Category Archives: Main Course

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is a dish that I absolutely love, but don’t make often enough.  Back in August, we were invited to our friend’s family beach house in NY.  We had a fabulous time and ate delicious food.  Our friend’s dad cooked us some amazing eggplant parmesan; the eggplants, tomatoes, and basil were all from his garden.  Instead of coating the eggplant in breadcrumbs, he coated each slice with flour and egg and then fried.  It was delicious because you could actually taste the freshness of the eggplant.  Sometimes, eggplant parmesan is overly drenched in breadcrumbs and as a result, takes away from the actual taste of the eggplant.  In lieu of this amazing eggplant parm, I decided to make it the same way – sans breadcrumbs.  This dish is Italian, comfort food at its finest!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 24 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • About 20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large stock pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds.  Add crushed tomatoes, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25-30 minutes.
  3. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.  Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl.  Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, and then dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.
  4. Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant slices, turning over once, until golden brown, 5-6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.
  5. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish.  Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary.  Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella and Parmesan.  Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheeses.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35-40 minutes.

*Adapted from Gourmet

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Shrimp Scampi Fra Diavolo


Good things happen when the hubby cooks dinner, like Shrimp Scampi Fra Diavolo.  My hubby cooked this for us this past weekend and it was amazing!  The hubby and I have a rule that each week we try a new cuisine or try cooking something new.  I couldn’t believe that we’d never tried making fra diavolo before, but I guess we hadn’t (or at least not in a long time).  Fra diavolo means “brother devil” in Italian so you can imagine that this sauce is spicey.  It’s a simple sauce – in its basic form it consists of tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  You can add onions, parsley, lemon juice, wine, etc. as well.  The scampi part of the dish was my favorite part!  The hubby fried some panko bread crumbs in olive oil and mixed them with fresh parsley that he sprinkled over the entire dish.  This was a great dish to end the long week!
Do you like to eat/cook new cuisines/dishes?  If so, what’s your favorite cuisine/dish?

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp butter, divide
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumb
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1 1/4 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 lb. linguine

Directions:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add panko and stir until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to small bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons parsley.  Wipe out skillet.
  2. Heat a large stock pot with salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook linguine according to directions.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.  Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in same skillet over high heat.  Add onion and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic, tomatoes, and crushed red pepper and sauté 1 minute.  Add shrimp and sauté until barely opaque in center, about 1 minute per side.  Add white wine and lemon juice and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and reduced, 2 to 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in remaining 6 tablespoons parsley.
  4. Drain linguine, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.  Mix linguine with shrimp.  If pasta is dry, add pasta water 1/2 cup at a time.  Sprinkle panko crumbs on top.  Serve immediately.

*Adapted from Epicurious

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Filed under Main Course, Pasta

Chicken Parm Meatball Subs

I’m back!  Sorry for the 1.5 week hiatus, but I was traveling in India and overcoming a mild case of food poisoning and severe case of jet lag.  Since I returned home sick and tired (literally), I wasn’t cooking at all, just eating chicken noodle soup and sleeping.  And now that I’m back and feeling much better, I can honestly say that India was a wonderful experience.  While I was there for work and didn’t get a chance to sightsee that much, I did get to eat some delicious Indian fare.  And let it be known that I did not get sick off of Indian food – it was actually pizza at the hotel, which in my defense, tasted delicious.  I think the cheese is what got me and since the hotel food had been so delicious up until that point, the dairy/pasteurization thing had slipped my mind… until I got sick that is!  But now I’m back and fully recovered, so enjoy these Chicken Parm Meatball Subs because they are a delicious twist on the Italian classic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil, plus 3 tbsp
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
  • 4 crusty sub rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place chicken in a bowl and season liberally with sea salt and pepper.  Add egg, half of the grated cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and a 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl.  Mix the meat and form 12 large meatballs.  Bake the meatballs 15 minutes until golden and firm. Switch the broiler on.
  3. While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and minced garlic and cook 5 minutes.  Add red pepper flakes and then tomatoes and stir in the chicken stock.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes, adjust seasonings and stir in the basil.  Reserve any extra sauce for dipping on dinner table.
  4. Remove the meatballs from oven and place in sauce.  Cut sub rolls and lightly toast under broiler.  Fill the bottoms with meatballs and sauce.  Combine the provolone and remaining Parmesan and sprinkle over the subs.  Return to broiler to melt the cheese until golden.

*Adapted from Food Network

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Lentils in Herb-Arugula Yogurt

I hope you had a fabulous weekend!  They are always too short, right?  Here’s a side dish that I made this past week that is healthy and delicious: Lentils in Herb-Arugula Yogurt.  This dish is easy to prepare and makes a great lunch to bring to work.  I love lentils because they contain a lot of protein, so I’m always looking for new lentil recipes.  Since I had some arugula that was in desperate need of eating and some Greek yogurt, I decided this was the perfect dish to make.  I added some fresh parsley and lemon juice and then let it chill in the refrigerator.  While you can eat this dish warm, I found that letting all the flavors mesh together in the refrigerator really made this dish taste awesome.  Here’s another great protein-fix dish that you need to try!
What’s your favorite protein dish?
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 pound cucumber—peeled, seeded and coarsely shredded (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.   Add the arugula and blanch for 30 seconds.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Squeeze out excess water and transfer the arugula to a food processor.  Add the parsley and mint and process until finely chopped.  Transfer the puree to a colander and squeeze out any excess liquid.  Transfer the puree to a large bowl.
  3. Stir the yogurt, shredded cucumber, lemon juice,  and lentils into the arugula puree and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to small bowls and serve.  The dish can be refrigerated overnight.
*Adapted from Food & Wine

