Roasted Asparagus

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Roasted asparagus makes the perfect side dish to any meal, whether it’s steak, chicken or pasta. It is incredibly easy to put together and only takes 12 minutes to cook in the oven. I’m not a huge vegetable fan and even I will eat these savory stalks right up. This is one of my go-to side dishes and I wanted to share it with you. Make the first bite count!

Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus stalks
Olive oil
Italian-style bread crumbs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Rinse the asparagus under water. Break off the tough, white ends of each stalk. This is easily done by taking each end of the stalk in each hand and slowly bending the ends in to each other. The end should snap off right where it needs to.

3. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle bread crumbs on top until mostly covered. I usually just shake the bread crumbs right from the container, but I probably use about a 1/2 cup. Bake for 12 minutes until bright green and tender.

Dinner Menu for Week of 7/28/2013

While attempting to organize all the recipes I have into one place, I am hoping this blog is helping all those out there who are stuck on what to make for dinner. I hope this blog not only gives inspiration on what to make tonight, but also helps motivate you to plan your meals for the week. You will not only find dinners become stress-free when everyone in the family knows what to expect but it can save you money as well by only having to make one shopping trip a week.

If there is something on this week’s menu you just are not in the mood for, feel free to look through past menus for more ideas. Menu planning is my passion, so I hope to pass the same enthusiasm on to you, the incredible readers 🙂

This week, there are 4 meals presented. This is because during the summer, my husband and I take advantage of all the beach towns near us that have fantastic restaurants only open during one season. This week we took a trip to Long Beach Island, a place I’ve known and loved since I can remember. We had terrific seafood at a place called Beach Haven Fishery. We ordered clam strips, fried shrimp and blush shrimp (essentially shrimp scampi with roasted tomatoes) and it was all delicious. The remaining meals for the week were inspired by my fabulously fried eggplant and me wanting to experiment with homemade pasta. It was a great experience, and the taste was divine, I encourage you to try it. Hope you find something delicious to make for dinner. Make the first bite count!

MENU
MondayEggplant Parmesan and salad
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TuesdayCheesy, Spicy Ground Venison Pasta
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Wednesday – Seafood Dinner Out 🙂

ThursdayHomemade Cheese Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce
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FridayGrilled London Broil with Rosemary Mushroom Sauce and Twice Baked Potatoes with Broccoli
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Dinner Menu for Week of 7/21/2013

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As you can see by the menu for the upcoming week, my husband and I are still trying to make the most of the grilling season. As said in the previous dinner menu post, grilling is easy to prep, easy clean up and always delicious. Besides the weather, when I come up with my menus I try take into account the produce in season and of course, my cravings. I tend to eat based on cravings. It could be a craving based on food seen on a TV show (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is my favorite) or maybe a meal I just haven’t had in a while. Some ideas come from my husband and what he is in the mood for, but mostly it’s my cravings :). And my craving this week was chili. I made a turkey chili that I used on hotdogs for one meal and nachos for another. My hope is that these posts are helping you find ideas to plan your own dinner menu for the week, and take notice to the cravings you are having, it can help you plan! Make the first bite count!

MENU
MondayGrilled Hotdogs with Turkey Chili and salad
Tuesday – Boneless NY Strip Steak with Grilled Corn on the Cob and Stuffed Mushrooms
WednesdaySpicy Garlic and Lime Grilled Shrimp with Grilled Corn Salsa
Thursday Pasta with Chicken, Tomatoes, and Spinach
FridayNachos and Beer (Homemade Happy Hour :))

Fried Eggplant

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Who doesn’t love anything fried? I know I do, and one of my favorite fried foods is fried eggplant. On this dreary, rainy day I decided to take the afternoon and fry up some fresh eggplant. I grew up watching my beloved grandmother spend an entire day frying up eggplant fresh from the garden. She took the time to cut each piece nice and thin, then bread it, fry it and freeze it for her amazing eggplant parmesan. In honor of my grandmother, I try to keep the Italian tradition of frying fresh eggplant alive and strong. It can be quite a process, but oh so worth it. This post describes how I fry up the fresh vegetable. Stay tuned, the recipe for eggplant parm will soon follow!

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Total Time: about 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1 large fresh eggplant
6 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
3-4 cups Italian bread crumbs
Cooking Oil

Directions:
1. Peel the eggplant to remove the skin. Use a slicer (one similar to the picture above) on the smallest setting to slice the eggplant. I like it cut very thin, so I use the .75 mm setting that my slicer comes with. This way you get the most out of your eggplant. Watch your fingers, I have cut mine before. You can also use a knife, but by using a slicer it saves a lot of time and keeps all the slices consistent.
2. Prep the breading station. In one bowl whisk together the eggs and water. In another bowl, place the bread crumbs. In a frying pan, put enough cooking oil (I use vegetable oil) to fill the pan about an inch up. You want the eggplant slices to basically float on top when frying. Also, I use an electric skillet because it is large and fits more slices. The larger the pan, the more slices you can fit and the fewer rounds you need to complete to fry up all the eggplant.
3. Heat the oil on medium high heat; I set my frying pan to about 350. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, start breading the eggplant. Take a slice, dip it in the egg, then in the bread crumbs and then into the pan. Cook the slices for about 3-4 minutes on the first side. Then flip using a fork and cook the second side for about 2-3 minutes.
4. When nice and brown, remove the slices to a paper towel-lined plate. When you run out of room, place a paper towel on top of the slices and keep stacking in this manner. The paper towels will help absorb some of the extra oil.
5. The eggplant can be eaten immediately, or frozen for future use (say in eggplant parm :)). I simply stack the slices in a large Ziploc bag.

Dinner Menu for Week of 7/14/2013

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It is hot, hot, hot where we live right now. Most of the recipes for this week are for the grill, where my amazing husband gladly takes over. 🙂 Any meal that can be done on the grill is usually easy to prepare as well as easy to clean up. And the summertime is a great time to take advantage of the grill and all the great flavor you get from cooking your food on it.

Another way to plan your meals is to reuse ingredients throughout the week. You will see in this menu the Spinach Pesto is used not only to garnish the grilled chicken but used on top of the turkey burgers as well. Any way to reuse ingredients will save you money and prevent you from having to throw away food (a.k.a. money). And no one wants to throw away money. Make the first bite count!

MENU
Monday – Grilled Chicken with Spinach Pesto and Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Butter
Tuesday – Grilled Italian Sausage and Broccoli Parmesan Garlic Orzo
Wednesday – Turkey Burgers with Spinach Pesto and Salad
Thursday – Venison Tacos with Pico de Gallo
Friday – BBQ and Honey Mustard Chicken Pizza and Salad

What’s it all about?

What is this blog all about?  Well, I love food and I love planning, hence the creation of this wonderfully helpful blog.  It will show dinner menus week by week of various recipes I have formed myself as well as recipes from family and also the internet.  Some recipes you may see on more than one week, but who doesn’t have a favorite that they always go back to, right? 

This blog is designed to help with that dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?”  If you can get ideas for dinner from this blog, create a grocery list based on the ingredients, and shop once a week for food, you will save money, reduce stress, and hopefully have more fun cooking!  Hope you find this helpful!