Annual neighbor party

I didn’t get a chance to update blog yesterday because it was our 3rd annual neighbor party.  Two years ago we were fortunate to get two wonderful families as neighbors so we had a new neighbor party.  Last year we were fortunate enough to get two more lovely families so we had another new neighbor party.  This year there were no new neighbors but we feel so fortunate to have such great neighbors that we thought another party was in order.

I tried to tame my hostess control freak and actually relented when some of our neighbors offered to bring something.  I chose a theme (Italian in honor of the fact that one of our neighbor families spent much of the summer studying in Italy) and Annie and Sherry contributed gorgeous antipasto.  They had olives, cheeses, wonderful spicy meat, beautiful bruschetta and cantaloupe in proscuitto.  Heather brought an amazing Italian bread that she bought at Wegman’s and Denise brought a tomato caprese salad with tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market.  I made two entrees – Crab stuffed shells and Chicken Eggplant casserole (recipes follow).  For dessert I was inspired by a summer dinner party that one of our friends hosted.  She went to Vaccaro’s and bought their cannoli chip and dip combo.  Out of this world and super easy.  Samantha also picked out cookies for the kids at Vaccaro’s.  Great evening, weather was amazing so the kids could be outside and I feel so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!  (Too busy visiting to take pictures!)

Crab stuffed shells

  • 2 pound crabmeat
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 -3  minced shallot
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells
  • tomato sauce (I combine Graul’s tomato sauce and marinara sauce and freeze it)

Mix crabmeat, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, shallot and tarragon gently together with a spatula.  Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.  Drain and spread out on wax paper.  Put a thin layer of tomato sauce in a ceramic dish.  Stuff each shell with crabmeat and place on top of sauce.  Top with more sauce and additional Parmesan cheese.  Cover baking dish in foil and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes – should be hot and bubbly.  (There was a little bit of leftover filling and I was going to cook some more pasta shells when Keith pointed out that this would be good omelet filling.  It was almost time for Sunday breakfast so I put the leftover filling in an omelet – YUM!)

Chicken and Eggplant Casserole

I got this recipe from my cousin’s wife many years ago.  It was served when my cousin’s daughter was baptized and I immediately begged for the recipe.  It is not low calorie but it is delicious.  It is one of those things where the prep time to cook all of the eggplant and chicken is significant but it is all done ahead of time so it is great for a buffet.  Once again, everybody loved it and the leftovers freeze well.  I made a double batch of this and the shell recipe above is doubled.  We had leftover of both but we were into the second casserole dish of each.

  • 1 eggplan, skinned and sliced thin
  • 1 lb chicken scallopini or cutlets
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour (you may need more)
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese grated
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 qt prepared tomato sauce (I used Graul’s fresh spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce mixed together)
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3 Italian meatballs crushed (I bought at Trinacria)

Salt sliced eggplant and stack between layers of paper towels with a weight on top (I use a heavy cookbook).  Leave for 2 – 5 hours and then pat dry.  Dip eggplant in beaten egg and then flour.  Heat olive oil and fry eggplant until golden brown (remove to drain on paper towels as you go.)  Repeat process with chicken.

Place a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Cover with eggplant.  Sprinkle with Romano cheese and then cover with slices of mozzarella.  Top with crushed meatballs, more sauce and a layer of chicken.  Add more sauce, then eggplant Romano and mozzarella.  Bake 30 minutes at 375.

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About emenuplan
I love to cook and love to eat. I work full time and have a family so managing good meals during the week requires organization. I'm hoping to share my weekly menu plans and recipes to make things a little easier for those who want to follow along.

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