Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tonight's Dinner

Here's what we served for dinner in the kitchen tonight. Boy...was it scrumpdillyicious!!

Eggplant Parmesan, lasagna style w/Baby Spring Greens & Peppers Salad
Ok....the main dish is the Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna Style, and the recipe for that comes from "J & J Dish It Out" blog, so all credit goes there to Jenifer! Thank you! Thank you!
Jenifer explains that she usually makes two at a time, so she can have an extra one to freeze.
This is a GREAT idea! Today, though, we only made the one.
And allow us tell you......because of how delicious this meal is, we have found another great way to get the kids to eat a new veggie....eggplant!!! So yummy!!!
Start with these ingredients
2 eggplants
bread crumbs
vegetable oil
mozzarella cheese
Italian blend cheese*
ricotta cheese*
pasta sauce
dried oregano
dried parsley
chopped garlic*
salt & pepper to taste
*Even with all the fore-planning, we goofed on some of the ingredients here!!!
For the Italian blend cheese, we forgot to purchase any, so we mixed in just regular *grated parmesan cheese*.
For the ricotta cheese - Jenifer didn't have the amount listed, and we neglected to look closely at her very clear photo, so we bought the wrong size - NO WORRIES - used our 15oz container of the ricotta and combined it with approx. *12-15oz of cottage cheese*. We blended it really well in the food processor, so it was really smooth like the ricotta.
For the chopped garlic, we ran out yesterday, so we used a *garlic bread spice mix* from Costco & mixed it in the bread crumbs we used in coating the eggplant. This added SUCH an unexpected dimension of flavor!!!
Now that we've gotten our substitutions out of the way....
here's how we went about creating this feast.

Combine the ricotta cheese, Italian cheese blend, a couple of eggs, the dried oregano, dried parsley, and salt & pepper. Mix it really well....we pulsed ours in the food processor and this made it so easy to spread out between layers.

Slice the eggplants into decent thickness
set up a breading assembly line with whisked eggs for the egg wash
and bread crumbs for the breading
aren't these beauties when they're all ready for cooking?
cook in oil until the breading is nice & crispy & the eggplant is cooked through
Gotta show some self-control not to eat these babies at this point! YUM!Now we put it all together in layers!
Start with sauce on the bottom of your dish (we used a 13x9 glass dish).
ricotta cheese/egg/herbs mixture
ricotta cheese/egg/herbs mixture
Your pan will be brimming!
Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.
While that's baking, begin assembling the side salad.
Baby Spring Green Salad Mix
Baby Red & Orange Sweet Peppers, sliced
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Candied Pecans, chopped
Favorite Salad Dressing
For the adults, add a glass of red wine on the side....juice for the kids, and......
Wah Lah!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Planning Stage - A 2 week Dinner menu

Every other Thursday Chatelaine & I work hard to be in the habit of planning out our dinner menu for the next two weeks. Doing this planning makes shopping the following day a lot easier, and A LOT goes into this.... scouring cookbooks, food network's websites and of course, a few "fall back" staples. Chatelaine has taken to checking out ethnic cookbooks from her school's library, so we've also been incorporating some of those recipes into our menu planning. She loves doing this, and it's a highlight for her to be able to cook these meals.

This last planning session, we took to other blogs for recipes, and we struck GOLD at J & J Dish It Out. We have seven dinners planned from what we found on their blog. Check them out!!!

Tonight's dinner we found on their blog, but originated on Rookie Cookie's blog. Her original recipe called for salmon, but Rosebud is allergic, so we subbed swordfish, and it was DELISH!!!

We are going to share our menus here and then set about to display as many of our favorites as we have time to share. Here's the current dinner menu we're working with:

Dinner Menu - Saturday (2/21/09) thru Friday (3/6/09)

  1. Grilled Steak w/mustard sauce (from J & J Dish)
  2. Tilapia and Israeli Bean Soup (school cookbook)
  3. Hoisin Marinated Swordfish (from Rookie Cookie via J & J Dish)
  4. Eggplant Parmesan, lasagna style (J & J Dish)
  5. Fettucini Alfredo (a long-time fave from a family friend)
  6. Turkey Chili
  7. Easy Sweet & Sour Chicken (J & J Dish)
  8. leftovers
  9. Pork Chops
  10. Beef Kebabs w/Peanut Dipping Sauce (J & J Dish)
  11. Twice baked potatoes
  12. Spinach White Bean & Turkey Sausage Soup (J & J Dish)
  13. Mexican on Meeting Night (J & J Dish)
  14. leftovers

It's gonna be fun working through this list!

Israeli Bean Soup (Marak Shu'It), Tilapia and Baby Spring Salad

Preheat oven to 425 degrees for the Tilapia
For the soup, start with these ingredients - 1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, undrained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
3 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3 cups water

In a large soup pot/kettle, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until transparent but not brown.

Add beans, tomato paste, chicken broth, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley to kettle. Stir in 3 cups water. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover kettle and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

For the Tilapia....we love this stuff from Costco.
When soup is nearly 15 minutes from being done, pop these into the oven for the 12 minutes.
While these are baking, throw together the salad.

Baby Spring Salad Mix
Sliced Zucchini
Feta Cheese
Candied Pecans, chopped
Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinegarette dressing

When it's all said and done.....here is what you get! YUM-O!!!