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Sheet Pan Eggplant Parm?? Easy and Cheezy? Oh yea!

Salad…..my favorite comfort food of summer, but anything fresh from the garden and smothered in cheese….now we’re talking! Summer’s bounty of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes give rise to delicious and healthy twists on most loved recipes….like one of my faves, eggplant Parmesan!

This sheet pan eggplant parm is a super easy and flavorful without all the fuss and fat of the original version. Give it a try…..

SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil or spray olive oil
  • 3 C. marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or fresh
  • julienned fresh basil, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Lightly salt the eggplant and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant, salt the other side, and let sit for another 15 minutes.  Rince the eggplant with water and pat dry with clean paper towels. (This step is optional)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  
  3. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In a separate dish, lightly beat the eggs with the water.
  4. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcumbs onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
  5. Spray a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil.
  6. Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the slices, then bake for an additional 10 minutes on the other side. Spoon sauce onto each slice and top with shredded or fresh mozzorella cheese.  
  8. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Top with fresh basil right before serving.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! I know it’s been awhile, but I hope to share more regularly!

Enjoy this delicious dish!

Cheers to celebrating summer!

🍷Laura

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Oakes Farms Meets Naples Home Cooks: From Seed to Our Table

The next time you find yourself standing in a grocery store, and some guy with a camera loudly asks if there are any home cooks around, and you are the only person there, I say, GO FOR IT!

This happened, and my dream of becoming a Food Network Star was at my fingertips…well, sort of.

What started as a plan to cook a quiet dinner, soon blossomed into an incredible cocktail party with our amazing friends pitching in, all the while our PR guy, Larry from TellYourVision.Net, filmed us from start to finish!

Check out our commercial here!

And, here is the recipe you have all been waiting for!

STEVE’S PAN FRIED FLORIDA GROUPER BITESfullsizeoutput_13cae

INGREDIENTS:

•1 lb fresh Wild Florida Grouper Fillets, washed & patted dry

•2 organic eggs, beaten

•2 C. Cheez-it crackers ground fine

•2 C. Parmesan cheese grated

•1/2 C. Organic Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS:

•In a food processor, blend Cheez-it crackers with the parmesan cheese.

•Cut the grouper into 1” bite size pieces.

•Heat the oil over medium high heat.

•Dip each fillet in egg and toss in the cracker/cheese mixture to coat.

•Place each fillet into the hot oil taking care not to over crowd the fish.

•Cook for 3-4 min. per side until golden brown.

•Remove and serve immediately with your favorite tarter sauce, cocktail sauce or mustard sauce.

Dear Friends,
Thanks for swinging by! Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more great recipes and entertaining ideas from our Naples friends.
Cheers to sharing celebrations with love.
Laura

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Gifts from the Garden…Yes Please!

I have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..

So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.

My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are 😘 and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.

ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS

Makes 4 servings 

SHRED:

  • 4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
  • 1/2 C. shredded onion
  • 1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

WHISK:

  • 2 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)

HEAT:

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

ASSEMBLE:

  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe’s…cheap + fresh)
  • Basil sprigs

Shred zucchini and onion

Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. 

Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.

Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco. 

Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.

Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella. 

Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate. 

Assemble Napoleons by layering

  • fresh mozzarella slice
  • a tomato slice
  • 2 T. pesto 
  •  Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig; serve immediately 

Dear Friends,

Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.

Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.

Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…

🍸Laura

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My Comfort Food Falling Out

For some reason, we are convinced that with the onset of fall and winter, we should be eating comfort food…delicious, stick to the ribs (and everywhere else)…filling, satisfying, fattening food. Then comes spring and we wonder why our shorts don’t fit and our feet have gone up a half size. 

Try a bowl of shepherds pie laced with buttery mashed potatoes or how about a nice slice of mac and cheese stuffed meatloaf? These are truly amazing. 

So, my question is this: Is it comfort food season, or are we stress eating because it will soon be snowy and cloudy for the next six months??

