Eggplant Parm, The Old Fashioned Way: My Triple Double

Eggplant Parm, The Old Fashioned Way: My Triple Double

A cast-iron skillet. Thick slices of eggplant. A ladleful of marinara sauce and a double-topping of cheese. Make eggplant parm magic tonight! Click to skip to the recipe

Original Eggplant Parm

 

This week the eggplants drew me in! 

They drew me in in a BIG way. The varieties were amazing. So many colors: purple, green and white.

There were itty bitty ones and skinny ones and fat ones and then huge ones!

I chose a deep purple Japanese variety and stuffed it into my basket.

That night, I made eggplant parm….The old fashioned way. I did a triple-dip of flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs and got a fabulously crunchy result.

My cast iron skillet was the perfect utensil to fry thick slices of eggplant.

A ladleful of marinara sauce and a double topping of cheese and dinner was ready in a minute.

It’s my version of a triple-double! Watch out Russell Westbrook.

Eggplant Parmesan

Take advantage of your favorite variety of eggplant using this simple frying technique to create a super Italian inspired dish.

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups seasoned Panko breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

2 cups marinara sauce 

16 ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

Yields:   8

Time:   A Crowd

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Season the eggplant with salt and pepper. Dredge a slice of eggplant first in the flour, then through the beaten egg (shaking off the excess), and finally into the breadcrumbs. Place the coated eggplant onto a baking rack or piece of parchment paper and continue with the remaining slices.

Heat about an inch of vegetable in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place some of the eggplant slices into the hot oil. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Cook until the eggplant is golden on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the eggplant and cook until golden on the second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the eggplant slices to a paper-towel-lined platter.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Pour enough marinara sauce into a baking dish to coat the bottom. Lay the eggplant slices into the dish. Top with the remaining marinara sauce. Distribute the Mozzarella cheese over the top of the eggplant and sprinkle Parmesan over everything.

Bake until the cheese is melted and gooey, about 20 minutes.

Fancy Dress Dinner in the New Normal

Fancy Dress Dinner in the New Normal

If you’ve been living in your Lulumons, this Fancy Dress Dinner Party is for you! Prepare a feast for your “bubble friends” or family this Social-distance Summer.

Click to skip to the recipes

 

When was the last time that you dressed up? 

For that matter, when was the last time that you got out of your sweats? 

We discussed this during my walking group’s morning trek the other day. The answers were startling. No one had dressed up in months!

I mean, “fancy- dressed-up”, like sparkles and heels and ties and pocket squares. 

The occasions that we dress for have all gone away.

No more business dinners, charity events, or milestone birthday parties. Weddings are postponed and black tie events are canceled. I’m not even sure that this year’s fall fashions haven’t been hanging in my closet since last spring!

I decided to change things up a bit in my bubble.

I’m planning a fancy dress party that fits with the new normal.

I’ll host a smaller group of friends, maintain a socially-distanced table in an open-air space and absolutely, expressly forbid hugging and kissing.

But there will be place cards and flowers on the table. We’ll be served on real china plates and crystal. Places will be set with linen napkins and a printed menu.

And yes…There will be FOOD.

Really, really good food.

Here’s my fancy-dressed dinner menu:

 

Spinach Salad Topped with Heirloom Tomatoes and Salt and Pepper Fruit

Beef Wellington with Red Wine Demi Glaze

Pommes de Terre Chantilly

Chocolate French Silk Pie

 

Sounds daunting, yes! Well, it’s not. Let me tell you how.

You can make the pie the day before. I’ll tell you a secret. 

I use Ina Garten’s pie crust recipe.

And Ree Drummond’s recipe for the filling. 

I topped the pie with whipped cream and dust with salted caramel sugar from Spice and Tea Exchange.

It’s not only yummy, but it’s also pretty!

 

The salad is created by tossing baby spinach leaves and thin slices of onion with a bit of vinaigrette. I top this with slices of ripe tomato with a dribble of olive oil.

What makes this salad so special is the fruit. I dice watermelon into very small cubes which I spritz with kosher salt. 

Next, I cut strawberries into the same size pieces and sprinkle with pepper. I scatter the “salt and peppered” fruit cubes on top of the tomatoes and chill the salad.

