Sunday, November 9, 2008

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

It's no secret that I am a big fan of the Food network, and that I am easily influenced by what I see on T.V. I usually see something that looks good on the Food network and kind of tuck it away in my back pocket ready for when I want to try a new recipe. The something I've been wanting to try for the past month or so is Eggplant Parmesan. Bobby Flay did a throw down recently with an Eggplant Parmesan master, and ever since I saw that I've been wanting to have some. So Friday when Hallie and I were at Trader Joe's we decided to get some stuff to make a yummy Italian dinner this weekend. And since it was such a success I thought I'd share it with you, throw down style. Okay so it's not really a throw down, I just like to say that, and I didn't even fully make the Eggplant Parmesan myself since my good friend Joe had it already to go for me. All I had to do was brown it on each side in some olive oil, put it in a casserole dish with some of this yummy marinara sauce, sprinkle some mozzarella on top and bake it in the oven until golden brown. You should try it.

To go along with our Eggplant Parmesan I bought another one of our Trader Joe's favorites, Bruschetta sauce (Italian salsa as my kids refer to it). We toasted up some sliced baguettes under the broiler and could have been satisfied with just this. But like I said, this dinner was a throw down so we needed some more food to go with it. To the pesto and quick.

One of my all time favorite pasta toppings is Pesto. And my favorite recipe is also from a Food network chef, Rachael Ray. This I actually made myself. Only I didn't make it today, I pulled it right out of my freezer from the last time I made and froze a couple of batches. Don't you love being prepared? You should try this staple at our house, the kids love it on pasta or baguettes or on top of chicken. I like it so much I could practically eat it on ice cream. Not really. But it is that good, and that easy and freezes like a champ. Here's the recipe. Rachael's recipe uses parsley, but I do it with spinach because I feel more healthy that way, and it tastes so good.

Spinach Pesto
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves cracked garlic

2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients in a food processor (it would probably work in a blender as long as you have a really good one). I buy a big bag of spinach and make a couple of batches of this at once and freeze in airtight containers. Then when you want to use it just let it thaw and serve over your favorite warm pasta, or mix into Alfredo sauce for creamy pesto.
Also just a quick mention of these yummy Sugar Plum Tomatoes from Trader Joe's that Becky introduced me to. They are yummy, and I'm not a huge tomato type of gal, I usually like them sliced small in salads, but these are good enough to snack on. Now you have no excuses for dinner tonight, unless you live in Utah and have no Trader Joe's. In that case I am sorry to have tempted you. Maybe you should move to one of the 23 states that has one! (That was for you Ange). And one of these days I'm going to have an Unwrapped party where I have all the foods on hand for what they are showing and we can eat while we watch. Want to come? (I'm kind of a dork, you don't have to tell me, my husband already does it for you. But you know he'd be first in line for my party!)


Toria said...

I love trader joes! so so yum and I miss it dearly.
Your pesto recipe is different than mine, so I'll have to try. I just made some yesterday per John's request cuz it's been a while (he eats it way too fast). I use spinach too instead of parsley, I have it on hand and I feel healthier too.
I'm glad that we will get to see each other in Dec, I just booked our tickets tonight!

jennifer woodbury said...

Yum! I am going to Trader Joe's this afternoon to get all of this stuff. Keep the good recipes and meal ideas coming!!

Becky said...

This is another post that makes me think "I love that gal and am so glad she's my sister!!" Because a. I am totally influenced by the foods I see on TV, esp. food network b. I am crazy in love with Trader Joes and c. Your pesto rocks and I'm glad to have the recipe at my finger tips. The last batch of sugar plum tomatoes I got there was not as sweet as last time, maybe its the season. Oh, and d. Every time I watch unwrapped I want to run to the grocery store immediately so you can definitely sign me up for your party!!

Angela said...

Yeah, yeah, rub it in, no Trader Joe's, as if I didn't have enough reason to want to move to AZ! I guess you'll just have to make some for me the next time I'm down to make it up to me!

pam said...

I also live in Utah and miss Trader Joe's! Did get to go with Katie in Wash. but couldn't buy much to drag home with these airline regulations about what you can bring onto a plane. Also you might add just a little fresh basil with you spinach in the pesto. I really like the taste of fresh basil.

hendywow said...

Yummy,You make me hungry!

~Cari said...

I make a great meal using both pesto and plum tomatoes (although I get mine from Costco): PASTA - whichever shape you like- I use angel hair, shredds of cooked CHICKEN- sometimes I use the chicken I have canned or bottled or jarred or whatever you call it, PLUM TOMATOES slightly sauteed in butter, and PESTO. Mix all together and enjoy. It is so easy. My family likes it hot for dinner but I absolutely love it the next day as a cold pasta salad.