Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Eggplant Parmesan Towers

With the final countdown to sporting my bikini on the beach in sunny Punta Cana, I decided to cook vegetarian meals this week. To be honest, I wish I could go completely vegan but I love cheese way too much!

I saw these eggplant towers on Pinterest awhile back and thought they looked divine. Recently, one of the food blogs I follow posted them as well so I decided to give them a try. And let me tell you, they were divine.

Eggplant is a great way to keep those carnivore cravings away as they have a very meaty texture and taste to them. I knew I might have those cravings kick in midweek so I picked an eggplant up at Trader Joes on Sunday. I was glad I did because I had a lot of fun with this recipe and I hope you do too! 


-Cooking skewers

-1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

-1 eggplant

-3 Roma tomatoes

-6 eggs

-¼ cup water

-¾ panko breadcrumbs

-¾ cup of Italian breadcrumbs

-1 teaspoon dry basil

-1 teaspoon dry parsley

-8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese

-1-2 cups of Parmesan cheese

-1 lb of fresh spinach

-1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper

-5 garlic gloves

-2 tablespoons olive oil





Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Start your prep by chopping the eggplant, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in about ½ inch slices.

Crack and whisk 4 eggs in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix your water, panko and Italian breadcrumbs, basil, and parsley. After, whisk in 2 eggs and set aside.

Spray a cooking sheet with cooking oil.

Next, you need to saturate the eggplant in the egg moisture and then dip in breadcrumb mix until fully covered. Transfer to a cooking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until they look golden brown.


Now you can begin cooking your sautéed garlic spinach.

To start, add olive oil, minced garlic, and crushed red pepper to large stockpot or French oven. Add medium heat to pan but do not let the garlic get too brown! Add spinach, salt, and pepper and stir until all the spinach is completely covered in EVOO. Cook for 2 minutes with the lid on. After 2 minutes, stir the spinach then turn heat to high and cook for another 2 minutes. It only takes 4 minutes total to cook so be very attentive!

Using a baking pan layer the bottom with your favorite marinara sauce. When eggplant is finished baking you can begin the fun part – layering! The order is really up to you. My layering order went in this order: eggplant, Parmesan cheese, tomato, mozzarella cheese, spinach, tomato, eggplant, and last but not least more Parmesan cheese. To finish, break cooking skewers in half and pierce the layers using the sharp end first to avoid splinters.

Bake another 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and perfectly browned! Serve with more tomato sauce, ground pepper, and fresh basil or thyme.

Pour yourself a big glass of red wine and enjoy! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cast Iron Pizza

Oh pizza, how I love thee.

Making your own pizza for date night in can be so much fun! Who needs greasy pepperoni pizza via delivery when you can go all out, with crazy good, fresh toppings that are packed full of flavor right at home?

In the picture below, I used local Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes, arugula, pine nuts, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The possibilities of toppings for homemade pizza are practically endless!

Last summer, I found a pizza crust that you cook on the grill. Stephen and I really enjoyed making our own creations and ending up with a crust that was a tiny bit charred. After browsing a few of my favorite food blogs who swear by cooking pizza in a cast iron pan, I decided to expand my pizza prep.

I think my next pizza will involve some sort of Thai peanut sauce topped with chicken, scallions, carrot, purple cabbage, roasted peanuts, and fresh cilantro. I’m pretty sure if you make your own in a cast iron with your own dough, you will not be ordering in again. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was my KitchenAid stand mixer. I was so excited to add this forever staple to my collection of “red” kitchenware. However, I am not the best at baking nor is baking the best for my diet so I haven’t used it as much as I hoped I would. I was explaining my dilemma to a coworker this week during our long night shift and he told me how you can use your KitchenAid to shred chicken. At first, I was skeptical but after showing me multiple YouTube demonstrations I decided I would give it a try this weekend. Turns out it works great! I thought I would share this exciting news with all of my readers. Go try it for yourself! And maybe even convince yourself to splurge on that vibrant colored KitchenAid you have been eyeing every time you walk into Target ;)


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 4-once can green chilies
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups chicken broth
1 16-once can of diced tomato with liquid
12 ounces of chicken (2-3 breasts)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup lime juice


In a large stockpot heat olive oil. Add onions, peppers and carrots and sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent in color. Add green chilies, chili power, cumin, garlic, oregano and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Then add chicken broth and can of diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, bring a separate pan of water to a boil and add frozen 2-3 chicken breast. Cook for about 20 minutes, drain, and transfer to KitchenAid stand mixer. Using your flat beater, mix the chicken on medium speed until chicken becomes perfectly shredded.

Reduce heat and add chicken. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add corn and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro and lime juice.  Garnish with tortilla chip strips, monetary jack cheese, sour cream, avocado and/or cilantro. Enjoy!