 The bite is crunchy, sweet, and surprisingly refreshing.

 

The Beef Wellington recipe is right out of my book, Fresh Traditions

Seared tenderloin filets are topped with a slice of pate and a spoonful of creamy, sherried mushrooms. Then they are wrapped in pastry and chilled until you are ready to bake. 

Twenty minutes in the oven creates an over-the-top main course, especially when served with a red wine reduction.

But my favorite dish on the menu is the potatoes.

Imagine a mashed potato souffle and you will get your mouth watering for these Chantilly potatoes. Named for a region in France that creates wonderous cream, these potatoes can be prepared in the morning and baked off in the same oven as the beef. Success!

My party is coming soon, and I hope it inspires you to get out of those pj’s and back into the worldAt least a little step towards getting back into the world!

Pommes de Terre Chantilly

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Ingredients

Whipped potatoes meet whipped cream in this most delicious version of mashed potatoes. It’s a fussy presentation which requires a bit of work but is really worth the effort.

4 (1 ½ to 2-inch thick) beef tournedos (center cut fillet of beef)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

Course ground pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 large shallots, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

8 ounces Baby portobello mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons cup sherry

1/3 cup cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 (1-pound) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

4 to 6 ounces pate, preferably duck mousse, cut into 4 slices

Serves:   4

Time:  30-minute Cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Peel the potatoes and cut them into ½-inch cubes. Place the potato cubes into salted, boiling water. Cook until the potatoes are very soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Use a colander to drain the potatoes. Place 3 tablespoons butter and milk into a large bowl. Use a potato ricer to smoosh the potatoes into the bowl. Stir the potatoes into a smooth puree.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Divide 1 tablespoon butter into four individual baking dishes. Place these onto a baking sheet. Place the dishes into the oven and let the butter melt onto the bottom of each one.

Use an electric mixer to whip the cream into soft peaks. Place about ⅓ of the whipped cream into the center of the potatoes. Gently stir the cream into the potatoes. The potatoes will be soft and light. Scrape the remaining whipped cream into the bowl. Gently fold this cream into the potatoes. You don’t need to overwork the potatoes. You want these to be light and airy. 

Spoon the potatoes into the baking dishes. Sprinkle each dish with Parmesan cheese. Bake until the potatoes are warmed through and the tops begin to turn golden brown on the edges, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Beef Wellington

Ingredients

This renowned dish is easy to make and a super way to show off in front of your guests. The good news is the beef packages can be prepared in advance and baked 30 minutes before you seat your guests. Talk about “fast food”!

4 (1 ½ to 2-inch thick) beef tournedos (center cut fillet of beef)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

Course ground pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 large shallots, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

8 ounces Baby portobello mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons cup sherry

1/3 cup cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 (1-pound) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

4 to 6 ounces pate, preferably duck mousse, cut into 4 slices

Serves:   4

Time:  60-minute Cuisine (Plus chilling)

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush the beef with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet over high heat.  Place the steaks into the skillet and sear until well browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn until both sides are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes more.  Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature.  

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the shallots in the pan until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the sherry, cream, and tarragon to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 to 5 minutes more.  Cool this mixture to room temperature.

Roll out the puff pastry sheets to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut into 4 rectangles.  Coat a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.  Place a beef slice onto a pastry rectangle.  Brush the edges of the dough with a beaten egg. Place a slice of pate on top of the beef.  Top with sautéed mushrooms and the tarragon cream sauce.  Wrap the layered beef with the pastry.  Crimp the top ends together to seal the package.  (Form the bundle into a purse, trimming off the excess pastry.)  Repeat with all the filet slices.  Place each bundle onto the prepared baking sheet.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush each package with a beaten egg.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 375°.  Bake until the pastry is golden, about 20 minutes more.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with red wine sauce.

