No Fry Eggplant Parmesan Recipe – 30 Minutes

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Eggplant Parmesan can be…..

…..done a few different ways resulting in various levels of time needed and mess made.

A long time ago I was working as a grunt in an Italian restaurant and meet this cook named Sal. He was always complaining about the Italian food here in America and how so much of it wasn’t the “real thing”. On the subject of eggplant parmesan, or as Sal called it “parmigiana di melanzane” .

He said, “Real Italian cooks bake the eggplant for parmigiana not fry it.”

At the time I just wrote it off as another one of his rants.

Then, years later, I saw Mario Batelli do it this way on his television show. So I had to try it and it is now the way that I do it all the time.

Quicker, less mess and just the right texture. Not crunchy and not mushy.

Set the oven at 400°F/205C. If you are not using a nonstick cookie sheet then line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray or wipe it with olive oil.

Cut the ends off of the eggplant and peel them. Some cooks leave the skin on but we don’t like the taste of the skin. Then slice into about 1/2 inch thick slices.

Using a little more than your gut tells you to, salt and pepper both sides of the eggplant slices and lay them out in the cookie sheet.

About 8 minutes or until slightly browned a little and just starting to get soft. The time will vary with different eggplants do to how ripe they might be.

BTW – when you are picking out your eggplant get the ones with the the least – or hopefully none – skin blemishes and lightest in weight.

Lightly cover half of the slices with tomato sauce – you could use  fresh or canned tomatoes in a pinch – and top with the mozzarella. Lay the naked slices on top of the well dressed slices and this time after the mozzarella sprinkle some dried basil  and grated parmesan cheese. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.

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In the resulting bare spot in the pan spread out your veggie of choice for today. Broccoli or string beans will work. We like asparagus for this.

Give the asparagus the same tomato sauce, cheese, basil and olive oil topping that you gave the top eggplant layer. Into the oven for for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is done the way that YOU like it. 

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Then buon appetito!! Enjoy your No Fry Eggplant Parmesan. 

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Chianti of course!!

 

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Eggplant parmesan done with baked eggplant slices instead of fried.
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Course Main course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
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Course Main course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Set the oven at 400°F/205C. If you are not using a nonstick cookie sheet then line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray or wipe it with olive oil. Cut the ends off of the eggplant and peel them. Then slice into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Using a little more than your gut tells you to, salt and pepper both sides of the eggplant slices and lay them out in the cookie sheet. About 8 minutes or until slightly browned a little and just starting to get soft. The time will vary with different eggplants do to how ripe they might be.
  2. Lightly cover half of the slices with marinara sauce - you could use sliced tomatoes in a pinch - and top with the mozzarella. Lay the naked slices on top of the well dressed slices and this time after the mozzarella sprinkle some dried basil and grated parmesan cheese. Lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  3. In the resulting bare spot in the pan spread out your veggie of choice for today. Any stalky kind of green will work. We like asparagus for this. Give the asparagus the same tomato sauce, cheese and basil topping that you gave the top eggplant layer. Bake in to the oven for for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is done the way that you like it.
  4. Then buon appetito!! Enjoy your No Fry Eggplant Parmesan.
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Date Night Filet Mignon can lead to happy endings

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Date Night Filet Mignon

A long long time ago when Gammy and were out on our first date I wanted to impress her so I took her to the fanciest, snootiest restaurant that I could find.

Even though she had grown up on a farm she had never heard of “Filet Mignon”. I wanted to impress her with my sophistication and worldly knowledge – yeah  right – so I convinced her to try Filet Mignon. I just told her that it was a “high class” kind of steak that I liked. 

She said, “Ok, I’ll try something new. I’m  here with you aren’t I?”

When the waiter took her order and asked how she would like it she said, “I’d like it rare, please.”

We joked through a few double entendres about “rare” and how she would like it as we enjoyed our wine.

In my efforts to impress her I had ordered a good Italian pinot noir.

“Wow, this is good! I’ve never had wine before. Just beer and sometimes a little bourbon.”

Since that first date we have always shared a bottle of wine with our dinners.

