How to Make Eggplant Parmesan

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Each and every day we have to settle the same two annoying questions hanging over our heads. The first, what am I going to wear? And the second, what should I have for dinner?
It’s only too easy to fall into a food rut and get tired of your old favourites. Pasta? Had that yesterday. Stir fry? So sick of it. Chicken? Wouldn’t mind if I didn’t see chicken again for a while.
Luckily, there’s a delicious dinner idea loved by all, but it’s one that tends to be overlooked. And, because it just so happens to be in season, we’re sharing our favourite, ridiculously easy recipe for Eggplant Parmesan.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 eggplant, peeled, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 cups marinara sauce
Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated
Dried Basil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Dip eggplant slices in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. Place slices on a baking sheet and place on the middle oven rack for five minutes. Flip the slices over, and bake for another five minutes.
  2. Remove the eggplant slices from the baking sheet, and cover with parchment paper. Scoop dollops of sauce onto the pan, one scoop for every slice of eggplant. Place an eggplant slice on each dollop, cover with sauce, then lay slices of mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, then, top with basil.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

 

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How to Make Coca-Cola Carrots

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When it comes to making dinner, we’re often guilty of taking the easy way out. Whether it’s to save time or a few extra loonies, we opt for simpler dishes and forget how enjoyable it can be to discover a new recipe.
It’s time to say move over, broiled veggies, we have a new easy and ridiculously delicious recipe that’ll take any meal up a few notches: Coca-Cola Carrots.
Cooked in everyone’s favourite soda and seasoned with a touch of brown sugar, this new way to eat carrots is just too good not to try.
The best part? This recipe only requires four ingredients, and will take less than 15 minutes to prepare. So go on, crack that can of Coke and let’s get cookin’!

What You Need:
4 large
2 teaspoons butter
1/3 cup Coca-Cola
2 teaspoons brown sugar

What To Do:

1. Pre-heat oven to broil on high, and cut the carrots into matchsticks (about 4 cups).

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2. Heat 1 teaspoon butter in a large skillet over high heat, add the carrots and stir. Pour in the 1/3 cup of Coca-Cola, stir and cook until the carrots soften and the soda evaporates, about 7-9 minutes.

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3. Smear 1 teaspoon butter all over the bottom of a small baking pan, then transfer the carrots over to it. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar over the carrots, and broil until carrots begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

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4. Put carrots on serving dish, sprinkle with brown sugar and serve.

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headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.

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Lemon Rosemary Risotto with Fiddleheads and Spot Prawns

Okay, so I realize this may be kind of a lame move, using two ingredients that have very short seasons (fiddleheads and spot prawns), but I spent a good part of last week in Vancouver and just had to pop by the Granville Island Market! How was I supposed to resist fresh spot prawns (caught that morning!) and fiddleheads? Feel free to substitute with a different seafood (scallops would be great) and maybe some fresh green beans if you can’t locate these seasonal guys.

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Lemon Rosemary Risotto with Honey Roasted Fiddleheads and Spot Prawns

Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the Risotto
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups cream
2 shallots (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/4 cup chardonnay
2 cups arborio rice
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
1/4 cup fresh rosemary (loosely chopped)
6 spot prawns
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For the Honey Roasted Vegetables
1 1/2 cups fiddleheads (soaked, blanched and cooled)
1 cup zucchini (halved, 1/2 sliced)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Start by heating up the broth and cream in a medium-sized pot. Just before it starts to simmer, reduce to low heat and keep warm on stove. In a large pan, cook the shallots and garlic in a bit of olive oil on medium-high heat until soft, about five minutes. Pour in the white wine and let it reduce by three quarters. Next, stir in the dry arborio rice and let the mixture cook for another few minutes. Start ladling the hot broth into the pan, one cup at a time. Stir regularly and, once the liquid is almost completely absorbed by the rice, add some more. Continue until you’ve used all of the broth and the risotto is al dente, about 25-30 minutes. Finally, mix in the lemon juice, zest and rosemary. Season with some pepper (salt if needed) and keep warm on stove.

2. For the spot prawns, simply boil some salted water in a large pot and toss them in, shell and all, letting them cook for one minute. They’re just like big shrimp, really, but much tastier! Once they’re cooked, their bright colours make them good for garnishing. You can twist them in half, peel the shell off the tail and (this will sound gross) suck out the innards of the head. Surprisingly sweet and delicious. Try it sometime!

3. If you like multi-tasking like I do, you can roast the vegetables while the risotto is cooking. Place the first five roast vegetable ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add some salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil then toss with hands or tongs to combine. Pour onto a prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Finally, gently stir the vegetables into the risotto and dish out to your dinner guests! Top with a plump spot prawn tail and a head for shooting back! Done and done! Man, typing up this recipe is making me think I need another trip out to the west coast ASAP!