Overboard Tip

To make red wine sauce heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook 2 large minced shallots until soft.  Pour in 1 cup dry red wine.  Reduce until ½ cup remains.  Pour in 1 cup beef broth.  Reduce until 1 cup remains, about 15 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta: Cooking With Kids At Home

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta: Cooking With Kids At Home

Homemade pasta is not only delicious, but it’s a great activity to do with kids. Click for recipe to make pasta in all the colors of the rainbow with your kiddos! Click to skip to the recipe

Jorj Morgan Camp Nana Homemade Pasta

 

While brainstorming to come up with some activities to do with campers at my recent Camp Nana, one of my first ideas was to offer a class on baking and cake decorating. 

But, here in the mountains of North Carolina, we sit in a bit of a rain forest. 

A humid, wet rain forest. 

This is not the best environment for cake decorating as the frosting has a hard time setting up. Get the pun?

My next thought was to do a cooking class where we eat what we cooked for dinner, doing double duty.

Then I thought about pizza which led me to think about pasta (My mind wanders in strange and mysterious ways…)!

This time, I thank goodness for strange thoughts as this class went down with pasta perfection.

My over-achiever self decided that we would make differently colored pastas instead of plain old noodles. 

Why not? If you are going out on a limb, it might as well be a high one. 

I amassed several pasta machines and decided to make a go of it. 

I took beets and boiled them, spinach leaves and steamed them and carrots and roasted them. Then I pureed each veg into a puree. 

Note to self, boiling root vegetables creates a smoother puree than roasting, although roasting gives a better flavor. The difference in the pasta is that a smoother puree will create a full-colored noodle, where a coarser puree will create little bits or dots in the noodle. How’s that for insider info?

The technique is really simple and a perfect activity for kids of all ages. 

Since we were creating four different types of pasta, I used a smaller amount of ingredients per pasta maker. You can double or triple this basic recipe based on your needs. You dump the flour onto your work surface and use your CLEAN, WASHED hands to bring it together in a circle. 

You then create a well and put the wet ingredients in the center. This is just like you pool gravy in mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. 

Then use a fork to start swirling the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and eventually form everything into a smooth dough. Kids LOVE this!!! 

Next, we cut the dough into pieces and run it through the machine. Through various degrees of thinness, we smooth the dough into thin sheets. The last setting on the machine cuts the dough sheets into the size noodles you prefer.

We let the noodles dry on a rack for a bit and then we boil them quickly in salted water and serve them with a topping of your choice. 

I offered marinara sauce, alfredo sauce, and plain old delicious browned butter with just a hint of sage. 

It was soooooo much FUN!!!

You don’t have to have a group of kids to make pasta. You can make pasta with just one of your favorite kids. 

Or you can gather a few and take turns on the pasta machine. You can store dried pasta for several days in the fridge. 

You can also purchase prepared sauces to go on top of your pasta. It’s all good.

Just as long as the smiles keep coming. Enjoy!

A Rainbow of Fresh Pasta

Homemade pasta is not only delicious, but it’s a great activity to do with kids. You can make pasta in all the colors of the rainbow, although some might take a bit of imagination! Gather a kid or two and have some fun!

Camp Greystone Famous Opening-Day Scones

Ingredients

2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

½ cup spinach puree (substitute with beet, carrot, or your favorite)

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Serves:  4 hungry kids

Time:   60-minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Use a fork to combine the eggs and yolk with the puree in a small bowl. Place the flour onto your work surface. Use your impeccably clean hands to scoop the flour into a circle. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Use a fork to combine the flour into the wet ingredients starting from the center of the well and working your way to the outside. Use your hands to gently knead the dough into a smooth circle.

Cut the dough into four pieces. Flatten with your hand and run through a pasta machine on the thickest setting. Do this twice and then move to the next setting until you get a thin sheet of pasta. Run this sheet through the machine on the final setting that cuts the pasta into the noodle size of your choice.

Dry the pasta for several minutes (or longer) on a rack or swirl the noodles onto a baking sheet lined with a bit of flour. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water for just a few seconds, until the pasta is tender. Drain and top with your favorite sauce.

Overboard Tip:

To make the puree, cook (boil or steam) the vegetable until it is incredibly soft. Drain the vegetable thoroughly in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place the veggie into the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until it is pureed.

