Unbreaded eggplant parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is the ultimate Italian comfort food – hot, saucy, cheesy, and full of flavor… but also full of calories.

This is my lightened-up version of the classic favorite. I use low-fat mozzarella in addition to not breading and frying my eggplant (I know, blasphemy, right?) Instead, I roast my eggplant in the oven before layering it with sauce and cheese.

The result is just as delicious, but you won’t have to feel any of the guilt!

Continue reading Unbreaded eggplant parmesan

Roasted cornish game hen

So I guess today is the Superbowl.

Sorry to all the die-hard football fans – but I’m just not that into it. I don’t like football. They blow the whistle and freeze the game like every 2 minutes, and I honestly have no patience for that. I feel like one game lasts a million hours.

With that being said, I’m still watching the game with friends. I enjoy the company, commercials, performances, and obviously the snacks. I’m probably not going to pay attention to much else, but that’s OK. I won’t be the only one not really watching the game.

In addition to the snacks, I also want to eat some real dinner. Something hearty to hit the spot, so I don’t fill up on too much junk food afterward.

Continue reading Roasted cornish game hen

Vanilla pumpkin mousse pie

Pumpkin is typically a fall flavor, but you can’t deny that it is delicious year-round.

I first tried this pie around 15 years ago, when my father’s friend (a chef) brought it to my parents house for dinner. It had the rich taste of pumpkin pie, balanced with the light airiness of mousse. Delicious.

When I asked him for the recipe, I was shocked over how simple it was to make. In under a half hour you have a perfect pie – full of flavor, great texture, and lovely to look at. I’ve been making it ever since.

Continue reading Vanilla pumpkin mousse pie

Italian slow cooker porkchops

I love pork chops. I typically prepare them in the oven, breaded and baked with some applesauce – but I’ve been craving a change. My mother always made them in a skillet with brown onion gravy and some stuffing (which I’ve always loved), but after a long day of teaching (and then hitting up the gym) this takes too much effort. I’m exhausted by the time I get home. I needed a no-fuss solution to my pork chop problem. I’ve been looking for a good way to prepare them in the crockpot to save me some time – and I think I’ve finally figured it out.

Continue reading Italian slow cooker porkchops

Coconut, almond, & walnut chocolate chip cookies

Lately I have been obsessing over this cookie from Levain Bakery. If you have never visited a Levain, the cookies are the size of your fist and loaded with goodies like nuts and chocolate chips. They are absolutely perfect.

I decided to make my own batch of loaded cookies. I slightly changed the flavor profile by using almond extract instead of vanilla, and I added in walnuts AND coconut flakes. More goodies, the better. I didn’t make the cookies giant-sized (though they are big), but you easily could by doubling the scoop size and slightly increasing the baking time. These cookies are chewy/slightly gooey in the center, so if you prefer more of a crispy cookie feel free to bake them an extra 2-3 minutes. Enjoy!

Continue reading Coconut, almond, & walnut chocolate chip cookies

Loaded taco chili

My husband makes the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted. It has the perfect blend of acidity, spice, and creaminess. Whenever we have ripe avocados in the house, he goes straight for the mortar and pestle.

Unfortunately, he thinks its hilarious that his concoction is so good. As a result, he never, EVER, tells me how he makes it. It remains his “secret recipe,” and he often uses it as ammunition to try to prove that he is a better cook than I am (yeah right!)

Whatever, I’ll take this loss. I’ll remain in the dark when it comes to making a fabulous guacamole. I don’t care, as long as I still get to eat it. It’s addictive when paired with some tortilla chips, but it’s absolutely amazing on tacos, burritos, or my favorite – chili.

Continue reading Loaded taco chili

Apricot squares

It was one of those days where I wanted to do some baking, but I ran out of eggs (as well as good ideas). It was also too cold to go to the grocery store.

I found some jars of apricot filling in the pantry. Mind you – I did not buy this. It isn’t something I usually bake with. I’m fairly certain that my husband bought it by mistake. I don’t hate apricot though, so I figured I’d better use it.

Any fruit filling works pretty well with a plain cake mix. It provides flavor and moisture, and also helps to bind the ingredients together. But I still needed to add at least 2 eggs. The fruit alone doesn’t do the same good job at binding as eggs do. So I had to improvise by making some kind of egg substitute.

Thank goodness for Google. I found out that if you combine water, vegetable oil, and baking powder in a specific ratio, it forms the consistency of a runny egg – helping to bind any baked good together. It was a worth a shot, and I’m glad I tried it – because in the end result, you couldn’t even tell there was no egg. This will make vegan baking a cinch from now on 😉

Continue reading Apricot squares

Poppy seed bread

I’ve been doing a lot of Netflix watching lately, mainly because when I leave my house the air hurts my face. I absolutely HATE the cold. I’m shocked I haven’t moved out of the northeast yet.

But I digress. My current Netflix obsession is The Great British Baking Show. It’s so adorable. The contestants seem to genuinely care about their craft, being successful, and being good to one another. The competition isn’t intense in the slightest – nobody is at each other’s throats. Such a breath of fresh air!

I was watching an episode where the contestants had to bake different kinds of bread. They started by baking rolls using rye flour, then they had to move on to baking ciabatta loaves, and then they had the freedom to bake a bread of their choice. Overall, I was pretty inspired (and hardcore craving fresh bread) by the time the episode was over. My bread machine was calling me. I had a can of poppy seed filling left in the pantry from my Christmas baking, and I figured this would be a good time to put it to use. I was right 🙂

Continue reading Poppy seed bread