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Eggplant Pasta Al Forno - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Baked pastas are so great because the flavors really get into the pasta and everything comes together. And it’s even better reheated the next day. This is a great vegetarian dinner too, because the eggplant is meaty and combined with a salad, it’s a perfect meal.

Eggplant Pasta Al Forno

1 pound of short pasta, such as penne, fusilli, etc

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into 3/4″ rounds

2 cups basic tomato sauce, homemade or your favorite simple bottled brand

1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 cup grated mozzarella

1 cup grated fontina

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Saute the eggplant slices in a couple tablespoons of olive oil a few minutes on each side, until they start to brown. You may need to add more olive oil for each batch, but be careful not to add too much because eggplant acts like a sponge and will soak the oil up and release it as it bakes, making the final dish greasy.

Meanwhile, heat your tomato sauce if you have not just made it. Cook the pasta in salted water for half the cooking time on the package. It will still be chewy, but it will continue to cook in the oven. Combine the cheeses together in a small bowl.

Spoon a light layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, so that it won’t stick. Toss the rest of the sauce with the pasta. Cover the bottom with a layer of eggplant and then a layer of pasta. Sprinkle some thyme and some of the cheeses over the top. continue with these layers until you reach the top of the dish. The last layer should be eggplant with the remaining cheese sprinkled over the top along with the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and bubble. Let cool a little before serving.

Eggplant Pasta Al Forno - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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I’m a huge fan of crab in any form, but crab cakes are always classic. I came across this method for making mini ones and I wanted to try it out. I have to say, it’s cute for a party and a much easier way to do bite-size crab cakes but I think next time I’ll be making them the usual way– in a pan. The texture on the top and bottom comes out a little differently, and part of what I like most about crab cakes is the crunchy outer layer. Either way though, these were still pretty delicious. Stay tuned for some more crab recipes, we still have some in the fridge!

Baked Mini Crab Cakes

1/2 pound picked crab meat

1 cup panko

1 cup parmesan

2 tablespoons mayo or yogurt

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon thyme

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until it gets translucent and softened. Add the thyme and remove from the heat. Allow to cool and remove to a bowl.

Add the egg, crab, Worchestershire, Sriracha, parsley, paprika, mayo, heavy cream, and half the parmesan and panko. Stir together lightly and don’t over mix. In a small bowl, combine the remaining parmesan and panko and drizzle it with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Spray a mini muffin tin with oil and spoon a little of the panko mixture into each cup. Spoon in some of the crab mixture and top with a little more of the panko. Press down a bit with your hand. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they start to brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then gently remove with a fork.

I like to serve with some mango relish. I chop up some mango and mix with my own homemade salsa (shallot, chipotle in adobo, roasted garlic, olive oil, lime juice blended up).

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Sweet potatoes are one of the most healthy things to eat, and luckily, they are really yummy. I love them roasted or pan fried so they become crispy, and I rarely do anything else with them. Occasionally, I’ll make a sweet potato gratin. But then I remembered that you can bake them like a regular baked potato. So I tried roasting a couple, the first I ate just like a baked potato, slit open with a little butter and salt. The second, I mashed and fancied it up a bit. I had some leftover crispy prosciutto from my pizza the other day, so I sprinkled that on top with some chopped scallions and threw in some maple syrup for good measure. It turned out to be just delicious. Healthy comfort food? Is there such a thing?

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Prosciutto

1 very large sweet potato or two regular sized

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 scallion, white and green parts sliced

1-2 slices of prosciutto, baked on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for 15 minutes until crisp

Bake the sweet potato at 400 degrees on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, or until soft. A knife should come out easily. Let cool a little and mash in a bowl with the butter and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with scallion and crumbled prosciutto sprinkled over the top.

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