Pick a Peck of Peppers: Short Ribs Two Ways

Pick a Peck of Peppers: Short Ribs Two Ways

Social-distance Summer just got hotter with pecks of peppers, two ways!  Add fresh air and “bubble friends” for this backyard feast!

Click to skip to the recipes

 

During this time of social-distancing, my “Bubble Friends” and I have taken turns hosting Potluck Sunday suppers. 

The host couple picks the theme and the rest of us bring the appys, sides, and dessert. We gather together on our porch, back deck, kitchen table; wherever we can dine and raise a glass in the open air with good friends…Well, you get the picture.

Recently it was my turn. 

We’ve been in this social-distance bubble for quite some time, so when it was time to plan my dinner theme, my thoughts raced away from grilled steaks and barbecue. 

I was looking for something that was unexpected on a summer’s night. 

I started thumbing through my Sunday Best Dishes cookbook and paged right through to the Slow and Sly Supper chapter. I saw the picture for my Chili Roasted Short Rib dish and a light bulb went off.

Let’s stuff a pepper or two or three…and my dish was born!  The recipe follows, but what made the evening really special and what makes every potluck supper really special…..The friends who share your bubble. 

Give this dish a try.

Invite your Bubble Friends and ask them to bring a dish. Open the windows and enjoy!

Short Rib Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Breakfast Skillet with Glazed Eggs

Ingredients

Serve these most delicious stuffed peppers with yellow rice and black beans for a hint of Mexico cuisine cooked in your very own kitchen.

10 to 12 beef short ribs, prepared as follows, shredded, tossed with sauce from pan

10 to 12 large poblano peppers (you can substitute with Anaheim peppers)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup prepared enchilada sauce

4 ounces Queso blanco cheese, grated

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Serves:   6 to 8

Time:  All Day or Overnight Cuisine

Prepare the short ribs according to the Chili Roasted Beef Short Rib recipe written below. You can do this the night before or even several days in advance. Remove the meat from the bones and shred. Place the meat into a large bowl. Spoon the sauce that remains in the pan over the meat and toss to combine. You should have one big bowl of meaty, saucy rib meat.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Slice one cut into the side of a pepper. Gently pull the pepper open and carefully remove the seeds and ribs. Place the peppers into a baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil on the inside and out. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until the peppers just begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the peppers. Pour enchilada sauce into the bottom of the pan. Place some of the shredded Queso blanco cheese into the bottom of each pepper. Spoon the short rib meat into the pepper. Fill with as much meat as you can. Place the peppers back into the pan with the sauce and top with cheddar cheese. Place the dish back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, and the beef is warmed through.

Chili Roasted Beef Short Ribs (from Sunday Best Dishes)

Ingredients

Prepare these ribs in the morning and slow roast in the oven while you enjoy your Sunday afternoon. It’s melt in your mouth comfort with just a hint of heat.  

8 beef short ribs, about 3 to 4 pounds (choose ribs that are thick and meaty)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup (or more) unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, diced, about 1 cup

2 large carrots, diced, about 1 cup

2 medium celery ribs, diced, about 1 cup

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ cup

2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and deveined, diced, about 2 tablespoons

1 750ml bottle red wine

1 quart homemade beef broth, or low sodium beef broth 

1 cup tomato paste

1 cup chili sauce

1 large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and diced, about 2 tablespoons

2 cinnamon sticks

Chopped, fresh cilantro

Yield:   18 bite size cakes and about 6 large cakes

Time:  45 minute cuisine

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 250°. Season the ribs with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large roasting pan) over medium high heat. Dredge each rib in flour, shaking off the excess. Place each rib into the oil and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs to a platter. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and jalapeno to the pan. Cook until the veggies are soft. 

Pour in the wine and beef broth. Stir in the tomato paste and chili sauce. Bring the liquid to a boil. Return the ribs and any juices on the platter to the pan. Bury the cinnamon sticks in the sauce.

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid (or place aluminum foil over the pan). Place the pan into the oven and cook until the meat is tender and pulling away from the bone, about 6 to 7 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the cover. Place the ribs onto a platter and spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

 

Let The Sunshine In: Fiery Buffalo Chicken Recipe

Let The Sunshine In: Fiery Buffalo Chicken Recipe

When my kids were little, we had a Friday night tradition of going to our local TGI Friday’s restaurant and order our favorite appetizers: Wings and loaded potato skins. This version of that meal makes me sunshiney happy. I hope it does for you, too! Click to skip to the recipe

 

I’m a morning person. 

