Eggplant Parmesan

If you’ve eaten eggplant before, there’s a good chance you’ve had it in the form of eggplant parmesan.  This recipe sounds fancy and difficult, but don’t sweat the recipe – ‘sweat’ the eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (I cut up two of the big purple ones, and didn’t even use all those)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c flour
  • 4 c seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • Large jar (3 lbs.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Prego mushroom)
  • 16 oz. mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T fresh basil

Directions

1. Sweat the eggplant. “Sweating” an eggplant means to get out any bitterness that may have developed by making it sweat. Begin by slicing the eggplants into 1/4 inch thick slices.   Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over all of the slices of eggplant – be sure to salt both sides. Set the salted, sliced eggplant into a colander and let it rest for about 30 minutes.After 30 minutes, the eggplant should begin to sweat (droplets of moisture being extracted by salt).  Remove the eggplant from the colander and place the slices on a paper towel.  Place a second paper towel on top to reomove all the excess moisture that has formed.

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2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Put the eggplant slices in a bag with the flour and shake until the eggplant are coated.
3. One at a time, dip eggplant slices in egg then coat in bread crumbs.  Place in a single layer on baking sheets and bake 10 minutes on each side.  My eggplant don’t often make it past this point because they get eaten!
4. In a 9×13 baking dish, spread spaghetti sauce to cover bottom.  Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Repeat these 3 layers until all eggplant used up, ending with cheese on top.  Sprinkle basil over the cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Zucchini versus Summer Squash

It seems that in Nebraska we are all very familiar with our friend the zucchini – although we may not always spell it correctly.  However, one of its relatives – the yellow squash – is grossly under used.

Summer squash is a term for squash that is harvested at a tender, immature stage.  It has tender skin and does not require peeling like a winter squash.  Most of the nutrients are just under the skin, so try to cook with the skin on.  Summer squash comes in many shapes , colors and sizes.  Zucchini  and yellow squash are just a couple types of summer squash.  Try cooking your yellow squash just like you would a zucchini.

Did you know….

Zucchini seeds, as we know them today, were primarily developed in Italy even though summer squash can trace its ancestry to the Americas.

How to Choose: The stem end of a squash will tell you how fresh it is. Ideally, there should be a little juice coming out of the stem, indicating that it was recently harvested. Steer away from limp or very scratched squashes. The skins should be tight, shiny, and brightly colored and will scratch easily with a fingernail if fresh—handle them gently.

How to Keep: Keep squashes in a plastic bag in the warmest part of the refrigerator.

 

Baked Zucchini Sticks

I told you we love zucchini in our house.  Try this recipe for zucchini sticks!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 zucchini (or other summer squash)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tbs Bread Crubms

Directions

1. Cut zucchini into julienne strips about 2 inches long.


2.Place in a bowl and add bread crumbs and 2 Tbs oil.  Use some good EVOO (extra virgin olive oil – to quote Rachel Ray).


3.Stir together and place on a baking pan (this is a jelly roll pan wrapped with aluminum foil).


4. Bake at 400 deg F for 25 – 30 minutes and serve immediately!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Who doesn’t love zucchini season?  I’m a huge fan of it raw, fried with green onions, and baked with spaghetti sauce on top.  But I LOVE to bake.  So here is a great recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated zucchini

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.