When our filet mignons were served she said, “Oh, it’s beef tenderloin steak”. 

So much for my efforts at making an impression.

Still to this day, almost 40 years later, on our “date nights” we just about always have Filet Mignon accompanied by a good Italian red wine.

I’ve done our Filet Mignon a lot of different ways. From just pan seared with salt and pepper to pizzaiola and everything in between. 

This way has become our favorite. 

What makes this way so good is the butter mixture that you will use to cook the steaks in and also top them with as you serve them.

Take your steaks out of the fridge and let them get closer to room temperature while you put together your butter mixture.

And for that butter mixture cut a half stick of butter into pads and put the pads on your cutting board. 

Mince the garlic, zest the lemon and chop the parsley.

Put the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, dried basil, cayenne pepper and grated parmesan on top of the butter and……

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……using a table knife or a small spatula smash it and mix it all together. Then form it into a kinda mini loaf of bread shape.

I learned this recipe a long time ago working at a fancy restaurant while still in high school. The chef would have me mix up the butter mixture and put it in ice cube trays and freeze them. So then they would be waiting for us during the busy dinner hours.

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Put a skillet on at medium high and swirl in just about a tablespoon of olive oil and plunk in about a third of the butter mixture. 

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While the skillet is getting hot generously salt and pepper both sides of the filets.

When the oil and butter have stopped acting up and leveled out put in the steaks. The butter and oil will foam up again but that’s ok.

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Cook the steaks about 3 minutes a side then test them. When the steaks are just starting to get firm or they read 130° on an instant read meat thermometer they are rare. When they are definitely firm to a poke and read 165° they are well done. The in-betweens will give you medium rare, medium and medium well. I’m sure that your meat thermometer has the temperatures for all of the different meats listed on it.

Serve up your Filet Mignon steaks and top them with pads of the butter mixture and the liquid from the skillet.

 

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Some of Poppop’s easy homemade bread to dip in those juices is just about a must and for old times sake we had a real good bottle of Italian Pinot Noir with our Date Night Filet Mignon.

 

 

 

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Beef tenderloin steaks seared in and topped with butter laced with some herbs and spices.
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Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
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Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
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Instructions
  1. Take your steaks out of the fridge and let them get closer to room temperature while you put together your butter mixture. And for that butter mixture cut a half stick of butter into pads and put the pads on your cutting board. Mince the garlic, zest the lemon and chop the parsley. Put the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, dried basil, grated parmesan and cayenne pepper on top of the butter and using a table knife or a small spatula mix it all together and form it into a kinda mini loaf of bread shape.
  2. Put skillet on at medium high and swirl in just about a tablespoon of olive oil and plunk in about a third of the butter mixture. While the skillet is getting hot generously salt and pepper both sides of the filets. When the oil and butter have stopped acting up and leveled out put in the steaks. The butter and oil will foam up again but that's ok. Cook the steaks about 3 minutes a side and test them. When the steaks are just starting to get firm or they read 130° on an instant read meat thermometer they are rare. When they are definitely firm to a poke and read 165° they are well done. The in-betweens will give you medium rare, medium and medium well. I'm sure that your meat thermometer has the temperatures listed on it or they came with it on paper.
  3. Serve up your Filet Mignon steaks and top with the butter mixture and the liquid from the skillet.
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One Pot Weeknight Chicken Dinner – Quick and Easy – 25 Minutes

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 One Pot Weeknight Chicken Dinner will be….

 ….real good on the weeknight that you make it and also the leftovers will be great as a lunch at work or as a “weeknight nuke it no brainer” on one of those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

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A lot of my readers are working moms and/or dads so I hope, no I’ll bet, that  this recipe helps.

It’s quick,  easy, and delish!

First get out your dishwasher safe cutting board and cut up the chicken. In the pursuit of quick and easy I just thawed out some tenders in the microwave and cut them into pieces.

Put a large skillet or sauté pan on at medium high and swirl in enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Put in the chicken pieces and stir them around a few times as they cook.

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When they have browned add the carrots, salt, pepper and dried basil.