Mostly, I’m a morning person because my dog refuses to sleep in…. at all! As soon as the sun breaks through the cracks in the window shades, we’re up. Not “stretchy-downward-dog” up; We’re “running-around-in-circles”, “grabbing-for-the-coffee-pot” UP.

The weather and the mood around here have been a little bleak lately. But, just this morning, I am inspired by just a few seconds of watching a glorious sunrise.

The clouds turn pink and then crimson and then the fiery ball climbs up and over the faraway mountains and makes itself known to me, just me.

Watching this miracle of nature is just enough to raise my mood and open the door to the prospects that today brings. What a joy.

In just a few minutes, with the caffeine beginning to take root and the sun rising, I can plan my day with a smile on my face. Soon, I know that this miracle will be shared with others and that they, too, can begin to build on this glorious sunshine.

Today I share it with you, my friends, family, and blog friends.

My wish is that your day begins with sunshine, maintains the good feelings that this sunrise gives you, and ends with the promise of another glorious miracle after a night of restful sleep.

Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for a sunshine-inspired, fiery Buffalo chicken recipe. Enjoy!

Fiery Buffalo Chicken

Serves:

Time:

4

40-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

When my kids were little, we had a Friday night tradition of going to our local TGI Friday’s restaurant an order our favorite happy: Wings and loaded potato skins. This version of that meal makes me sunshiney happy. I hope it does for you, too!

For chicken:

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

4 chicken thighs

4 tablespoons butter

For Buffalo sauce:

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced

¼ cup hot pepper sauce

¼ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup olive oil

Crumbled blue cheese

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the flour, chili powder, onion powder, garlic salt, salt, and pepper into a resealable plastic bag. Place one or two chicken thighs into the seasoned flour in the bag and shake, shake, shake until the chicken is coated.

Place the thighs into a baking pan that has been coated with cooking oil spray. Repeat until all the chicken is in the pan. Top each chicken piece with a pat of butter.

Bake until the top of the chicken begins to turn golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Whisk together the green onions, diced jalapeno pepper, hot sauce, and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Remove the chicken from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Place the pan back into the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about another 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and crumble blue cheese over the top. 

Overboard Tip:

I served Buffalo chicken with potato skins and jalapeno corn. The corn is easy. Simply remove corn kernels from the cobb and sauté in a bit of olive oil with red onion and finely diced jalapeno pepper. Season with chili powder, salt, and pepper. For the potato skins, scoop out some of the flesh from a baked potato and cut the skins into wedges.

Place a pat of butter into each piece and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with diced bacon, ham, pepperoni, or prosciutto. Your choice!

Spread some grated cheddar cheese over top and bake until the cheese melts. Garnish the skins with sour cream and hot pepper sauce.

A Tale of Two Schnitzels: How to Freeze Food For Budget Meals

A Tale of Two Schnitzels: How to Freeze Food For Budget Meals

Bulk cooking equals budget meals without sacrificing good taste! Learn how to freeze food and make the most of your dinner. Click to skip to the recipe

Pork Schnitzel Milanese

 

For years and years, I have poo-pooed the notion that it is difficult to cook for two.

My solution has always been to cook more and people will come and eat it.

This was my mantra and it came true because I had friends and kids and kid’s friends and friends of friends that would drop by.  I had food prepared and ready to go.

Then the world changed. My drop-by visitors have dried up! The leftovers are piling up and although I love leftovers for lunch the next day, hubby does not agree!

Try as I might, he won’t give up that liverwurst sandwich for a previously baked lemon chicken thigh.

All of a sudden, I got it! Couple this with our new normal trend of “take-out dining” and I began to ponder a new truth. 

While I support local restaurants (I take-out) but I must admit, it’s not like the real thing. That French fry or crisply fried chicken skin grows limp as it steams in the bag waiting for the drive home. Rare fish goes to well done if it is left to sit longer than normal. Veggies get soggy, salads warm to room temperature.

