Eggplant Parmesan…my way!!



As I have mentioned in a recent post my Dad has a garden and so another vegetable that has been a plenty is Eggplants.
Most of the summer, I would grill them or just roast them in the oven, and a couple of times I made Eggplant Parmesan.  I would post my pictures on facebook and of course my friends say tell me the recipe.

So this last time I tried to remember as making it to take pictures of the process and what I do 🙂

First I used my homemade tomato sauce that I made out of the tomatoes from my Dad’s garden and I love using Fresh Mozzarella 🙂

So enjoy!!

First I peeled, sliced then sprinkled slices with salt in a colander
for 30-40 minutes, then pat each slice dry with paper towel. 
(LOL of course the first picture of that I forgot to take)
Then place them on a baking sheet 


I took panko bread crumbs and fresh grated Parmesan Cheese


Mixed in some Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzeys
(coarse salt, garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram)
you can add Italian seasonings as well


Put about 2 Tbsp. on mixture on top of each slice


with your hand press down crumb mixture


Then I sprayed each piece with PAM – Olive oil spray
of course you could drizzle with olive oil if you wish too.



Then bake in a 385 degree oven until tops are brown


Sauce you can use any you like, so pick your favorite
I used my homemade sauce and I added
some of the Sandwich Sprinkle to the sauce


I have some Fresh Sliced Mozzarella


In a sprayed baking dish, place a eggplant down
and top with sauce


Then top with a slice of mozzarella


Place another piece of eggplant and repeat
with sauce and cheese


I topped the final piece of cheese with the rest of the sauce


I had crumb mixture leftover


and I sprinkled some over top the entire dish
And bake at 385 degrees until brown 


and cheese is melted and brown




This was so good, most of the time I don’t measure anything so when
I cook unless I write it down it really just turns out to what I have 
in my pantry and such.  So when I am experimenting and it turns out good, I have to remember what I did so I can share in a blog, and then most the time I don’t take picture either 😛 LOL
The last time I made this (pictures below), I did the same except I didn’t have
any crumb mixture left, so I sprinkle the final layer with a little parmesan chesse

They both turned out delicious 😛 so as you make yours just make to what you like and
it will be just as Delicious!!




Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 medium size eggplant, peeled, sliced a 1/2- 3/4 inch thick (6 slices from each)
3 cups of tomato sauce
3 Tbsp. Penzeys Sandwich Sprinkle or Italian seasonings, divided
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh Mozzarella sliced, 2 slices for each stack
(used 1 1/2 logs for 8 stacks, so 2 logs would work for 12 stacks)
PAM Olive Oil spray

Sprinkle each slice of eggplant both sides lightly with salt, place slice in colander in the sink,
let set for 30-40 mins.  Then pat each piece with a paper towel, doing this helps draw out the bitterness that some eggplants tend to have.

In a bowl add panko, Parmesan and 2 Tbsp. seasonings; mix together.  Place slices on a baking sheet and put about 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp. of mixture on top, press mixture down with hand then spray with olive oil spray.
Crumb mixture does fly around a little that is why I press down the mixture, you can drizzle tops with olive oil if you wish.  Bake at 385 degrees until tops are brown about 25 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile get your tomato sauce ready, mix in 1 Tbsp. seasoning, have mozzarella slices ready.
Spray a baking dish that will hold the amount you are making.

Once eggplant tops have browned, place half the slice in the baking dish, top with 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp. sauce,
then a slice of cheese, repeat again, eggplant, sauce and cheese.
At this point you can top each stack with leftover sauce and sprinkle with any left over crumb mixture, or just sprinkle some a little Parmesan cheese over top.  Bake at 385 degrees until light brown and cheese is bubbly.  

You can really make this your own, you like more sauce use more sauce, or cheese even, if you want to stack 3 high then stack 3 high.  These a great meal served with a simple salad on the side.




You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!


Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!

My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂


Mixing it all up



Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too


This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!


My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!



another day again…YUMMY!!!


This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛


Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!


This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂

Summer Cooking Class Series!!


Yes I know I have been a little “MIA” lately!!!

But this summer has been busy and I can’t believe its JULY!!!! 
I have my hand in so many different little things that I am just so busy and it’s been hard to find the time to blog.  Plus I have not been cooking anything really good for myself, so hence no blogs.

But I did finish a couple weeks ago a cooking class series that I did in 3 of our stores 🙂

They all turned out great, a lot of grilling and a few out of the box recipes, beer sampling with one too!!

Here are a few pictures of the dishes and the crowds, it was a great time and I had a LOT of help from some of GREAT co-workers.

I hope you enjoy!!!

