An “Un-Official” Eggplant Parmesan

With this week’s family dinner, I felt inspired to create a hearty vegetable dish alongside the meal’s protein.  Eggplant stood out as I cruised the aisles of Costco (you’ll soon learn about my Costco addiction).

I don’t claim to be well versed in Italian cooking, however, eggplant parmesan seemed to fit the bill for this meal.  After browsing the standard formulas online, I felt confident enough to create my own dish.  Give it a try and I can guarantee a crowd-pleasing success!

/A/MY’s Un-Official Eggplant Parmesan 

  • 4 baby eggplant
  • 2 TB salt
  • 2 TB pepper
  • 2 TB dehydrated onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 TB chili infused olive oil
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 4 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 C baby spinach
  • 1 Jar pasta sauce
  • 1 C parmesan
  • 1 C grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 425゜(375゜ for convection)

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and place into mixing bowl.  Mix together with salt, pepper, onion, garlic and olive oils.  Dredge each seasoned eggplant round in panko breadcrumbs to coat.  Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack.  As each round is dipped through the breadcumbs place onto the rack.

Oven-Fried Eggplant

Oven-Fried Eggplant

Bake the seasoned and breaded eggplant slices for 20-30 minutes.  Let stand.

Cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish with 1/3 C of store-bought pasta sauce.  Begin the laying process by placing 1 C of fresh baby spinach atop sauce.  Follow with half of the oven fried eggplant.  Top with 1/2 C of both parmesan and mozzarella.  Repeat with sauce, spinach, eggplant and cheese.  Finish with the remaining 1/3 C of sauce.

Eggplant & Spinach Parmesan

Eggplant & Spinach Parmesan

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Bon appétit!

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“Family Dinner”

After flying the nest, my friends and I began an almost weekly tradition of, what we like to call, Family Dinner.  So what does this consist of? A crowd (of at least 5), good food (home-cooked of course), my antique dining room table, laughs, and wine.

Debates over the menu, day, time and availability all ensue over group text.  After the dust settles, I proudly announce the menu with bated breath.

Drumroll please … today’s evening consists of a freshly prepared caprese (with blanched asparagus) salad to start. We’ll follow up with the main course of marinated flank steak, “eggplant parmesan” (recipe to follow in a separate post), and broccolini.

Caprese Salad With Asparagus

Caprese Salad With Asparagus

Grilled Flank Steak

Grilled Flank Steak

How does a young professional pull it all off?

/A/MY Rules of Entertaining:

  • Plan the menu!
  • Shop the day before
  • Prep as much as you can
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew
  • Not every part of the meal has to start from scratch
  • Take some help where you can; accept a hand
  • Clean up as you go
  • Don’t skimp on tools and equipment
  • Relax
  • Have a glass of wine while cooking

Family Dinner!

What’s the verdict? Full tummies, memories shared & created, and a tradition that’s only to grow for many years to come.