Eggplant Parmesan~ Berenjena Parmesano

Eggplant Parmesan or Berenjena Parmesano has only been on my menu for a few short years. Although I have lived in New York state for many, many years, I was always partial to the chicken version of this recipe. Out to dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants one night and my friend raved about their eggplant parmesan dish, so I had to try it. It was quite tasty, so I had to prepare my own version, especially with a homemade bolognese style sauce. Great thing about this recipe, besides that the eggplant was baked instead of fried, is that my husband enjoyed it as much as I did. Makes things alot easier when planning a dinner menu. We enjoyed eggplant parmesan for a few days and even stored 2 slices in the freezer for later. I do love traditional flavors of classic Italian recipes, but I also love adding my own touch when cooking at home.  

Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

1 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus 1 cup separate
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into about 8 slices(about 1/2 inch thick)
Olive oil
5 cups of bolognese sauce or your favorite red sauce
12 fresh basil leaves, sliced or torn, optional
12 slices os Spanish chorizo from the deli, optional
Oregano , fresh or dried
2 cups shredded  mozzarella

Even when not using homemade breadcrumbs, I like to add some of my own spices to the store bought seasoned breadcrumbs. Try adding garlic powder, paprika, annatto, red pepper flakes...
Even when not using homemade breadcrumbs, I like to add some of my own spices to the store bought seasoned breadcrumbs. Try adding garlic powder, paprika, annatto, red pepper flakes…

 

Breaded eggplant comes out light and crispy from the oven.
Breaded eggplant comes out light and crispy from the oven.

 

Reheat leftovers in a dry nonstick skillet. It will crisp up without any added oils.
Reheat leftovers in a dry nonstick skillet. It will crisp up without any added oils.

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Prepare your breading station: In one shallow dish, add the flour. In the second dish add the eggs. In the third dish, combine the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil, set aside. Peel and slice the eggplant. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, then cover with bread crumb mixture. Transfer to lined baking sheet. Repeat until all done with the breading. Drizzle the tops of eggplant with more olive oil.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning over after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. In a bowl, combine the mozzarella and parmesan cheese, set aside.

5. In a large baking dish, add 2 1/2 cups to the bottom and spread out evenly. Add the breaded eggplant on top of sauce.  If using deli sliced Spanish chorizo, add it on top of eggplant. Add the remaining sauce, basil, oregano and mozzarella/parmesan mix. Sprinkle with more Italian seasoning and bake for about 30 minutes. The last few minutes of baking, turn broiler onto high and cook the eggplant just until cheese browns up in spots. Never leave the broiler unattended. Yields 4  servings.

 

Chorizo Bolognese Sauce~Salsa Boloñesa
Chorizo Bolognese Sauce~Salsa Boloñesa. Click onto picture for sauce recipe.

*Click onto picture for sauce recipe.

Eggplant Parmesan with a deli slice of Spanish chorizo and homemade Chorizo Bolognese Sauce
Eggplant Parmesan with a deli slice of Spanish chorizo and homemade Chorizo Bolognese Sauce

Chorizo Bolognese Sauce (Salsa Boloñesa)

Chorizo Bolognese Sauce or Salsa Boloñesa can be prepared is various ways. For this bolognese recipe, I gave it a little Mexican twist by adding some Mexican chorizo, chayote and jalapeño. With this batch of sauce I prepared a big pan of baked rigatoni and some delicious eggplant parmesan. I had to stop myself from eating it like a hearty soup, but with lots of soft Italian bread! A must! This is a great sauce to prepare ahead and store in the freezer. Add to store bought breaded veal or chicken cutlets for a quick parmesan night or combine with meatballs in the slow cooker for gameday subs or hoagies. The great thing about recipes like this, is that it can be served as simple or as gourmet as you like.

Chorizo Bolognese Sauce tossed with Rigatoni and Parmesan Cheese
Chorizo Bolognese Sauce tossed with Rigatoni and Parmesan Cheese and then baked in a 350 degree oven just until warm and cheese has melted.

Ingredients 
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 chayote
1 bell pepper
1 red onion
6 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
Olive oil

Gathering the fresh ingredients
Gathering the fresh ingredients
One of the few canned items I still purchase are tomato products. Great for a variety of meals.
One of the few canned items I still purchase are tomato products. Great for a variety of meals.

 

Bacon and Mexican chorizo!
Bacon and Mexican chorizo!

