Roasted Eggplant Parmesan


Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Polenta with Turkey Meatballs & Marinara


Hey there– Home from our trip to Wisconsin (I’ll be sending along more travel pictures later.  I’m one of those moms who over-take photos, just ask my kids!).  I think I use this blog as a combination recipe file & family scrapbook.  So fun to look back at good fun & food memories. Anyway, so now we’re back to real food made in a kitchen, instead of fun nights out with the kids!

And this is a fine dinner (with more leftovers for other dinners!) that I found on Jasmine’s blog– at  Her photos are beautiful, and it’s chock full of good practical recipes.  I think you’d like it.


1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. garlic salt
freshly ground pepper

Marina Sauce:
2 tab. olive oil
1 yellow onion, minced fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
2/3 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper

4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup polenta cornmeal
3 tab. butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

To make the meatballs, combine the turkey, 2 cloves minced garlic, egg, bread crumbs, 2 tab. parmesan cheese, dried basil. garlic salt and a few twists of pepper.  It works best to just mush it all together with your hands!

Then form balls and set them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  It makes about 20.  Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20minutes until they are nicely browned and cooked through.

While they are cooking, make the marinara sauce.  Heat the 2 tab. of olive oil in a pan and then add in the chopped onion  Cook it for 3 to 4 minutes until it’s golden and then add in the 6 (!) cloves of garlic and cook for a minute more.  Then add in the crushed tomatoes, basil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Simmer for just 4 or 5 minutes while you start the polenta.

In a pan bring the 4 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil.  Then stir in the polenta and butter and cook, stirring for a few minutes until it thickens.  Then mix in the 1/2 cup parmesan.

To serve it all up, mix the cooked meatballs into the sauce.  On a platter, spread out the polenta and top it with the sauce and meatballs.  That’s it!  Supper on the table.


Easy Eggplant Marinara

IMG_0917Hello all–  A couple of those bright shiny purple Chinese eggplants found their way into my shopping cart again this week–too pretty to pass by.  And then I found a homey, simple marina sauce recipe browsing in a magazine.  Put them together– dinner!  It’s lovely that you can make it in about 20 minutes, hot and savory.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 Chinese eggplants, cut in nice chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp. dried basil
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil*

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Cook the onions about 2 minutes while you cut up the eggplant and grate the carrot.  Then add the eggplant, garlic and carrot to the pan.  Stir and cook about 5 minutes until the eggplant begins to brown around the edges.  Then stir in the crushed tomatoes and dried basil.  Salt & pepper just a bit til it tastes just right.  Cut the basil into bits and add it into the sauce just before you serve it up over pasta (I used 8 oz. of angel hair multigrain pasta– yummy and cooks in jut 6 minutes).

Makes enough for 3-4 servings– Dinner for us and leftovers for 2 lunches.
I think the grated carrot is the “secret ingredient” that gives it some sweetness!

*It’s cheaper to buy your own basil plant and keep it on your back porch or on a window sill and snip the leaves as you need them, than to buy cut basil at the market– and it lasts for weeks!

Basic (but delicious) Lasagna

IMG_0996Hi there–  Well, you probably have made lasagna more times than you can count.  But I just wanted to include a good basic recipe to work from here.  Made it for my father-in-law Stu’s birthday dinner.  There’s no one more fun to cook for than Stu.  He never fails to go on about how scrumptious dinner is, no matter how plain or fancy.  And lasagna is a favorite of his.  He orders it every time he and Helen go for the early bird special at their favorite Italian place.  So Happy Birthday Stu!!  You’re the best father-in-law a girl could have!!

1 package Barilla no cook lasagna noodles
1 pound Italian sausage
4 tab. olive oil, divided
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, grated
4 tsp. dried basil, divided
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
16 oz. mozzarella, grated
15 oz. carton ricotta cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cup parmesan reggiano, divided

Take the ground Italian sausage out of it’s casing (skin) and drop it into a hot pan coated with 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 1 of the chopped onions.  Cook thoroughly, chopping at the meat until it browned and in fine pieces.

Then in another pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and add in the remaining chopped onion.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Then stir in the garlic and grated carrots and cook 5 minutes more.  Then stir in 3 teaspoons of the basil and the crushed tomatoes.  Season with salt & pepper until tastes just right.  Then stir the Italian Sausage and onion into the marinara sauce.

Mix the ricotta with the two eggs, the remaining teaspoon of basil and 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese.   Grate the mozzarella.

Now it’s time to layer it all up!  Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the largest 9″x13″ pan* that you have.  Then set in the sheets of dry Barilla lasagna pasta to cover the bottom of the pan.  On top of that layer of pasta, spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture,  1/3 of the tomato-meat sauce and then 1/3 of the mozzarella.  Then do two more layers just the same way.  Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan.  Cover the lasagna with foil– be sure it is loose enough to not touch the cheese on top.  And bake it all up in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Then take off the foil and cook for 10 minutes more.  Enjoy all that hot cheesy, noodle-y, tomato-y flavor!  Hope you like it as much as Stu does!

IMG_1001*The 9″x13″ pan I have was not quite big enough– so I can make an extra small lasagna with this much ingredients in a loaf pan and have extra to give a meal to a friend…

Happy Birthday to you Stu!!
You’re the Best!!