Filling up the freezer

As I noted in my comment on Sunday, we have been doing a good job of using up stuff in the freezer.  Last Thursday we enjoyed the seafood potpies that I had made a few weeks ago.  There is still some crawfish etouffe from New Year’s Eve, Saucy Sirloin that I made with leftover tenderloin at Christmas and chicken mole from our Mexican feast.  I made eggplant lasagna yesterday afternoon for tonight’s dinner and will freeze the remainder (which will be most of it since Samantha doesn’t like it.)  This is one of my favorites and a great winter meal.  And I love having stuff in the freezer in case of a big winter storm.  Nobody here is going to starve!

Eggplant lasagna

  • 3 large eggplant, skin removed from one side and then sliced about 1/4 ” thick
  • olive oil
  • 16 oz shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb sweet italian turkey or chicken sausage (removed from casing)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425.  Spread eggplant on baking sheets and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Let sit for about 30 minutes and then wipe with a paper towel.  (The salt will sweat some of the liquid out of the eggplant.)  Brush eggplant with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes until golden brown.

While eggplant is cooking, heat about 2 TB of olive oil in a heavy saucepan.  Sauce onion until translucent (about 3 – 5 minutes).  Add garlic and cook stirring for about 30 seconds.  Add red pepper flakes and sausage.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring often until sausage is cooked through.  Add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Combine ricotta with 1 oz of the Parmesan cheese, the egg and basil.

Assemble lasagna in a 9 x 13 pan.  Start with a thin layer of sauce, then eggplant, ricotta, Mozzarella, sauce.  Add another layer of eggplant, ricotta, Mozzarella sauce.  Then a layer of eggplant, ricotta, Mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil (spray with Pam first) and bake at 375 for 15 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.

Healthy dinner

We are approaching the magical time of year when I start to realize that the pool will be opening in less than 2 months and that it is time to stop hibernating and eating homemade onion rings and try to get in a few more healthy veggies and drop a couple of pounds.  This salad is a great option.  My husband even commented that he really likes this salad (in spite of the fact that it isn’t a salad with bacon or cheese!)  And it only takes a few minutes to put together.

Chicken Fajita Salad

Chicken

  • 3/4 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 TB Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Sprinkle Cajun Seasoning on both sides of chicken and brush with olive oil.  Grill outside or in or sear in a nonstick pan until done.

Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Place dressing in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  This can easily be done the night before to expedite weeknight dinner preparation.

Salad

  • Salad Greens, washed and dried
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Avocado, sliiced

Toss greens, peppers and tomato, chopping.  Add salad dressing and toss to combine.  Serve salad and top each plate with sliced grilled chicken and sliced avocado.

Chicken Fajita salad

Chicken Fajita salad