Posts Tagged 'tomato sauce'

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

 

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan can be made in a multitude of ways.  Sometimes the eggplant is fried, other times it is baked.  Sometimes the eggplant is served over a bed of tomato sauce, other times it is baked in a sauce.

Personally, I like it best baked in a tomato sauce with lots of cheese.

I love the texture of a crispy eggplant that is fried, but for everyday meals, frying is just too messy and who needs that extra fat?  In my version, I use Panko breadcrumbs to give the eggplant that same crispy coating you would get by frying … but instead the eggplant is baked in the oven.

Serve with a big salad or sautéed spinach.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
4 cups marinara tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a shallow bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Place the beaten egg in a third shallow bowl.

Generously season both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Next dip the eggplant in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. Then dredge the eggplant through the Parmesan breadcrumbs, evenly coating on both sides.

Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.  Turn slices over and bake until browned on the other side, about 20 more minutes.

Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the eggplant in an even layer in the dish. Cover with another 1 1/3 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top.

Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

 

 

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

These stuffed bell peppers are a cinch to make … and are a super tasty supper!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 large red, yellow, or green peppers, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice, cooked as per package directions
3/4 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned)
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon French’s® Yellow Mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4  cups (about 5 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 cups crushed French’s® French Fried Onions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil the bottom of a casserole dish.

Slice the top 1/4 inch off each pepper. Finely chop the flesh on the stem end; set it aside. Remove the seeds and white pith from inside the peppers. (If the peppers won’t stand up straight, take a small slice off the bottom with a paring knife to make a flat surface.)

Put a steamer basket (or a colander) inside a large pot and add an inch or so of water. Place the peppers in the basket. Bring the water to a boil and tightly cover the pot. Steam the peppers for 8 minutes. Remove the peppers with tongs and set them on a wire rack to cool.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the skillet. Add the meat, onion, reserved chopped peppers, and garlic and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat. Transfer the drained meat to a large bowl and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and dried basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon the mixture into the prepared bell peppers and place in the prepared casserole dish cut-side up.

Evenly top each pepper with crushed French fried onions and the remaining cheese.

Bake the peppers until they are heated through, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Shrimp, Chicken, & Sausage Jambalaya

“Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo…son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou.” So goes the refrain of the famous song “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams Sr.

Leave it to the folks in Louisiana to make a catchy tune about food their anthem. No where else in the country is food such an integral part of the culture. One only has to mention the city New Orleans and good times and great food come to mind.

South Louisianans have a love and a passion for good food. Their cuisine is unique because, as a whole, it has a much bigger flavor than what you get in the rest of the United States.

For those not born and raised in Louisiana, what we consider “Cajun” food for the most part is technically “Creole” cooking. The French who settled in Southern Louisiana in the early 1700s adapted their own outstanding culinary techniques to the abundant herbs, seafood, games, meat, vegetables and fruits of the region. Eventually their cooking style was infused with spiciness from the Spanish settlers and African slaves’ use of herbs. This mélange of styles became known as Creole cookery.

Native Louisianans differentiate between Creole cooking and Cajun cooking based on the use of rouxs and spices. Creole cooking is based on French techniques with less emphasis on roux than Cajun cooking.  The herbs of choice are oregano, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Also, almost every dish has celery, parsley, onions and bell peppers in its list of ingredients. Cajun cooking on the other hand is heavily dependant on the use of rouxs. It uses the same herbs and vegetables as Creole cooking but often adds the spice of cayenne or Tabasco.

Creole cooking is most attributed to New Orleans whereas Cajun food is most identified with towns such as Lafayette and Ville Platte in Southwest Louisiana.

The Creole version of “dirty rice,” jambalaya is best enjoyed simply with a loaf of crusty French bread. My recipe include shrimp, chicken, and sausage…but you can omit easily omit the shrimp if someone at your table has an allergy.

Enjoy! 

Shrimp, Chicken, and Sausage Jambalaya

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, diced
1/2 cup small-diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup seeded and small-diced green bell pepper (1 pepper)
1/4 cup finely diced celery (2 ribs)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 can (15-ounce) tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups white rice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pot. Sauté the chicken, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and then, in the same pot, sauté the sausage until browned. Transfer the sausage to the plate with the chicken. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

To the pot, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. (Stir often so that everything cooks evenly.) Add the garlic, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves and sauté until the mixture is cooked down, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the vegetable mixture is cooking, combine the tomato sauce and chicken stock in a separate pot and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and sauté for about 3 minutes. Return the meats to the pot and stir to combine. Continuously stirring to combine, slowly pour the tomato and stock mixture into the jambalaya. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Bring the jambalaya to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and fold in the shrimp.  Let everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm. 

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: Andouille sausage is a smoked, spicy pork sausage that is popular in Cajun recipes such as gumbo and jambalaya. If you can’t easily find it in you local grocery, Chorizo is an acceptable substitute.

Chicken, Shrimp, and Sausage Jambalaya

Serves 6 to 8

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, diced
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 ribs of celery, finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups white rice
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle in the pot.  Sauté the chicken, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and then, in the same pot, sauté the sausage until browned.   Transfer the sausage to the plate with the chicken.  Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

To the pot, add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. (Stir often so that everything cooks evenly.) Add the garlic, oregano, thyme and bay leaves and sauté until the mixture is cooked down, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the vegetable mixture is cooking, combine the tomato sauce and chicken stock in a separate pot and bring to a simmer.

Add the rice to the vegetable mixture and sauté for about 3 minutes. Return the meats to the pot and stir to combine.  Continuously stirring to combine, slowly pour the tomato and stock mixture into the jambalaya.  Stir in the chopped parsley.

Bring the jambalaya to a boil, cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and fold in the shrimp.  Let everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm. 

Cooking Tip: Andouille sausage is a smoked, spicy pork sausage that is popular in Cajun recipes such as gumbo and jambalaya.  If you can’t easily find it in you local grocery, Chorizo is an acceptable substitute.


Jennifer Chandler

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