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Fall Cooking

sweet_potatoI love me some fall and winter recipes. The CSA has started supplying us with a lot of winter squash, sweet potatoes, and now we’re getting into greens season. Here are a few of my latest favorite recipes:

Five Spice Sweet Potato Pie
I’ve had issues with lighter pies and quiches being runny, but this recipe is fool-proof. Great texture, and the Chinese spice powder gives it a deliciously robust flavor. Wonderful with fresh whipped cream with a little cinnamon and vanilla added.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta
Sounds utterly decadent, but this is in fact a reduced calorie recipe. Which does not mean low calorie, but it’s not too bad. It’s great comfort food and easy to put together. If you have issues making a white sauce without oil or butter (I do – lumps galore), heat the milk first and then use a sifter or wire strainer to gradually add the flour and whisk in. Watch it closely, it will thicken up fast. I use Gruyere cheese instead of provolone.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
This recipe is easy and tasty and also reduced fat. You’ll never miss it. I use my home-made pumpkin from the CSA (I cut them in half, seed them, cover in foil, bake until soft, scoop out, mash, and freeze) and add some chopped pecans.

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
This recipe has nothing to do with vegetables or healthy cooking, and everything to do with the return of my appetite and consequently, my sweet tooth. It is utterly scrumptious, especially if you have a thing for sweet-salty flavors like I do. No, they’re not healthy. Shut up, I’m pregnant.

Eggplant Parmesan

While I usually work from recipes, occasionally I make up my own. This is my easy, low-fat(ish), tried and true recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. And for those of you drowning in eggplant from your gardens or CSA, this is a great way to use up a bunch. So:

Slice up some eggplant, fairly thinly.

Sliced Eggplant

Sliced Eggplant

Prepare some egg wash and breadcrumbs.

Can be eggs, egg beaters, or a combo. Add a little hot sauce if you like.

Can be eggs, egg beaters, or a combo. Add a little hot sauce if you like.

I use Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs with a whole lot of pecorino cheese.

I use Progresso Italian Style breadcrumbs with a whole lot of pecorino cheese.

Dip the eggplant in the egg mixture, and then press both sides into the breadcrumb mixture. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

ep_coated_eggplant

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until softened and slightly browned.

If you have extra, freeze or refrigerate and use later in eggplant parmesan sandwiches.

If you have extra, freeze or refrigerate and use later in eggplant parmesan sandwiches.

Now pull out your cheese: pre-sliced low fat provolone, and sliced fresh mozzarella. Use the tomato sauce of your choice; I make it easy on myself and use Paul Newman’s Basil. Sooooo tasty. Speaking of basil, if you have any fresh basil lying around, chiffonade(sp?) it and keep it handy. Now start layering:

A little sauce on the bottom, and the first layer of eggplant.

A little sauce on the bottom, and the first layer of eggplant.

I know, that doesn't look like provolone. I forgot it at the store and had to slice up my string cheese. Doh.

I know, that doesn't look like provolone. I forgot it at the store and had to slice up my string cheese. Doh.

Another layer of sauce over the cheese and some basil if you have it.

Another layer of sauce over the cheese and some basil if you have it.

Keep on layering, and when you’ve had enough, make your last layer of cheese the fresh mozzarella.

I could almost eat it just like this.

I could almost eat it just like this.

Now pop it back in your heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until bubbly.

Probably best to let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Probably best to let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Eat up!

Yum!

Yum!

Here’s the recipe. All proportions are seriously approximate.  Let me know if you try it!

Miss Michelann’s Eggplant Parmesan

Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1-2 lbs eggplant, sliced 1/4 in thick
1 C Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 C pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
1/2 – 1 C egg beaters, eggs, or combo

hot sauce to taste
cooking spray
bottled sauce of choice (I like Paul Newan’s Basil)
fresh Mozzerella
pre-sliced provolone cheese
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchement. Mix breadcrumbs with cheese and a little fresh ground black pepper.

Dip a plank of eggplant in egg beaters, then roll in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on sheet. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant.

Spray eggplant lightly with olive oil. Bake eggplant for 20-25 minutes, or until soft and slightly browned.

While eggplant bakes, slice basil and mozzarella. Once eggplant comes out of the oven, start layering. I use an 8×8 baking dish and save the rest of the eggplant for sandwiches. If you want to use it all up, use a larger dish.

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Top with eggplant, sauce, cheese, and basil. Repeat until final layer (I do 3 or 4) and top with fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of basil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve.

On a lighter note

I have perfected the art of light stuffed French toast, and I now share it with the world. (or the three people who read my blog) I give you:

Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

  1. 8 slices brioche or challa type bread (if you can get the Apricot White Chocolate bread from Central Market, it’s amazing)
  2. 3/4 C egg beaters
  3. 1/2 C 2% milk
  4. 2 t maple syrup
  5. dash cinnamon
  6. 4 oz. Neufchatel
  7. 1/4 C part skim ricotta
  8. 1 bottle DanActive vanilla
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 1 tsp honey
  11. 1 C fresh blueberries
  12. cooking spray
  13. Turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Generously coat 8/8 glass pan with cooking spray. Combine ingredients 2-5 in a shallow dish, whisk to combine. Combine ingredients 6-10 in a blender, pulse until smooth.

Toast bread to remove extra moisture, allow to cool, and then soak in egg mixture until soft and saturated. Layer the first 4 slices on the bottom of the pan. Layer blueberries on top, and then pour the cream cheese mixture over it evenly. Top with the remaining 4 slices of egg-soaked bread. Sprinkle top with Turbinado sugar. Bake approx. 40 minutes, or until top is browned and the cream mixture has turned purple and set up a bit.