Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe adapted from The Fit Cook

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds 
  • 1 medium tomato 
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (or mozzarella) 
  • 3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 ball smoked mozzarella  
  • salt + pepper 
  • olive oil 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash the eggplant, then slice it into 1/2-inch rounds. Lay the eggplant on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Let the eggplant sit 5 minutes: the salt will draw bitter liquid out of the eggplant. Pat dry with a paper towel. Flip and repeat.

3. Beat the egg in a shallow dish or bowl and set aside. In a separate shallow dish or bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. While the pan comes up to temperature, pat the eggplant dry with a paper. Pass each slice through the egg, then through the bread crumbs. Place the eggplant in the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Drizzle with extra olive oil before flipping them over. Cook the second side another 5 minutes.

5. While the eggplant cooks, slice the mozzarella and wash the tomato, then cut it into 1/4-inch slices. (You can remove the seeds if you want to.)

6. Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up. Top half of the eggplant slices with 1 slice of mozzarella, then top with another slice of eggplant. Place a slice of tomato over the eggplant, and sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden. Garnish with fresh basil and serve. 

My Kitchen Remodel and Unexpected Side Effects   

We started a major kitchen remodel last Wednesday.  It was packed up and off-limits the Sunday before that.  That’s almost two weeks without the room in my house that is my solace. My place to recover after a long day of work. My world to be creative and cook. The room where we gather as a family on Sunday afternoons/evenings to cook and enjoy a large meal. I watch my son play in the back yard from those windows. I watch our dog, Pepper, scrounge for crumbs in continuous circles around the island. I relive family memories from the dishes and other items passed down to me.

Before the remodel, I already knew how important the kitchen is to me. Without it, however, I learned how important it is to my well-being and sanity.  When my home is cluttered, so is my mind. Little things I can normally handle with ease have been a struggle. Every small annoyance grates on me. I have no place to go to escape.

So many people keep reminding me, “Yeah, but it will be worth it!” Yes. It will be. My favorite space in my house will be new, refreshed, rejuvenated.  But until then, I will not be.  So, please stop saying “It’s a small price to pay for a new kitchen.” For people that have anxiety and depression, it’s not a small price to lose your haven.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful that we have the resources to upgrade our home. I am beyond grateful that this is happening. I am blessed with a husband that is letting me pretty much have my way on everything we’ve done to the kitchen.  I’m more blessed that he’s been a rock for me during these past two weeks.

But, it’s time for the dust to settle. It’s time for me to be able to be in my happy space again.

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Egg and Potato Scramble

Looking for a quick meal to make on a busy weeknight? Only have a few things in your fridge? Trying whipping up an egg scramble or frittata.  I almost always have eggs, some kind of cheese, and leftover veg or meat to toss in it.  I made this one last night.  My kiddo always loves breakfast food at dinner and I love it because it’s easy to make.

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  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 c frozen hash browns with peppers and onions (often called Potatoes O’Brien)
  • 6 eggs, whisked with a bit of milk
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • Several dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Tabañero)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese
  1. Dice the onion and sauté until soft. (Be sure to use a fairly large, oven-proof skillet.)
  2. Add the frozen hash browns. Spread them out in a single layer in the skillet and let them brown on one side before stirring and flipping to the other side.  Repeat the browning on the 2nd side.
  3. While the onions and hash browns are cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, spices, and hot sauce.  Set your oven to a high broiler setting as well.
  4. Once the onions and hash browns are done, push them to one side of the pan and pour in your eggs.  Slowly scramble them until they are almost set to your liking.
  5. Then mix them together with the onions and hashbrowns until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the scramble and put under your broiler until the cheesy is melted and bubbly
  7. Serve with extra hot sauce on the side and enjoy!

Serves 3. (2 eggs/person)

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

Broccoli Cranberry Salad | Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 24oz fresh chopped broccoli 
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup salted and roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise 
  • 3 T Greek yogurt
  • 1 T champagne vinegar 
  • 1 T honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Soak red onion in cold water for 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Combine mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients (through pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Stir in red onion, broccoli, and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving.

Serves 8. 

Boozy Spin on National Blueberry Month!

July is officially in full swing and many are celebrating National Blueberry Month by heading to blueberry fields with family and friends. If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate all your freshly picked blueberries into seasonal recipes, why not try one of these delicious cocktails featuring Pomegranate Blueberry SPARKLING ICE.
WINE SUPERCOOLER
Ingredients:
  • 1 Part Reisling
  • 1 Part Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling Ice
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • 1 Teaspoon Agave
  • Mint (to garnish)
Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients in a pitcher
  2. Pour contents into wine glasses
  3. Add mint to garnish
MONTMORENCY
Ingredients:
  • 1 Part Dry Champagne
  • 1 Part Pomegranate Blueberry Sparkling Ice
  • Mint (to garnish)
  • Blueberries (to garnish)
Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients in flutes
  2. Add fresh mint and blueberries to garnish

Orange Chicken Meatballs

from: Life Made Simple

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My 6 year old is like most others – a picky eater. He has never, EVER liked pasta (seriously? Did they switch babies on me at the hospital?), would live off of pb&j sammies if I’d let him, and has recently started having hunger attacks at 8:07pm every night.