If I sound like a bah humbug about fall and winter, it’s no accident. That being the case, I have made a diligent attempt to find seasonal recipes that limit the fat but keep the comfort.

And by the way, shortcuts of all kinds in my recipes are more than acceptable. Trader Joe’s is stocked with affordable and organic choices for meal prep goodies. Costco is another great place if you are feeding a large crowd. 

PS…I will absolutely post those amazing comfort food recipes as well. No reason not to…

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH PORT VINAIGRETTE

FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

  • 1 Butternut Squash, cut in small pieces
  • 8 shallots, peeled, halved
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Sprinkle of onion salt (I like the Trader Joe’s)

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

FOR THE SALADS

BUILD EACH SALAD WITH

  1. 1 cup spring mix salad greens
  2. Roasted butternut squash and shallots
  3. 2 T. Port Vinaigrette
  4. 2 T. crumbled blue cheese
  5. 2 T. toasted walnut pieces

 

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Toss the butternut squash and shallots in olive oil in a large roasting pan. Lightly sprinkle with onion salt (or sea salt).

Roast in the lower oven for 15 minutes.

Prepare the vinaigrette:

Combine vinegar, honey, port, ginger, and rosemary. Pour this syrup over the roasting squash and return the pan to the oven; roast for 10 more minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer squash and shallots to a bowl.

Pour syrup into a measuring cup and whisk in enough oil to make 11/4 cups vinaigrette, season, and set aside.

 

Build each salad starting with greens.

Top with squash and shallots, and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

*If you aren’t a fan of butternut squash, try using pears for a delicious twist. Roast them or use them sliced raw.

Dear Friends,

Sorry it has been so long. Summer has taken me away from my computer but I am back to share.

Always on a search for delicious EASY winners and I am happy to search for ones you are looking for. Email or send a txt.

Cheers to celebrating simple things every day and cherishing friends and loved ones.

🍷 Laura

PS…Check out my latest Trader Joe’s obsessions! Just one click away!

 

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TRADER JOE'S SEASONING

Not only are these amazing, but I LOVE the way they stack!!

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TRADER JOES COCONUT OIL

Cook with it, mix it with your peanut butter, or use it on your skin! I can’t get enough of this!

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TRADER JOE'S FOUR SPICES

Trader Joes Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly by Trader Joe’s $9.50 + FREE SHIPPING

TRADER JOE'S SWEET PEPPER JELLY

This is a staple if you entertain! Mix it with cream cheese + serve with crackers for an easy and delicious appetizer!

Trader Joe’s Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 by Trader Joe’s $9.48 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FACE LOTION WITH SPF 15

Keep this by your sink and wear it every day to help keep those wrinkles away!

Trader Joe’s Nourish All-in-one-facial Cleanser $13.07 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FACIAL CLEANSER

LOVE LOVE LOVE this gentle facial cleanser. I even use it to soak my bathing suits after swimming!

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ALL CLAD ROASTING PAN

This is literally, the BEST roasting pan! Large enough for everything and super easy to clean!

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3 Sensational Recipes to take the Labor out of your Labor Day!

Labor Day….summer’s last hurrah? I’m not sure what happened to the ‘dog days of summer,’ but our August has been more of an Eskimo Dog…..chilly with precipitation! Fortunately, the outlook for Labor Day looks good so let the picnics begin!

Last minute company?? No worries with these eazy breezy dishes! Keep it seasonal AND simple…

First, let’s start with an appetizer that doubles as a salad…..

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SLICED BOSC PEARS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PECANS

Simply slice pears in 1/4 inch slices, top with 1 T. goat cheese, add a toasted pecan and serve! Want to fancy it up? Drizzle a little store bought…did I say that??? …..balsamic glaze over the top.

WEDGE SALAD DIP

I found this recipe on Pinterest recently, and I thought…”Genius!’ This dip has all of the incredible flavors of a wedge salad, serves a crowd and is always a hit! Duplicating this as a Greek Salad Dip, or any of your favorite salad combos work well! *As a side note, however, not everyone loves blue cheese, so I like to use the blue cheese on 1/2 and label it!

