Cheesy Eggplant Pasta Bake

eggplant-bake

When I was a kid my dad would occasionally make eggplant for dinner– he’d slice it lengthwise, put some kind of seasoning on the cut side, and roast it in the oven until the insides went all brown and mushy. I thought it looked disgusting. This was not aided by the fact that Dad would tell us that the brown part in the middle was actually a giant worm that lived inside every eggplant and was extra tasty when cooked. Ugh!

That story put me off eggplant for a while, honestly, and while I eventually recovered enough to enjoy eggplant parmesan and Chinese-style eggplant with spicy bean sauce and pork, I never really felt the urge to make eggplant myself.

That being said, when my local farmer’s market had a $1/lb. deal on eggplant, I decided it would be worth a shot to get myself a bagful. After a little digging online, I found this recipe, originally from Giada de Laurentiis but re-blogged by Smitten Kitchen. I tried making it with a few substitutions (canned tomatoes instead of the more expensive freshly roasted cherry tomatoes, omitting the pine nuts because I didn’t have any in my pantry), and it was pretty darned good! I decided to tweak it a little more to make it amazing, and the resulting recipe is something I’m definitely going to put into the rotation.

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Savory Brunch Tarts

tart-fennel-baked

So I mentioned the post-Christmas brunch we hosted earlier– along with sweets we also had several savory items, including a trio of delicious savory tarts. I was originally only going to make two– cauliflower and onion, and apple and fennel– but ended up having extra cauliflower, onions, and pie crust, and didn’t want to let it go to waste. The tarts didn’t turn out perfectly (cracks in the crusts allowed egg to leak through, making the bottoms soggy), but they were pretty tasty and provided inspiration for future recipes!

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Butternut Squash with Gouda

squash-gouda-fork.jpg

Okay, so “Butternut Squash with Gouda” isn’t exactly the most exciting name for this dish, but I couldn’t think of anything better so there it is. Besides, while the name may be boring, the recipe is anything but– it takes a few simple ingredients and combines them into a rich, flavorful, autumn-centric (new word!) dish. You get tender chunks of butternut squash, mixed with sweet and savory caramelized onions, a hint of sage, a creamy strata of gouda cheese, and it’s all topped with a crunchy layer of toasted panko. It would make a fabulous side dish for this year’s Thanksgiving.

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New Baby (Spinach and Sausage) Lasagna

lasagna-stack

So despite the lack of a photo of the finished product (the above picture is pre-baking) this is a really good lasagna recipe. Hot sausage, gooey cheese, just enough spinach to make you feel virtuous… what more could you ask for? Seriously, it’s great, which is why it’s my go-to recipe to bring to new moms and dads who have just come back from the hospital and are too worn out to cook. In fact, I made this one for two friends (and baby makes three!) who are just now emerging from their haze of sleep deprivation and late-night feedings, so I hope they enjoy it! This is also why I don’t have a picture of the cooked dish.

Even if you don’t have a new baby, of course, this is a hearty, delicious dish for autumn and winter dinners. I took a few shortcuts with regard to some steps (jarred sauce is just fine for something like this!), so you could conceivably make this on a weeknight if you started early. I prefer to make it on weekends, though, and take the (ample) leftovers to work for lunch to combat the Monday blues!

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Cannoli Ice Cream

cannoli-ice-cream

Hey, everyone! I can hardly believe it, but this is my 200th post on this blog! It’s been just over a year and a half since I started, and you’ve all been a great audience. Thanks for all the support! So, without further ado, my 200th post! (hope it lives up to your expectations)

 

Mmmm, cannolis… there’s nothing quite like a fresh cannoli when you’re in the mood for something rich, creamy, and decadent. Unless, of course, it’s cannoli ice cream. What’s that, you say? Cannoli ice cream? Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? It totally is. Rich, creamy ricotta ice cream, flecked with orange zest and studded with chocolate chips and pistachios. It really is delicious, and when served in a sugar cone or with a pizzelle cookie, really does taste like a frozen cannoli. I will note, however, that it freezes pretty hard– harder than many homemade ice creams– so you may want to remove the container from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to make it more scoopable. Totally worth the wait. (the scoop pictured above is a bit small because people ate it all before I got my camera out, not because it was hard to scoop!)

Ready to make some?

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Cheddar and Parsley Biscuits

parsley-biscuits

I love tiny baked goods– especially ones with some kind of dainty little decoration on top. Sweet or savory, I can’t resist them! So it was only a matter of time before I tried out an idea that I think I first saw in one of Martha Stewart’s books– tiny little biscuits with a sprig of parsley baked right on top. So adorable! I served them at a picnic last weekend and they were a perfect addition to the menu!

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Broccoli Melts

broccoli-melt
I admit it, I’ve done it again– shamelessly lifted a new favorite recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. And I’m not even sorry, because this is such a delicious way to get my vegetables that I’ve been eating it all week. I double the recipe to be sure I have enough to last!

What is this new favorite, you ask? Broccoli melts. Garlicky, spicy, cheesy broccoli, piled on top of toasted bread, generously accented with lemon, and covered in a gooey blanket of bubbly cheese. It makes a hearty breakfast, a fantastic lunch, and (with a glass of white wine) a perfect dinner.

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