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Mix it up a few times until the carrots just begin to get a little soft. I test them with a table fork.

Add the broth and let it come up to a fast simmer. Then…

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…..put in the gnocchi.  Stir a few more times until the gnocchi starts to float, 2-3 minutes. You could use cut up potatoes or some small piece pasta like penne or rigatoni instead of gnocchi. Just put it in at the same time as the broth.

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Then add the peas.

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Mix the peas in and when broth starts to simmer again throw in the grated parmesan.

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Stir in the parmesan and it’s ready to enjoy! Top it off with a little more grated parmesan when you serve it. 
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A nice chardonnay goes along real good with your One Pot Weeknight Chicken Dinner.

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Chicken, Gnocchi and Veggies all in one pot and in 25 Minutes
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Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
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Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes
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Instructions
  1. First get out your dishwasher safe cutting board and cut up the chicken. Put a large skillet or sauté pan on at medium high and swirl in enough olive oil in to coat the bottom. Put in the chicken pieces and stir them around a few times as they cook. When they have browned add the carrots and the salt, pepper and dried basil. Mix it up a few times until the carrots just begin to get a little soft. I test them with a table fork.
  2. Add the broth and let it come up to a fast simmer. Then put in the gnocchi. Stir a few more times until the gnocchi starts to float.
  3. Then add the peas. Mix the peas in and when broth starts to simmer again throw in the grated parmesan. Stir in the parmesan and it's ready to enjoy! Top it off with a little more grated parmesan.
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Shrimp Piccata – Quick and Easy – 25 Minutes

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Shrimp Piccata is another

..quick and easy traditional Italian recipe that..

.. is still a great weeknight dinner for busy people.

In the United States it is most frequently done with chicken breast filets and served with pasta.

We have posted a recipe for chicken piccata and another for Salmon Piccata

In Italy it is most often made with veal and served by itself as the “secundo” or main course.

If you and your gang like shrimp then you will love this Shrimp Piccata. 

You can buy your shrimp already thawed, peeled and deveined in the seafood section of your grocery store. If your shrimp have to be thawed it will just take a couple of minutes in the microwave and a few more to peel and devein.

Put a pot of salted water on at medium high and add the pasta. When the water starts to simmer the pasta will be done. Stir it a few times while it’s cooking. If it is al dente before you are done with the Shrimp Piccata just drain off the water, drizzle in a little olive oil and stir it up getting the pasta all coated with the oil. Put it on an idle back burner to keep warm.

In fact, when the Shrimp Piccata is ready you could heat up the pasta right  in the Shrimp Piccata.

Put a skillet on at medium high and add the butter. While the butter melts slice up the lemon and add the slices to the pan.

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Give the lemon slices about a minute in the butter then add the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes (optional), white wine, garlic, capers, basil and parsley.

Mix it all together and push it all out to the outside edge of the pan. Add the shrimp laying them out flat.

Bring it up to a fast simmer and after about a minute turn the shrimp over. 

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After another minute add the grated parmesan cheese and stir it up as the cheese melts and thickens your Shrimp Piccata.

Serve your Shrimp Piccata over the pasta and top it with some grated parmesan. and parsley flakes.

Bon Appetito!

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We had the rest of that nice bottle of white wine – an Italian Soave – with our Shrimp Piccata. 

And of course some of Poppop’s easy homemade bread for dipping!

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Shrimp sautéed in white wine with lemon slices and capers.
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Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5-10 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes
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Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5-10 minutes
Cook Time 15-20 minutes
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Instructions
  1. Put a skillet on at medium high and add the butter. While the butter melts slice up the lemon and add the slices to the pan. Give the lemon slices about a minute in the butter then add the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes (optional), white wine, garlic, capers, basil and parsley. Mix it all together and push it all out to the outside edge of the pan. Add the shrimp laying them out flat. Bring it up to a fast simmer and after about a minute turn the shrimp over. After another minute add the grated parmesan cheese and stir it up as the cheese melts and thickens your Shrimp Piccata.
  2. Serve your Shrimp Piccata over the pasta and top it with some grated parmesan. and parsley flakes.
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