However, one of his favorite things in the world to eat is Chinese Orange Chicken. Yep. You heard me. SPICY Orange Chicken. Again, if he could eat it every day, he would.

So, when I found this variation, I asked him if he’d like me to make it. He said, “Yeah! Sure! That’ll be good!”

I was unsure. I’ve tried variations on other things he likes and it goes over like a lead weight.

Much to my surprise, he did love it, and wanted seconds! He is also currently eating Round 3 as an after-school snack.

For the meatballs

  • ¼ c. milk
  • ½ c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 
1½ lb. ground chicken
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 
2 tbsp. green onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 
1/4 tsp. salt
  • 
1/4 tsp. black pepper

For the sauce

  • ½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ c. granulated sugar or honey
  • ⅓ c. white or rice vinegar
  • ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and panko breadcrumbs. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, egg, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together just until combined (overworking it will cause the meatballs to be dense).
  3. Shape into meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked throughout (internal temperature of 165).
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, sugar or honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the cold water and cornstarch, add to the saucepan. Whisk until combined, continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens (I usually let mine go for about 8 minutes).
  5. Place the meatballs in a large bowl and cover with sauce. Toss to coat, serve hot.

Vegetable Ramen Stir Fry

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adapted from Life Made Simple

Yield: 4-6 servings
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 packages instant noodles (ramen or yakisoba)
  • ½ small cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup canned bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp. white wine
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, bell pepper, carrot and onion. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Place the noodles in the boiling water, cook for a few minutes, they do not need to be fully cooked. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the cabbage and sprouts and saute for 2 minutes, then pour in the wine.
  5. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame and black pepper. Add the noodles. Pour the sauce into the skillet, toss together and cook for an additional minute or two. Serve hot, garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

Classic Movie Night Snacks

Grab your family’s favorite movies and curl up in the living room with these cute twists on classic theater treats from FamilyFun magazine. These simple and fun recipes are the perfect way to get kids excited about helping in the kitchen before a fun family movie night.

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Image courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

BLUE RASPBERRY SLUSHIE

Little movie critics will slurp this super slushie right up.

Makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups cream soda
  • ½ tsp. Kool-Aid Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade powdered mix
  • 3 cups crushed ice
  • 2 drops blue food coloring
  • 2 Rainbow Twizzlers
  1. Help your child measure the cream soda and Kool-Aid into a blender. Add ice and food coloring, and blend until smooth.
  2. Cut the ends off Rainbow Twizzlers, stick them in the drinks as straws, and all the kiddos will have to worry about is brain freeze!
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Image courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

TINY STROMBOLI

This pizza-parlor staple goes mini—turning it into the perfect food for your viewing party.

Makes 5 servings

  • 2 cans refrigerated smallbiscuit dough
  • 60 slices pepperoni (about half a 6-oz. package)
  • 20 one-inch cubes of mozzarella cheese, cut from cheese sticks
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 jar (14 oz.) pizza sauce, warmed
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  2. Help your kids roll out each biscuit to ⅛-inch thick. Place 3 slices pepperoni and 1 cube cheese on each round. Pull the edges up around the filling, and pinch dough together at the top. Place in the pan, with the seam side down.
  3. Repeat with all the dough rounds, slice two vents in the top of each, and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with dried herbs and garlic powder.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with pizza sauce.
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Image courtesy of FamilyFun Magazie

POPCORN CRUNCH

Sweet! Salty! Crunchy! This pumped-up popcorn is a winner.

Makes 5 servings

  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup broken pecans
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2 cups thin pretzel knots, broken into pieces
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with nonstick foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the popcorn, pecans, apricots, and pretzels.
  3. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt (an adult’s job). Cook over medium heat until it boils. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and baking soda.
  4. Pour caramel over popcorn, stirring. Spread onto baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring twice. Remove from oven and cool completely. Break into chunks and serve.

Sarafina’s One-Pot Pasta

Sarafina's One-Pot Pasta|Sarafina's Kitchen

  • 16 ounces linguine
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs basil, chopped or chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1 T lemon olive oil with 1 T regular – yum!)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups water (or 3 cups of broth and 1 cup of white wine)
  • 2-3 small Parmesan rinds to add to the stock (for creaminess)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. Combine everything into the pot but the grated Parmesan. Make sure the pasta lays flat.
  2. Bring to boil over high heat.
  3. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated Parmesan.

Sarafina's Kitchen | One-Pot Pasta

Sarafina's Kitchen | One-Pot Pasta

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