The Best Meal I’ve Ever Made

This eggplant parmesan was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever made. It was a few more steps and a few more ingredients than I usually like to cook with (I like fast and easy recipes), but it was so worth it. I have only had eggplant parmesan maybe twice in my life because I can no longer eat dairy. I learned how to make it when I was living in Italy and it was delicious, but so loaded with cheese that I’ve never tried to re-create it at home. For some reason unknown to me, goat cheese has no impact on how I’m feeling, so I decided to look for a recipe that called for goat cheese and no other dairy products. I found one recipe that was eggplant, red sauce, goat cheese, and parmesan and I tweaked it a little to make this delicious meal.

What you’ll need:

  •  1 large purple eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt to weep eggplant slices
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil for frying
  • 1 jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce (I used an organic brand with few ingredients)
  • 1 small block of goat cheese broken into pieces (crumbled would work too)
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red onion
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves

What you’ll do:

  1. Peel skin off eggplant, and slice length-wise so you have thin slices for layering (like lasagna).
  2. Cover the slices with sea salt to remove moisture. Let sit 10-15 minutes and drain water.
  3. Combine the sea salt and flour and blend together with a fork.
  4. Pat dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel.
  5. Warm oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Dip the eggplant in the egg and then in the flour/salt mixture, and place in pan.
  7. Fry on each side until they start to brown (few minutes), and then lay on paper towel.
  8. Saute onions, mushrooms, spinach, and basil in a frying pan and set aside.
  9. In a baking dish, place a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of eggplant slices, then the sliced tomatoes, spinach mixture, and a few pieces of goat cheese. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the eggplant.Top with sauce, spinach mixture, sliced tomatoes, lots of fresh basil and goat cheese chunks (or crumbles).
  10. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  11. Cool and cut. Enjoy!What’s the best meal you’ve ever made?

Loaded Spaghetti Squash

Carbs. All I ever want are carbs. Carbs carbs carbs. They are delicious and if I could survive on carbs alone (without gaining 100 pounds) I would. But, we all know that eating huge amounts of processed carbohydrates for every single meal is not so good for you. So, I’ve tried to come up with a few alternatives that make me still feel like I’m getting to eat my favorite foods like bread and pasta. I still eat both of those things, but I try to limit them when I can.

One of my favorite ways to make a “pasta” dinner a little healthier is to use spaghetti squash instead of noodles. I usually make it just like I would regular spaghetti, with tomato sauce and sometimes I add ground turkey for a little protein. This time I loaded it full of veggies and it was delicious! (I made it at night so my photo is a little dark)

Spaghetti squash is so easy to make. You can cut it in half, coat with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes until the outside is soft OR if you’re in a hurry, you can microwave it. This particular day I was starving after work and couldn’t wait for the oven to do the work so I poked holes all over the squash, put it on a plate and microwaved it until the outside was soft. The time will depend on how big your squash is. Mine was small so it didn’t take very long at all. I put it in for two minutes, turned it over, and kept adding two minutes until it was done. Total I think it cooked in about six minutes.

While the squash was in the microwave, I chopped all my veggies. I used mushrooms, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. I sautéed them all with some olive oil and white wine. I took the squash out, cut it in half, cleaned out the seeds, and then scraped all the insides out with a fork. Then I added all the squash to the veggie mixture, added a little olive oil and was all done!

What is your favorite way to make spaghetti squash?

 

 

Hearst Castle at Night

Like I blogged about in my post, Fancy Schmancy, my husband and I were recently invited to the Friends of Hearst Castle Enchanting Evening on our anniversary weekend. It was a beautiful black tie dinner by the Neptune Pool. I have been waiting for the professional photos to appear on the website, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a few that we took from my iphone and my husband’s blackberry. Of course, they didn’t turn out to be amazing photos, but you’ll get the point. It was an amazing evening!

The centerpieces were beautiful, even if my photos didn’t do them justice! White star-gazers and lots of greenery.

Synchronized swimmers came out during dinner and put on an amazing show, twice! I don’t know how they got in that pool- it was SO cold out! I took so many photos of the Neptune Pool while we were there. Even in the fog and the cold it was such a beautiful backdrop to dinner.

Of course I took a photo of my favorite part of dinner- the dessert! We had three small bites and they were all delicious. My favorite of the three was the mocha flavored ice cream sandwiched in between two chocolate cookies. Yum! This is us at the end of the night. We were FREEZING but having such a great time. (sorry for the blurry photo-blackberry in the fog)