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Filed under Main Course, Side Dishes

Corned Beef Hash w/Poached Eggs

Wondering what to do with those St. Patty’s Day leftovers?  Here’s the perfect solution:  Corned Beef Hash w/Poached Eggs.  This dish is so simple because all the work has already been done (i.e. cooking the corned beef, cabbage, veggies, etc.).  You can eat the hash by itself because it’s that amazing, but topping it with a poached egg or two is even better.  I’m not a huge egg fan, but I do love poached eggs.  We had this dish for dinner tonight and it was scrumptious… the perfect way to use up those leftovers.  Enjoy!

Corned Beef Hash Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cabbage (reserved from corned beef)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots (reserved from corned beef)
  • 2 cups finely chopped corned beef
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes (reserved from corned beef)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Poached Eggs:

  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2-4 large eggs
Directions For corned beef hash:
  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.  Once olive oil is is hot, add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add cabbage and carrots and sauté 5 minutes.  Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl and stir in corned beef and potatoes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add beaten eggs and toss to coat.
  3. Melt butter in same skillet over medium-high heat.  Add corned beef hash mixture and cook until golden brown on bottom, occasionally pressing down with spatula, about 4 minutes.  Turn hash mixture over in small portions and cook until second side is golden brown, occasionally pressing down with spatula, about 3 more minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring about 2″ of water in a pan to simmer (right before water boils).  Using small ramekins or individual bowls, crack an egg into each dish.  Once water is starting to form bubbles on bottom, gently slide 1 egg at a time into simmering water.  Cook until egg whites are set, about 4 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, transfer hash to plates.  Using a slotted spoon, carefully top each hash plate with 1-2 eggs and serve.
*Adapted from Bon Appétit

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Filed under Breakfast, Main Course

Pork Shoulder Pulled Pork Sandwiches


Pork Shoulder Pulled Pork Sandwiches are amazing!  Pork shoulder is an affordable cut (I can feed 5 people, with leftovers, for around $8-10).  It’s also really easy to cook – you just let it cook all day in your slow cooker until it becomes moist and tender.  First, I salt and pepper my shoulder and place it in my slow cooker (fat side up) with orange wedges and a little orange juice.  I let this baby cook all day until the meat is practically falling off the bone.  I strip, or “pull,” the meat from the bone and return it to the slow cooker with about a half a bottle of this delicious Dinosaur BBQ sauce.  Let it cook on low for an additional 30 minutes and serve atop some delicious toasted buns.  You’re good to go – these are the perfect sandwiches to serve at your Super Bowl party!

Ingredients:

  • 1, 5lb pork shoulder
  • 1 orange, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 bottle Dinosaur BBQ sauce
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper for rubbing shoulder
  • Sandwich buns

Directions:

  1. Rub both sides of the pork shoulder with sea salt and cracked black pepper and place in slow cooker, fat side up.  Pour orange juice over and scatter orange wedges around pork.  Cook on low, 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.
  2. Remove pork shoulder to carving board and allow to cool until meat can be pulled.  Remove orange wedges from slow cooker and discard.  Once pork has cooled, pull strips of pork off with a fork and place back in slow cooker.  Pour BBQ sauce over pulled pork and mix well.  Cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.  Place pulled pork on sandwich buns and serve immediately.

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Steak Au Poivre w/Red Wine Sauce & Rosemary Polenta

On New Year’s Eve, I had steak au poivre (pepper steak in French) at Ray’s to the Third Restaurant in D.C.  If you’re familiar with the restaurant scene in D.C., you have definitely heard of Ray’s the Steaks, Ray’s Hellburger, and/or his newest restaurant, Ray’s to the Third.  I loved this steak because the crushed peppercorns definitely gave the meat flavor and a little zing too.  I decided to make my hubby Steak Au Poivre with Red Wine Sauce.  I served the steaks and sauce over a bed of Rosemary Polenta.  I love making polenta because not only is it simple to make, but you can add whatever cheeses or spices you want.  I also love it because it sopped up all that delicious red wine sauce.  Definitely give this dish a try.  Happy eating!


Ingredients:

  • 4 filet mignon steaks
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Red Wine Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (I used Chianti)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle both sides of steaks generously with sea salt and pepper, pressing pepper into both sides.  Let the steaks sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cooking.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the steaks and cook to desired doneness; I cooked my steaks to medium, 5 minutes on each side.  Remove the steaks to a plate and cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Meanwhile, in the same saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and rosemary and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the wine and beef stock and bring to a boil until reduced by half, about 4-5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium, whisk in the tomato and cornstarch, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve steaks a top Rosemary Polenta and spoon sauce over steaks, allowing to soak into polenta.

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