This is not the restaurant’s fault. Painstakingly plated chef-prepared food is not designed to be served 20 to 30 minutes after it has been cooked.

 

How to Freeze Food For Budget Meals

In order to have food that is prepared and served as it is intended to be eaten, you have to take a look at your freezer. I wondered why frozen food that is heated in the oven or microwave tastes better than take-home food from the restaurant.

Something about the process of preparing the food, freezing it, and then finishing in the oven is better than delivery and reheating.

So, I thought I would experiment and ya know what? It worked!!

Pork loin usually comes two to a package. A smart menu planner would open the package and freeze the loins separately when cooking for two. That’s unfortunately not in my (cook-more-than-you-need) wheelhouse. So, when I defrosted my package of pork loins a few days ago, the opportunity to flash freeze presented itself. 

I thought about schnitzel, which are breaded cutlets sometimes served with mashed potatoes and white gravy. I took the schnitzel idea and made two recipes.

The recipes follow, but here’s the experiment in a nutshell:

I cut each loin into 3-inch medallions. I placed each medallion in between two pieces of plastic wrap. I used my trusty meat mallet to flatten the medallions into thin cutlets. These I breaded. I froze half of the breaded cutlets for later use and used those that were left to create Pork Parmesan. Delish!

The best part was that when I defrosted the remaining cutlets to make Pork Milanese it worked like a dream! Perfection and a second delish! 

Now, I’m not saying refrain from taking out food from your favorite spot, because it is our duty to support our local restaurants. But what I am saying is that on those evenings when you choose to cook, prepare more than you might need.

 

Waste Less Food = Make More Meals

Pre-freeze instead of post-freeze and you will have a jump start on another meal that will taste right-out-of-the-oven perfect!

 

Pork Schnitzel Parmesan

Serves:

Time:

4

45-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

A tad more sturdy than eggplant parm, this dish comes together quickly and only requires a side of spaghetti tossed in olive oil and a green salad.

For sauce:

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon dry oregano

For tenderloin:

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 large egg

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs 

For parmesan:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

glazed lemon cake with berry sauce
glazed lemon cake with berry sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. 

Pour the tomatoes into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce while you prepare the cutlets.

Slice the tenderloin into 3-inch medallions. Place each medallion in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a mallet to flatten the medallions into thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper. Place the flour into a shallow dish. Place the egg into a separate dish and mix with 2 tablespoons water. Place the breadcrumbs into a third dish. Take each cutlet and dip it first into the flour (shaking off the excess), then into the egg wash, and finally into the panko breadcrumbs. Place each cutlet onto a rack.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the cutlets into the skillet. (You can do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet.) Cook until the cutlet is golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the cutlet over and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the cutlets. Top with both cheeses. Bake until the cheese melts and the cutlets are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Pork Schnitzel Milanese

Serves:

Time:

4

45-Minute Cuisine

Ingredients

A riff on veal or chicken Milanese, this dish comes together quickly if you’ve managed to previously prepare the cutlets and then just thaw them. For the salad, I used Romaine, red leaf, and arugula lettuces with a chiffon of basil and a bit of dill in the mix. Anything you have in your vegetable drawer will work well here. The secret is to slice the salad ingredients very thinly, so they fit nicely on the cutlet.

For tenderloin:

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 large egg

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs 

For salad:

6 cups finely sliced mix greens and herbs

Juice of lemon, about 2 tablespoons

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Handful (love this amount!) cherry tomatoes, halved

Pork Schnitzel Milanese

Slice the tenderloin into 3-inch medallions. Place each medallion in between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a mallet to flatten the medallions into thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper. Place the flour into a shallow dish. Place the egg into a separate dish and mix with 2 tablespoons water. Place the breadcrumbs into a third dish. Take each cutlet and dip it first into the flour (shaking off the excess), then into the egg wash and finally into the panko breadcrumbs. Place each cutlet onto a rack.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the cutlets into the skillet. (You can do this in batches depending on the size of the skillet.) Cook until the cutlet is golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the cutlet over and cook until the second side is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish.