This week I am challenged! It's a good challenge, not that I'm having issues, but thanks for thinking that first, I appreciate it! No, my produce delivery on Monday contained a couple of things I have not cooked before. I am up for the challenge! After opening the box, I immediately added a red pepper to my pot of chili, perfection! Last night I used a couple of carrots with the scallop dish I made. Tonight was a test of my culinary skills (and ability to follow a recipe). Well, I am happy to say that it was a huge success! I have been nervous about cooking all day. I even started later than usual due to my dread of preparing something that could end up being horrendous, what would we eat if this meal turned out looking and tasting like, well, I'll let you decide! Thankfully, we cleaned our plates and did not have to order take out!
Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
(adapted from Mississippi Kitchen)
3 Tbsp water
2 cups Italian flavored panko
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg plant, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
Canola oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan, divided
2 cups mozzarella, shredded and divided
3 cups pasta sauce
*Whisk together eggs and water in a bowl or pie plate. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in another bowl or pie plate. Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with canola oil and heat over medium-high heat. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes, turning once. Place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil. Add more oil between batches, if needed.
*Preheat oven to 375°. Spray an 11x7-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place eggplant in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan and 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Repeat layers twice, ending with cheese. Spoon 3 cups tomato sauce over the top. Bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Carrots and Rutabaga Mash
(from Food Network)
1 pound peeled and chopped carrots
1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
*Boil carrots and rutabaga together until just soft. Drain and add butter. Smash together using a potato masher until it looks like a puree. Season with a lot of pepper and a little salt. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.