Grilled Fruit Pizza – naan bread, Camembert cheese, blackberries, strawberries, basil and balsamic glaze

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Grilled Asian Corn with peanuts

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Grilled Watermelon with arugula, feta and balsamic glaze

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Crowd pic

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Veggie Pizza – Garlic naan bread, red pepper hummus, grilled veggies topped with goat cheese

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Grilled pound cake and pineapple

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Grilled German Potato Salad


Grilled veggies with garlic couscous topped with basil


crowd pics

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Zucchini & tomato salad with ricotta, Parmesan and pesto


Hawaiian Rice – cooked in coconut milk, golden raisin, macadamia nuts and green onions

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Mango & pineapple salsa

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Crowd Pics



Grilled romaine with mango vinaigrette, shredded jicama, pineapple, red pepper and black sesame seeds

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Me – having fun with the microphone….I love being on the Microphone 😛 

Chef Amy

One Lovely Blog Award!!


Recently I was nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by Ka@My Uni Kitchen

Ka has a terffic blog, he has amazing Recipes, How to Guides and Cooking Tips, so please go over to his
blog and check out all those good things he has to offer 🙂

There are few rules to accepting the award you must tell everyone 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 blogs
for the award.

So here we go 🙂

1. I worked on a cruise ship for 6 1/2 years

2. My first career was in Theater Costuming before going into Culinary

4. I love Hockey

5. I worked for our home town Hockey Team by sewing names and numbers on their jerseys

6.  During the baseball season, I am on call for the Cincinnati Reds and the away teams
      that come into town and play the Reds, to sew their uniforms (sewing names & numbers),
      for any last minute call ups.

7.  The most I was ever paid for sewing 1 single uniform for an away team was $100.00
that was for 1 hour of work, that included the call, me driving to the ball park
(i live very close) 
getting in there sewing the name and number and then 
      back in my car.  🙂  

Bonus – here’s the picture 🙂


I hope you enjoyed the few things that most of you did not know about me 🙂


Here are the blogs that I think are fantastic and I give the “One Lovely Blog Award” too


Gretchen@Feeding My 3 Sons


Loretta@Safari of the Mind

Angie@The Novice Gardner

Julie@Hostess At Heart

Michelle@Giraffes Can Bake

Suzi@Beach Blanket Bacon

Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook

Coco@Crafty Little Coco

Lili@Lili’s Cakes

Max@Dante’s Kitchen

Linda@La Petite Paniere

Ms. Frau@Frugal Hausfrau

Petra@Food Eat Love

Vidya and Chitra I added you as well
I know Ka added you to his blog
but I wanted to let you know I love
your blogs too, so you can consider mine
with his 🙂

Vidya@Traditionally Modern Food

Chitra@Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Thank you everyone for checking out my blog!!!




Homemade Pierogies!!




Who loves some Pierogies!!! ME!!!

So why not for Fiesta Friday, check out many fabulous blogs for Fiesta Friday over at Angie’s page.

And her co-host for this Friday are Ginger@Ginger&Bread and Loretta@Safari of the Mind, so I would like to thank all of them for today’s Fiesta Friday #64

A friend of mine and I made some homemade pierogies awhile back I think they turned out great.
I made the dough and the filling, then headed over to my friend Paul’s house and we put them together and cooked them up…Delicious!!!!

If you are not familiar with what they are, click here

I have always seen them in the freezer section Mrs. T’s, which I am not saying are not good, if you need a quick pierogi these will do the trick.

For me on the other hand I have them fresh from a place in Pittsburgh a couple of times, my friend Paul is from there so when I went with him to visit we went to “Pierogies Plus” check out all the different flavors that you can get when you go or you can have them shipped 🙂

Also when I went to Chicago I stopped into a Polish Pierogi Shop…amazing 🙂

I just went with Potato and Cheese for this first batch 🙂

Dough – Ingredients



I used a food processor, you can do it by hand too



Flour and salt



pulsed it a little then added my egg



with egg mixed in




then add sour cream and butter and pulse



Pulse a few times



then turn it out onto your work space



Knead to just bring together



form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap
I heard if you make the dough the night
before it becomes a more tended dough



Filling – Ingredients



Peel and cube your potatoes & boil until



Drain potatoes and place back in the pan
set back on the stove, just on hot burner
to help some of the extra liquid cook off



I used a ricer, you can certainly mash the
potatoes with a masher or however you
make your mashed potatoes



using the ricer forces the potatoes through
the tiny holes which make the potatoes very



potatoes, riced 🙂



mix in butter and half and half



8oz. shredded cheese



fold in cheese



finished mixture



place in container and chill



my dough



I cut in half



then again, take dough and press out
into a rectangle then use a rolling pin to make
dough about 1/8 inch thick





I use a round cutter to cut my circles
about a 3 inch round maybe 3 1/2 inch 🙂



I used my scoop, it worked out perfectly
mixture was about 2 tablespoons



place potato mixture in the center of the round



bring edges up together and start to pinch
dough together from center to the outside
then from the center to the other side





Done, this was perfect, it was easier just to
form a round with your fingers, fill it and pinch


as you can see not all of them look perfect
but they all tasted Fabulous!!!



From following recipe this was how much
potato mixture left, it may have been a
cup or cup in half.  Great mashed potatoes
for sure.


Homemade Pierogies


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs, large
1 stick butter, softened

You can use food processor or mix by hand
Mix together the flour and salt, add eggs and combine, the dough will be clumpy.
Work in the sour cream and softened butter until dough comes together roughly, then scrap out onto work surface.
Knead and fold the dough without adding any additional flour until the dough becomes less sticky but it will be quite moist.
Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, but I like it overnight.


