removed
  1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using 1 tablespoon for each, roll mixture into balls. (I used a cookie scoop.)
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add broth and tomatoes (with juice); bring to a simmer.
  4. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add as many greens to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining greens, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  6. Thin soup with water if desired; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Greens & Chayote Enchiladas with Salsa Verde

These wonderful, vegetarian, no-bake enchiladas claimed to be light and satisfying- a pretty accurate description! Perfect warm weather Mexican fare. Fresh and fabulous. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman.

Inspired by my food blog friends who have made their own birthday cakes, etc., I made this dish for my own birthday dinner!! I prepared the filling a day in advance (no work on the big day!) and we ate them after a relaxing day in the sunshine. My husband made my favorite Huevos Rancheros for breakfast (I am obviously a Mexican-food lover), and I was greeted with a surprise birthday cake from my girlfriend when I got home! ❤ What a great day! Maybe getting older isn’t so awful….

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I’m bringing my special dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #74 (belatedly, again…), co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Caroline @Caroline’s Cooking. As another surprise birthday gift, my dish from Fiesta Friday #73 was featured this week! Yay!! Check it out & Enjoy! 🙂

Yield: Serves 8

  • 1 pound Swiss or rainbow chard, or a combination
  • 2 medium-size chayote or summer squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut in small dice (4 cups diced)
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapeño or 2 to 3 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • ½ white onion, coarsely chopped
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 4 large peeled garlic cloves; 2 whole and 2 minced
  • 12 cilantro sprigs, plus chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
  • 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta

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  1. Peel and dice the chayote squash.
  2. Strip chard leaves from stems and wash in 2 changes of water. Keep leaves whole.
  3. Rinse chard stems and cut in small dice if wide, or, if thin, slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. (I cut my wide stems into thin strips and then sliced all of them crosswise 1/4 inch thick.) Set aside stems with chayote in one bowl and leaves in another.
  4. Make the salsa verde: Combine tomatillos, jalapeños and onion in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until tomatillos have gone from pale green to olive and have softened. Using a slotted spoon or a Chinese strainer, transfer tomatillos, onion and one of the jalapeños to a blender. (I used a Vitamix!) Do not drain water from pot. Let vegetables cool in the blender while you blanch greens and chayote.
  5. Add more water to the pot so it is about 2/3 full. Return to a boil, salt generously, and add the chard leaves. Blanch until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer leaves to a bowl of cold (ice) water to quickly shock, then drain and dry. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  6. Return water to a simmer and add chayote and chard stems. Simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain through a colander and again on paper towels.
  7. Add whole garlic cloves and cilantro sprigs to ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste for heat and add remaining jalapeño if desired. (I only used one jalapeño- and the salsa had quite a kick!)
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add tomatillo purée and partly cover to protect from splattering. Cook, stirring often, until it thickens and begins to stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in stock, add salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is thick and coats the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  10. Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic. When fragrant, after about 30 seconds, stir in oregano, blanched and chopped leaves, stems, and chayote. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until tender, fragrant and coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup salsa verde and set aside.
  11. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a microwave safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel and cover with warmer lid, or with plastic wrap if using a plate. Microwave on high for 1 minute. (Alternatively: Prepare the tortillas: Heat 1/3 cup canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, until oil bubbles around the edges of a tortilla when you dip it into the pan. Place a platter covered with paper towels next to pan. Using tongs, slide tortillas, one at a time, into hot oil. As soon as tortilla begins to puff, about 10 to 15 seconds, flip over and leave another 10 to 15 seconds. Immediately remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Cover with foil to keep warm.)
  12. One by one, quickly dip tortillas into the remaining warm salsa verde, lay on serving platter, and top with about 1/4 cup filling. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down on platter. When all tortillas have been filled, pour remaining salsa verde on top, sprinkle with cilantro and queso fresco (or feta) and serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins

We love these muffins, and I make them fairly often. They are healthy, moist, and great.

I substitute one-third of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, and use frozen wild blueberries when I don’t have fresh available. I also modified the recipe technique by topping each muffin with vanilla bean-infused turbinado sugar before putting them into the oven. If I don’t have orange zest readily available, I substitute vanilla extract.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Yield: 12 standard muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest or 1 tsp vanilla extract, as desired
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (about 1/2 pound), picked over and rinsed (frozen blueberries can be substituted)
  • coarse sanding sugar, for topping
  • nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly coat a standard muffin tin with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest, if using.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla extract, if using.
  5. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just blended.
  6. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until just stiff.
  7. Gently fold whites and blueberries into the batter until just combined.
  8. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full.
  9. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with coarse sanding sugar. (I use vanilla-bean infused turbinado sugar.)
  10. Bake muffins for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the comes out clean.
  11. Let muffins cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before turning out of tin. Serve.

Note: These muffins are best served warm from the oven. Muffins can be reheated in the microwave the next day (for about 20 seconds), or in a toaster oven.

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