More Ingredients…

4 strips thick cut bacon, diced
1 pound Mexican chorizo, beef or pork

28 ounce can whole tomatoes
10 ounce can whole green chiles
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

6 ounce can tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3 cups low sodium beef or chicken broth, I used half of each
1 cup dry red wine

2 bay leaves
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Pulse to process for finely chopped veggies.
Pulse to process for finely chopped veggies.

 

A quick pulse in the food processor will keep any you from having any lumps of tomatoes in your sauce.

After cooking chorizo, I like to transfer it onto a plate lined with paper towels to remove the excess oil.
After cooking chorizo, I like to transfer it onto a plate lined with paper towels to remove the excess oil.

Directions

1. Roughly chop all of the vegetables listed and transfer them to the food processor. Pulse to chop finely, set aside.

2. Preheat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven style pot to medium heat for a few minutes. Add all of the vegetables from food proccesor. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add all the tomato products  and green chiles to processor and pulse to blend until smooth, set aside.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, in a separate skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, add to vegetables. In that same skillet cook the Mexican chorizo for 6 minutes, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Transfer to to pot with vegetables. Stir well to combine.

4. Add the tomato mixture to pot. Stir well. Add all of the remaining ingredients listed, minus the cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and continue cooking for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  The longer it cooks the better.  Add 1/2 cup of each cheese to sauce and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste for spices and herbs and adjust to taste. Yields 8  to 10 servings. Add to your favorite pasta dishes. Great for eggplant and chicken parmigana.

Chorizo Bolognese Sauce
Chorizo Bolognese Sauce
Testing out a little bowl of bolognese sauce. Taste great with a little Italian style bread.
Testing out a little bowl of bolognese sauce. Taste great with a little Italian style bread.

 

Eggplant Parmesan prepared with Chorizo Bolognese Sauce
Eggplant Parmesan prepared with Chorizo Bolognese Sauce

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Butternut Squash Cakes

Lemon Pepper Chicken w/ a  Tangy Honey Mustard-Lemon Sauce. Browsing through some of my older recipes, I came across this great chicken recipe.  I am always looking for that tasty chicken recipe to add to my weeknight menu and I really like this one. I have to say the lemon in the seasoning and in the sauce really stand out to make this a flavorful dish that you will want to repeat often. I would like to try this same flavor combo for chicken wings, fish and shrimp as well. I will keep you posted!  

Lemon Pepper Chicken with  a Tangy Mustard/Lemon Sauce
Lemon Pepper Chicken with a Tangy Mustard/Lemon Sauce

For Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dijon mustard
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter
1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce (I used cholula)
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Butternut Squash Cakes
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Butternut Squash Cakes


For Chicken
2 pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs (fillet the chicken open into two pieces, so it’s no thicker than 1/2 inch)
Salt to taste
Garlic powder
Coarse Lemon Pepper seasoning (no salt mix)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2  teaspoon tumeric
Canola oil for frying

Directions

1. Prep the chicken first. After you slice it, seasoning with salt, garlic powder and lemon pepper on both sides. Transfer it to a baking dish and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, preheat the two tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook for another minute. Add all of the remaining ingredients for the sauce, except for the fresh cilantro or parsley. Cook sauce for 10 to 15 minutes or until it thickens. Taste for salt, add in the parsley, cover and remove from heat.

3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a large skillet, preheat 2 cups of canola oil to medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes. In a shallow dish, combine the flour,1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Dredge the chicken through the flour, making sure it’s coated evenly. Fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. Keep chicken warm in low temperature oven while you prepare the butternut squash cakes.

4. Rewarm sauce when ready to serve. Ladle chicken with sauce, garnish with fresh parsely and lemon slices. Yields up to 6 servings. Butternut Squash Cakes recipe to follow.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Butternut Squash Cakes
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Butternut Squash Cakes

 

For Butternut Squash Cakes

4 cups butternut squash (after it has been chopped in a food processor)
1/2 gouda or manchego cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cups flour

Butternut Squash Cakes
Butternut Squash Cakes

 

Directions

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Add some olive oil to your hands and form 12 small cakes. Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper and chill for 1 hour.

2. In a large skillet, preheat 1/3 cup olive oil to medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully add a few cakes to the pan and fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet that is lined with a wire rack. Keep warm in low temperature oven with chicken until done with all the cakes.  Yields up to 12 small cakes.