Tag Archives: lasagna

Grilled (not fried) eggplant parmesan

23 Jan

Hello out there. I’ve been desperately remiss here about posting, and it’s not because I haven’t asked my mom for advice.

So I am attempting to start anew, and I have just the thing, because I just ate it and it was really good: grilled, not fried, eggplant parmesan.

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What you will need:

2 eggplants

2 large balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, salted

fresh grated parmesan

1 large can (I think 16 oz?) crushed tomatoes

1 regular 8 oz can tomato puree

1 pound ground beef

4 cloves garlic

1 bunch parsley

1 onion

olive oil

1 sauce pan

1 saute pan

1 oven pan, 9-13 or something like it.

O.k. so, slice the eggplant long ways in half, and then thinly.

photo (13)

Set aside.

Brown 1 pound of ground beef in a saute pan, then drain grease and set aside.

Dice parsley, olive and onion, and add to sauce pan with olive oil.

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Toss the ground beef in the pan, then add the canned tomatoes, and about 1/2 can of water per can of tomato. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Let it boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile. If you have a grill, do this on the grill, if you have a grill pan, do it on the grill pan. Brush a thin layer of olive oil over the eggplant, (seriously, thin, you shouldn’t drench it) and grill them so they are soft in the middle.

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This process took me about 20 minutes. After I was done, I added about four fistfulls of cheese to the quick red sauce and turned that off.

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Slice the fresh mozzarella. And then layer! Eggplant, cheese, sauce, until you run out of room in your pan. Sprinkle a layer of parmesan on the top.

Bake it longer than you would normally bake fried eggplant, like 40 minutes at 350, covered for 3/4 of the time.

Take out and eat! We had plain sautéed spinach as a side.

It was good. And not so bad for you!

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Chicken lasagna: A colossal pain, but worth it in the end

12 Feb

So it seems like whenever friends have a baby, I make them my mom’s chicken lasagna. I’m sorry for everyone who lives not within drop-off distance. I think the reason is two-fold. One, lasagna is easy to cook and freezes nicely and feeds you for many days so it seems like a smart thing to give to sleep-deprived new families, and two, it’s a giant pain in the ass to make so I need a good excuse.

But just because it’s a pain does not mean you shouldn’t try it when you have time. It’s delicious! It’s lighter than traditional lasagna and the bell pepper sauce is a nice difference. I’ve found if you do some things ahead of time, like make the bell pepper sauce the night before or cook the chicken, it will seem like less work.

For one pan of lasagna, you will need:

Bell pepper sauce:

2 large cans of whole, peeled tomatoes

1 regular can of crushed tomatoes

1 large onion

1 bunch flat parsley, chopped

2 large red peppers, or 4 small

2 large yellow peppers, or 4 small

4 cloves garlic

Chicken sauce:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 stick butter

4 cups chicken broth (maybe more, buy two large containers if you’re not making your own)

3 cloves garlic

2 cups or so of flour

Plus mozzarella cheese, about 1 pound, shredded

1 pound of lasagna noodles

First, put the oven on to 350 degrees and cook the chicken breast on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s boring but that’s not the point. They need about 35 minutes to cook fully. Take them out and let them cool.

Bell pepper sauce:

Julienne the peppers, chop the parsley and mince the garlic.

In a large sauce pan on medium heat, sautee the peppers and onion and garlic with olive oil and throw in some chopped parsley. The peppers will reduce down significantly, and there may be some water in the pot. If so, drain the peppers then go to the next step.

Smush the whole peeled in your hands and add them to the sauce.

Put the small can of tomato puree in there as well and let it simmer for at least a half hour.

While it’s cooking, put salted water on to cook the lasagna. When it’s cooked, douse it in cold water to stop the cooking process and coat it with olive oil to stop it from sticking together. Set aside.

The cream sauce:

It’s not really a cream sauce. Rather, it’s a rue that you thin with chicken broth and added cooked chicken breast.  So to make the rue you need butter, garlic and flour. (A traditional rue is just butter and flour but we want garlic to flavor the sauce.)

Melt the butter on low with the garlic. Then you want to add flour until the mixture is dry, like a dough almost.

Looks something like this:

Once you make the rue you can keep and use it to thicken other things, just FYI. So now check your bell pepper sauce, if it’s thickened and cohesive, turn it off but you can keep cooking it until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.

Dice the chicken. The smaller the chicken the better it works.

Now you’re going to thin out the rue, which you do by adding chicken broth and whisking whisking whisking. This process is labor intensive, and requires concentration.You have to do it on low heat. Whisk and then let it bubble and then whisk some more. Keep whisking until it has the consistency of Alfredo sauce.

For example, this is too thick still:

This is about what it’s supposed to look like:

So then, add the diced chicken to this sauce.

Now you’re ready to assemble. Line the pan with lasagna noodles, then the chicken sauce, then mozarella cheese and the bell pepper sauce. Repeat as much as you can. Be sure to finish it with a layer of cheese! Stick it in the freezer, bake it for 45 minutes at 350, or give it to friends.