Eggplant Mozzarella

Eggplant Mozzarella

Eggplant mozzarella is a lower fat and quicker recipe than typical eggplant parmesan. This recipe also includes other veggies that you would not find in classic eggplant parmesan recipes. Now of course you will need to spend at least an hour salting the eggplant to get the bitter liquid out. Add the chopping and baking steps and you might need to save this recipe for the weekend. But overall this is pretty easy to put together and it is just amazingly delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 14 oz can whole artichoke hearts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1tsp basil
  • 8 oz low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 3 oz parmesan cheese
  • 24 oz marinara sauce
  • 1/2 tbs Italian seasoning

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Directions

Cut the ends off the eggplant then slice the eggplant lengthwise in ¼ inch slices. Set aside any odd shaped slices or leftover bits to use later. Salt the eggplant on one side and let it rest for 30 minutes. Pat the eggplant slices dry then flip them over and salt the other side. Let it rest for 30 minutes and pat the eggplant dry.


Drain the artichokes and let them dry on paper towels. If you purchased whole artichoke hearts, you can squeeze the liquid out of each by hand. Dice the onion and mushrooms. Dice the artichokes when dry. Roughly chop any leftover eggplant bits and misfit slices.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place aluminum foil on 2 baking sheets then spray them with cooking grease. Add one layer of eggplant on the sheets. Brush them on both sides with olive oil. Apply salt, pepper and oregano on both sides. Bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack.


Cook the chopped eggplant bits, mushroom, onion, and artichoke mixture in a frying pan at a medium heat for 10 minutes or until the onions become translucent.


Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 cooking dish with marinara sauce. Add a layer of eggplant, then spoon in a layer of the onion mushroom artichoke mixture. Spoon on a layer of marinara sauce, then a layer of mozzarella. Repeat these layers until you use up the ingredients. For the top layer use eggplant covered lightly with marinara then mozzarella.


Seal the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes at 400F. Next, remove the foil then top with grated Parmesan and Italian herbs. Turn the broiler on high then place the dish uncovered in the oven for 3 – 5 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the brown color of the cheese and do not allow it to overcook. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.




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Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

On a cold day or even in the middle of summer, lentil soup is always a pleasure to eat. This soup is easy to make and you can prep ahead of time all the chopping work. It freezes nicely for several months and it can stay refrigerated for up to a week. If you like lentil soup but never made it before, you will be surprised at how delicious this home made version will taste. And it totally blows away lentil soup in a can, there is just no competition.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups vegetable broth (2x 32 oz containers)
  • 16 oz package dried lentils
  • 14 oz crushed tomato
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4 stalks of carrots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube

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Directions

First dice the onions, carrots and celery. Add olive oil to a stockpot and heat it on a burner at a medium temperature. Saute the onions, celery, carrots and thyme. Mince the garlic, then add it to the stockpot and saute it for 1 minute.


Add the vegetable broth and bouillon cube to the stockpot. Next, wash the lentils and remove any rocks and debris. Add the lentils and crushed tomatoes to the stockpot. Bring everything to a boil (about 5 minutes), then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 30 minutes covered with a lid.


After 30 minutes, use an immersion blender to puree the soup part way. You can use a regular blender if you don’t have an immersion blender, but just pulse a few cups of the soup. Add the chopped greens and lemon juice then cook with the lid slightly open for at least 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.




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Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

Grilled romaine has an excellent flavor and it compliments many dishes. Not only is it easy to make but it’s also quick to cook. You can put these on the grill while you cook some chicken or fish and have yourself an excellent meal combo. If you have leftovers, you can eat them cold the next day. And one thing you must do is add the grated cheese on top. That just takes it to another level!

Ingredients

  • 3 romaine hearts
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 oz romano cheese

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Directions

First, preheat the grill at a medium heat and clean the grill grates when hot.


Next, slice each heart of romaine in half lengthwise. Brush both sides with olive oil. Salt the inside with kosher salt.


Place each romaine half open side down onto the grill and cook for 5 minutes with the lid open. After 5 minutes, flip over all romaine hearts and cook for another 5 minutes. Use tongs to check for softness and remove the romaine hearts when they become less stiff.


Squeeze some lemon on the inside area of the romaine hearts. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Finally, top with fresh grated Romano cheese.




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Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is the standard side dish to all your holiday meals. For this recipe we ditch the usual Campbells cream of mushroom soup and instead make cream of mushroom from scratch. It’s easier than you may think and the flavor is 100 times better. And if you love mushrooms you can mix around various types like white and baby Bella for additional flavor. This recipe is divided up so that you can prep the green beans and mushroom sauce a day or two ahead of the meal. Simply put it all together, put it in the oven and bake yourself an amazing side dish that everyone will love (except for green bean and mushroom haters).

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 oz white mushrooms
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 oz French’s crispy fried onions

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Directions

First, wash then trim the ends off the green beans. Cut the large beans in half. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and boil the beans for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the water from the beans then transfer the beans to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process. The beans should be partially cooked and still crunchy but not stiff. Once cooled, remove the beans from the ice water and place them on a rack with paper towels and let them dry for at least an hour.

Sauce instructions

First, dice the onion into small bits. Mince the garlic cloves. Wash then slice the mushrooms into thin slices. Pull the thyme leaves from the stems and dice the leaves. Next, melt the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms then stir frequently and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, black pepper, then the flour and cook for another minute. Add the chicken broth and reduce the heat to medium. Add the cream and cook for another 25 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Baking instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the beans to a large baking dish. Pour in the mushroom cream sauce and mix the beans to coat them in sauce. Mix in half the container of crispy onions, then mix everything together. Pour the remaining crispy fried onions on top of the beans. Bake uncovered for around 30 minutes.




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