Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

2-3 eggplant
2 eggs
3 1/2 - 4 cups Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix or Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 cans or quart jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 (16-ounce) packages mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
garlic, salt, and pepper

  • Peel and thinly slice eggplant.

  • In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and add a splash of milk
  • Dip eggplant slices in egg mix,
  • Then dip in crumbs (stuffing or bread). 
  • Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. 
  • (I cover my baking sheets with foil and give them a light spritzing spray with vegetable oil and this makes for an easier cleanup process.)  I set this up to be sort of an assembly line process like this:
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 5 minutes per side, flipping the eggplant with a spatula half-way through.
  • In a 2 quart casserole baking dish, spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. 

  • Place a layer of baked eggplant slices in the sauce.

  • Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  (I usually sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper at this stage, too.)  Repeat layers, ending with cheese.
  • Sprinkle basil, oregano, and parsley on top.
  • Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Bread Sticks

1 pkg yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 cup dry Parmesan cheese

  • Dissolve the yeast in the water.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and brown sugar.
  • Add the yeast and water and the oil.
  • Stir till combined and then knead till soft and pliable.
  • Flour the bowl return the dough to it, and cover with a towel to let rise for an hour.
  • Butter a large cookie sheet/baking pan (one with sides is best).
  • Roll the dough out so that it fills the pan.
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half lengthwise once and crosswise about 11 times - this will make about 24 sticks.
  • Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Bake the breadsticks in a 375 degree F oven for about 12 minutes.
  • Combine the melted butter and garlic and pour or brush it over the hot bread.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese
I adapted this recipe from one Sarah over at Clover Lane posted HERE.  They are fabulous and extra wonderful dipped in marinara sauce - even the cheapo, generic, grocery store kind!

Mike and I also enjoyed them on the night I made Eggplant Parmesan.  You can find that recipe HERE.

You could also omit the garlic and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle the breadsticks with some cinnamon-sugar mixture for a sweet treat!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Peach Fried Pie Filling

1 gallon peach peelings
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons vinegar

  • Place peelings into food processor and puree till they are about the consistency of runny applesauce.
  • Put puree into pot and cook until tender.
  • Add other ingredients and bring to a low boil over medium heat.
  • Cook until the mixture is thickened and about the consistency of a thick applesauce.
  • Freeze (or put into jars) and use for fried pies.

This recipe was offered by my Mama.  She learned this one from a customer at Pratt's Peach Orchard.  The mix is really beautiful and tasty.  Plus, it is using a by-product that you would normally toss in the compost heap!  Daddy says this is like using all of the pig except the squeal!

Mama's Peach Pie with a Crust

Crust for one double crust pie
3-4 cups sliced or diced fresh peaches
3/4 cup sugar

  • Make crust.  (I cheated and used a Pillsbury refrigerated crust.)
  • Wash, peel, and slice or dice peaches.  (Do not throw the peelings away!  They can be used to make fried pie filling using the recipe found HERE.)
  • Roll bottom crust into pie plate.  Then, fill with peaches.
  • Pour sugar evenly over peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Place top crust over this.
  • Dot top crust with pats of butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake in 350 degree oven till golden brown.
This makes a really juicy, rich pie!  It can easily be doubled and made in a 9x13" casserole dish to serve a crowd.

Peach Butter/Preserves

3 1/2 cups peeled, diced peaches
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • Wash, peel, and dice peaches.  (Save peelings to use for fried pie filling.  You can find that recipe HERE.)
  • Stir peaches, sugar, and lemon juice together. 
  • Bring to a boil using medium heat.
  • Continue boiling and stirring about 15 minutes.
  • Spoon cooked mix into hot, half-pint jars which have been sterilized.  (I do this by running them through the sterilization cycle in my dishwasher.  Then, keep the jars hot by placing them on a cookie sheet in the oven which is at 200 degrees.)
  • Place the jar lids into a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes.  Then, lift out of the water with tongs and place on top of jars. 
  • Screw the lid ring on till it is barely firm.
  • Place jars into a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from water bath and let cool on the counter.
This recipe will make 2 half-pints.  I doubled it and simply boiled the peaches for about 40-45 minutes.  It is absolutely superb on a biscuit!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Italian Chicken Pasta Bake

I got this recipe at the local Kroger deli section.  There was a lady passing out samples and I tasted it and chatted with her while I was waiting for Mike's ham and cheese to be sliced.  It is super easy and takes on about 15 minutes prep time.  It makes enough for a family or for Mike and I to serve when we have company.  So, I make it in two 9x9 square dishes instead of the one dish.  I can put one in the freezer for later or to take to somebody.  Add a side salad and it is a delicious meal!

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 ounces white sliced or whole mushrooms
2 small zucchini, sliced or diced
2 cans (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Kroger Deli Rotisserie Chicken, deboned and broken into chunks
1 package (8 oz.) shredded Italian blend or Mozzarella cheese
1 package (9 oz.) Kroger Wholesome @ Home Chicken and Bacon Borsetti Fresh Pasta, uncooked

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add onion and garlic and saute one minute.
  • Add mushrooms and zucchini and saute for five minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  • Remove from heat, add chicken and one cup cheese.  Stir to combine.
  • Spread uncooked borsetti pasta evenly in bottom of baking dish. 
  • Top with chicken and vegetable mixture, making sure all pasta is covered. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese over top.
  • Bake uncovered for twenty minutes on center oven rack until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let stand five minutes before serving.
  1. As I noted at the top, it makes a big batch.  So, unless Mike and I want lots of leftovers, I separate it into two dishes when I'm preparing it and freeze or gift one of them.
  2. Since Mike isn't so crazy about chunks of tomatoes, I've tried it using tomato sauce and it is just as tasty.  (I also decided that Mike just isn't much of a casserole guy and I might save this dish for a girly day with friends.)
  3. I've also tried this with frozen cheese tortellini and it is also delicious.
Total time needed from beginning of prep till dining:  35 minutes
Yields 4-6 large servings.