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
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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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Little Italy Garlic Chicken – Butter – Garlic – Parsley – Lemon

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Little Italy Garlic Chicken is…

….Butter, Chicken, Garlic and Parsley plus a little lemon added to it. That is the whole shebang.  

Once again we have a “Quick and easy Recipe for Busy People” that is real real good.

Way back, when we lived in New Jersey we would frequently zip over to Little Italy in Manhattan for dinner.

Our very most favorite restaurant was this little place on Mulberry Street in Little Italy called the Grotto Azzurra aka The Blue Gratto in street speak.

It was opened in 1908 by a family of Italian immigrants and was named after the Blue Grotto on the isle of Capri. Which is just offshore from Naples.

When we were going there it was one level below street level and only had about 10 tables.

Frank Sinatra used to go there when he was in town as did Robert Dinero.  

Whenever we were there there were always a few “mob” looking types that you did not make eye contact with.

When we got in – after a wait in line – the server would immediately – and before any conversation – put a pitcher with some slices of oranges and lemons in it on the table and then pour in a bottle of red wine which then became Sangria. No questions asked, they would just do it for every party that came in.

I would almost always order the Garlic Chicken. It was, like so many good Italian recipes, simple and made with just a few fresh ingredients.

What I was served at the “Blue Gratto” very apparently was chicken thighs – skin on and bone in –  marinated in a garlic and oil mixture for at least a few hours, more likely over night.

Dredged in flour and sautéed in good olive oil with sliced garlic added at the last minute of the frying process. 

It would arrive with the garlic slices spooned over the chicken and topped with some chopped parsley and with just a little taste of lemon. 

It was fantastic!

After dinner we would walk around Little Italy for a little while and find our way around the corner to Ferrara’s Bakery and Cafe and have some of their world class Sfogliatella and/or……

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…..Cannoli

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with their made to order espresso that was brought to the table in the pot that it was made in and if you asked nice and had a history of tipping good a little Sambuca would magically appear in the bottom of your cup.

Forgive me when I say that I think that I have improved a little on the Blue Gratto version of Garlic Chicken….

….well,, for our “Quick and Easy” requirements anyway.

We don’t have time to marinate the chicken like they did at the Blue Gratto so let’s do it like this.

You can get pre trimmed and flattened chicken breasts in the grocery store or you could butterfly your chicken breasts and flatten them a little while wrapped in glad wrap.

For quick and easy I always have some of the pre trimmed version in the freezer and just thaw them out in the microwave.

Put a skillet on at medium high and swirl in enough olive oil to cover the bottom. 

Salt and pepper both sides of the breasts and pan fry them in the skillet for about 4-5 minutes a side.

When the liquid sneaking out of the breasts is clear and/or they are firm to a finger poke remove them to a plate that will catch the drippings.

While the chicken is cooking chop up the garlic cloves or just go with that pre chopped version that you can find in jars in the produce section and chop up the parsley leaves. Have the fresh lemon ready.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, let it melt and put the garlic in the skillet. Give the garlic just a minute or just until it starts to become fragrant. Put the chicken breasts and the drippings back in, squeeze the lemon juice in and toss in the rind. Turn them and spoon the butter and garlic on them as they warm back up. 

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When the chicken is warm, almost hot to the touch put in the parsley and do a little more of the turning and spooning.

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Serve it up!  Buon Appetito! 

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I put together some sautéed spinach as our veggie tonight and since we had some garlic and good extra virgin olive oil on hand (always) I had some pasta aglio e olio. Gammy eats gluten free so I put together some “spaghetti squash aglio e olio” for her.

 

Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio was our vino of choice to go with our Little Italy Garlic Chicken.

 

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Chicken sautéed with butter, garlic and parsley.
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Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
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Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
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Instructions
  1. Salt and pepper both sides of the breasts and pan fry them in the skillet for about 4-5 minutes a side. When the liquid sneaking out of the breasts is clear and they are firm to a finger poke remove them to a plate that will catch the drippings.
  2. While the chicken is cooking chop up the garlic cloves or just go with that pre chopped version that you can find in the produce section and chop up the parsley leaves. Have the fresh lemon ready. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, let it melt and put the garlic in the skillet. Give the garlic just a minute or just until it starts to become fragrant. Put the chicken breasts and the drippings back in, squeeze the lemon juice in and toss in the rind. Turn them and spoon the butter and garlic on them as they warm back up. When the chicken is warm, almost hot to the touch put in the parsley and do a little more of the turning and spooning.
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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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Prep 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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Chicken Pasta Primavera – Quick and Easy – 25 Minutes

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Chicken Pasta Primavera is a…..

…….Quick and Easy weeknight meal that you can put together with just about any vegetables that you have on hand.

Primavera translated from Italian means springtime but Pasta Primavera originated by an Italian chef in New York City in the 1970’s.

Enough history let’s get your Chicken Pasta Primavera going.

Put the chicken tenders in the microwave to thaw out while you cut up the vegetables. When I rooted around in the fridge I found some broccoli, asparagus, string beans, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, some mushrooms leftover from our last batch  of chicken marsala and some onions. But, literally, any vegetable or vegetables will work.

Put a large skillet or sauté pan on at medium high and swirl in some olive oil. While it’s heating up cut up the chicken tenders. When the pan is hot, put in the chicken and sprinkle it with some salt and pepper.

Put a pot of salted water on for your pasta and cook the pasta while you put together to Primavera part. If the pasta is al dente before the veggies are cooked just drain it and drizzle a little olive oil in. Stir it to get the pasta covered with the oil and put it on an idle back burner to keep warm while it waits its turn.

When the chicken has browned add all the veggies except the tomatoes and garlic. Stir it a few times as everything cooks.

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After about 3-4 minutes or when the veggies just start to get a little soft throw in the tomatoes and the garlic. Add the chicken broth or white wine, squeeze in the juice from a lemon and toss in the rind and stir it all together. When the liquid starts to simmer lower the heat to medium and simmer for a couple of minutes.

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Add the grated parmesan and stir it in to your Chicken Pasta Primavera then….

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…..serve it up!!

You just prepared  your Quick and Easy Chicken Pasta Primavera like a chef!!

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A chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio pairs up real good with Chicken Pasta Primavera.

 

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Course Main course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
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Instructions
  1. Put a large skillet or sauté pan on at medium high swirl in some olive oil. While it's heating up cut up the chicken tenders. When the pan is hot, put in the chicken and sprinkle it with some salt and pepper.
  2. Put a pot of salted water on for your pasta and cook the pasta while you put together to Primavera part. If the pasta is al dente before the veggies are cooked just drain it and drizzle a little olive oil in. Stir it to get the pasta covered with the oil and put it on an idle back burner to keep warm while it waits its turn.
  3. When the chicken has browned add all the veggies except the tomatoes and garlic. Stir it a few times as everything cooks. After about 3-4 minutes or when the veggies just start to get a little soft throw in the tomatoes and the garlic. Add the chicken broth or white wine, squeeze in the juice from a lemon and toss in the rind and stir it all together. When the liquid starts to simmer lower the heat to medium and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the grated parmesan and stir it in to your Chicken Pasta Primavera then serve it up!!
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