2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. half and half
8 oz. cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) Cheddar, Colby, farmers or any good melting cheese

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, drained potatoes and place back in pot, set pot back on hot burner so any leftover liquid can cook away.
At this point you can put potatoes through a ricer, food mill or you can just mash them with a potato masher.  Once that is done add half and half and softened butter and mix to combine, season with salt to taste and refrigerate to cool for 3 hours or over night.

Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap, cut in half, then each piece in half, at this point you can roll each piece into a rectangle to an 1/8 inch thick.  You can use a 3-3 1/2 inch round cutter to make your rounds.  Or you can free form your rounds, you will get 24 rounds out of this dough.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of filling onto rounds, gently fold in half and with your fingers pinch the edges from the center to each end, to seal the dough together.

At this point you can freeze these up to 1 month or refrigerate overnight up to 2 days.

Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil, in the meantime slice a large onion and begin to saute in a large skillet with butter or olive oil over medium heat, watching so they do not burn and just brown.

Once water starts to boil add 2 Tbsp. salt and stir, add pierogies to the salted water, make sure not to over crowd the pot and give a stir occasionally.  When pierogies float to the top they are done, transfer cooked pierogies to skillet with onions, cook pierogies until browned and crisp on both sides.

Serve hot with additional sour cream or applesauce if you like, but most of all enjoy those delicious bundles of love!!! 🙂

Think about something sweet inside them, they do make them with fruit, you could sweeten some cream cheese as the filling and saute in just butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or drizzle with chocolate…the possibilities are endless really!!


Irish Beer Cheese Soup!!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2015!!!

So in honor of today I have my Beer Cheese Soup recipe for you today 🙂


I made this soup a couple of years ago when I did a St. Patrick’s Day Cooking Class, I also served Guinness Mac & Cheese, Guinness Black Lager Irish Stew and Guinness Stout Cake Pops 🙂

We all had a great time and everyone loved the food and of course the beer 😉

So before we get to the recipe for the soup, here is what a few of the people over here at the office look like today dressed in their St. Patty’s Day garb 🙂

First let’s start with the man that was named
after this day… Sir Patrick!!


Here is Connie with her Irish scarf


Janet and Jennifer have their green on 🙂


And Kathie and Heather have their head bobs on 🙂


Kathy in her green


There are the “Meat” guys in green too 🙂


Ann has a head bob too



Margie being silly 🙂



Here is the advertising girls pretty as ever


And I think Tina wins the prize
as she is all decked out!!!
Her tie lights up too and her head
bob thing does too just can’t tell



And this is one of ladies that Demo’s
for us in one of our stores, she Dressed
up for the day too 🙂



So what ever you do today enjoy it and have fun and make some soup!! 🙂

Irish Beer Cheese Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup onions, grated or finely minced
½ cup celery, grated or finely minced
½ cup flour
1 stick butter
1 bottle Harp Beer
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
16 oz. Sharp cheddar, shredded (Tillamook is what I used)
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar, shredded (Cabot Vintage Choice)
2 cups cream
Cooked bacon for garnish
Green onions (tops only), thinly sliced

In a stock pot over medium heat add butter, onions and celery sauté until softened.  Add flour, whisk and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking often.  Whisk in beer slowly and same with the chicken broth, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.  Then add dry mustard and Worcestershire then add cream while whisking and then cheese a good handful at time until all added keep whisking until smooth and cheese has melted.  Cook for about 10 minutes more. Taste, season with salt and pepper etc., if too thick add more broth, beer or cream, too thin add more cheese.  But nothing extra was needed; garnish each bowl with bacon and green onions.

Let me say the bacon really put this soup over the top, serve with my Harp Beer Bread recipe and you are good to go…Enjoy!!! Cheers!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Here are my Guinness Stout Cake Pops…yummmy!!!

Irish cake pops

Orzo Salad with Basil and Tomatoes


Great Summer Salad!!


Last I had a cooking class at one of our stores, using Fresh Herbs was one the points for the class.
Picture of the class, a few more came after I got started, it was a great turn out 🙂


This was one of the recipes I did, I love using this really as a base with so many options at your finger tips.

You can certainly serve as is, or add fresh grilled veggies chopped, add cubes of fresh mozzarella instead of feta, or shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, or slice pepperoni, salami, cube ham or turkey.  And what about Grilled Shrimp, thin slices of grilled flat iron steak even chunks of grilled salmon there are endless possibilities!!

Along with other fresh herbs you could add as well!!

Everyone at my class love it as is and a friend of my mine made it last week for his work’s cook out and it was hit with them as well.  Enjoy if you make it!!

Orzo Salad with Basil and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

2 cups orzo, cooked

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/3 cup basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

½ cup Feta cheese, ¼ in cubes or crumbled

Salt to taste
Gently toss all ingredients together, serve at room temp.  And of course you can add other veggies, cheeses or fresh herbs as you like 🙂