IMG_8473INGREDIENTS
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1½ c. chopped romaine lettuce
  • ½ c. chopped tomatoes
  • ½ c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 2-4 oz. crumbled blue cheese (according to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and Ranch Dip mix and mix until smooth.
  2. Spread into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate or other similarly sized pan.
  3. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, and chives.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite crackers

NOW FOR THE MAIN COURSE!!

Crowd pleasing  and delicious!

GRILLED HOT ITALIAN SAUSAGE SANDWICHES WITH ROASTED ONIONS AND PEPPERS

fullsizeoutput_2487

  • Pre-heat oven to 400*F.
  • Slice assorted peppers, red, yellow, green & orange in 1/2″ slices.
  • Slice sweet onions, preferably Vidalia in 1/2″ slices.
  • Place onions & peppers in a roasting pan. Drizzle 3 T. over top & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are transparent. 
  • *Careful not to over-roast or they become mushy…..
  • Grill assorted Italian sausages. Cut into 2 inch slices & place on top of the onions & peppers. Serve with fresh Italian rolls & enjoy!

 

For dessert?? Vanilla Ice cream with fresh sliced peaches on top!

VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH PEACHES

Dear Friends,

Thanks so much for swinging by! As I have gotten older, even though I love to cook….and eat….dining out is soooo much easier. I’m constantly on the hunt for dishes that have amazing flavor and have the look of something complicated that took a lot of time to prepare.

Cheers to enjoying your Labor day filled with time spent just the way you like it.

Until next time…

🍹Laura

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BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER

I never realized that people actually read my blog and look forward to my recipes until dinner last night with friends celebrating my 62nd birthday!! Wait….62? Shit.  Anyway, my friend, Stephanie, wanted to know why I don’t blog more. I am, unfortunately for my husband and kids, never short of words, so that isn’t the problem. I love summer and spend as much time as I can outdoors because summer is soooo short. But promising that I would blog more, my new office is now located on the back deck until it rains. 

Speaking of summer, a recent trip to Miles Market in Ohio proved to be somewhat of a decision-making challenge. The locally grown produce was fresh and abundant. Ultimately, I came home with this massive head of cauliflower that was so big, it wouldn’t fit into the produce bag.  I came home from teaching aerobices the other day finding this huge cauliflower on the sink with a note from my husband who loves to do ‘refridgerator management.’ It read, “Do something with this thing. It’s taking up the whole damn refridgerator.” That’s a little exaggerated, but it is big and needed to be cooked. 

So, bored with the usual, but creative recipes for preparing cauliflower, I came upon a great recipe from Delish.com….Buffalo Cauliflower with blue cheese dipping sauce. My shortcuts with this dish are store-bought blue cheese dressing and Franks Hot Sauce. 

So, what really is buffalo sauce you ask? As a retired teacher, I love info that nobody really cares about. So the buffalo, fortunately,  has nothing to do with this guy…..buffalo.jpeg There actually are many stories with claims to fame of this spicy stuff, but they all originate in Buffalo, New York. Yep. There is even a National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, where John Young was inducted into the National Buffalo Wing Hall of Fame in 1964 with his Mombo Sauce.

Here it is….super easy and surprisingly not too spicy……..

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER with BLUE CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE 

fullsizeoutput_2177

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. buffalo sauce (such as Franks)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, until the florets are starting to turn golden and slightly crispy.
  3. Mix together melted butter and buffalo sauce. Pour over roasted cauliflower and toss with tongs to combine. Return baking sheet to oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender and slightly crisp. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side.

Dear Friends, I hope you like today’s recipe and feel free to share or ask for a new recipe. I love to share my yummy and EASY finds. Until next time….

Cheers!  🍾 Laura

P.S. Check out my new store, FOLIO TRENDS for the latest styles and trends for women.

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