Posted in My Recipes

Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant

Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant

1lb cooked ziti
My Marinara Sauce  (click link for recipe)
1 eggplant, washed, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cup grated Romano Cheese
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into rough pieces
16 oz skim Ricotta
1 handful fresh parsley, washed and chopped (2 tablespoons dried)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

There are many parts to this dish, so keeping track of when things are done is key. First start by making the sauce. Once the sauce is a third way cooked, start cooking the pasta and work on the eggplant.

For the Eggplant. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the eggplant then cut lengthwise. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper that is drizzled with 1 tablespoon of oil ( via two sheets= 2 tbsp ). Let roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until fully cooked and browned around the edges.
Set aside one slice of eggplant cut into strips for the top of the pasta. Cut the rest of the eggplant into small pieces then fold into the sauce.
Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the ricotta, 3/4 cup of Romano cheese, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Incorporate fully.
Set aside.
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Set oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking pan, 13×9, ladle a spoonful of sauce on the bottom and tilt till covered. Add in half the pasta, and ladle sauce over top, slightly mixing in the pan. Then top with remaining pasta.

A tablespoon at a time, dollop the ricotta mixture and place onto the pasta, gently spreading and weighing it into the pasta with a spoon till it almost is to the bottom of the pan. Continue till a few tablespoons are used.
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On top of the ricotta, sprinkle about a quarter cup of Romano on top, then cover with more sauce.

When the top is covered with sauce, dollop more ricotta in spots spreading it through,  Then place the mozzarella on top as well, then cover with remaining Romano. Add the eggplant strips.
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Place in top rack of oven then let bake for 35 minutes until the top is crunchy and the sauce is boiling around the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven before serving.

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Posted in Random Stuff

April School Vacation 2014

Hey Everyone!

Hope you guys are having a great Monday…if this is possible. Ugh!! I am having such a typical Monday, it’s the worst. Came into work with a massive plate of things to get through and realize it will take me all week to get through it. :\ BUT oh well, we all know Monday’s suck after time off and the end of the month is literally the pits for me, BUT, ANYWAY, no more complaining.

So. School vacation is officially OVVAAHHH and the kiddos are back at school! It was a great week, but as like most of my time off, it flew! We tried our best to give the girls a fun break from school making some family time we would all enjoy and remember. So, hopefully they had a blast like we did.

Here are a few shots from last week.

On our way home from the Cape we stopped by the Museum of Science!

This little break to post some photos of our week really helped me focus back on the fun seeing those girls smiling. Now if I could make this last over the upcoming week!

We are a week till our daughter’s Communion Day!!

I am so excited. For two reasons really..one, I remember my 1st Communion Day so vividly, and how important a day it was. All my family and friends together for me.. It was a big deal.  And two..I enjoy seeing my children grow up. Yes, it’s sad, too, believe me I tear up all the time thinking about them evolving out of my reach.. but I find an immense sense of pride inside myself seeing these two girls growing up and turning into such loving and sweet people. They really are so wonderful, and to see them excited over their journeys makes me very happy. 🙂

Which then brings me to tears, too. AW MAN! 

Have an awesome day guys!  I don’t think I will be posting much this week, but definitely will after Sunday!!

xoxoxo

Posted in Random Stuff

Easter 2014

Hey Everyone!
Happy Easter Sunday! What a great weekend, weather wise, that it finally felt like Spring around here. Especially after that awful bought of snow and thirty degree temps last week. Wth was that all about, huh? No More Snow!!!!!

Easter went off without a hitch. My family got together for a wonderful Easter dinner at Il Casale in Belmont Center. First time for all of us. They had chef fixed menus, which was a lot of fun to order from.  A bunch of plates the chef chooses to serve, all family style–like Italian tapas heh.  Dinner was good and plenty. Drinks were even better (their sidecar was too good), and the atmosphere was very modern. It is in an old brick firehouse in the center of town.

We let loose with laughter, eating and drinking …enjoying our time.  A well deserved afternoon, just us together; no dinners to prep or cook and no dishes to wash. All of our schedules have been just nutty, so it was a great break.

Ok so..Here is my weekend summed up in snapshots! My sister took most of the family shots with her camera of today, so if I get those I will update this, but I tried my best amidst the eating and sidecar fog to take my share! 🙂

Hope you guys had a great weekend, too!!
Xoxo

 

 

Posted in My Recipes

White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic

White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic
2 heads of garlic, roasted (*roasting directions below)
2 (15oz) cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (reserving one can’s liquids)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
a handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

*Roasting Garlic:
1 whole garlic,  with top portion of the crown cut off
.5 tablespoon olive oil
dash of salt

Heat oven to 425 F.
Snip the top of garlic, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Cover with foil and bake 1 hour or until golden brown (soft when pierced with a knife).
To use, remove from the cloves.

Place the beans, roasted garlic, paprika and parsley into a food processor.

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Pulse twice to mix the ingredients quickly then turn machine to ON.  Start adding in reserved liquid slowly followed by the olive oil and the lemon juice.  Mix until the mixture is smooth.

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Then add in salt and pepper to taste.

Done!

I like to serve with a bit of minced parsley on top and a side of warmed pita chips for dipping.

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Posted in Party Time!

Fifth Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Happy Palm Sunday all!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and a wonderful Palm Sunday!

We did with our niece and nephews big communion yesterday and today’s Easter egg hunt.  I am about to get my Mr. Selfridge on so I am going to keep this quick to the photo captions!  Today was great, even though the weather didn’t cooperate until the evening, everyone had a lot of fun, and made some beautiful memories.  🙂

First a few shots from the communion of my family then a gallery from the hunt today!

xoxox

Today!

Posted in Party Time!

Easter Egg Hunts Past

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying this gorgeous sunshine and Spring weather! 

I am up to my eyeballs in busy-ness preparing for this and the following weekends.  Even so, I wanted to take some time out to talk about our annual Easter Egg Hunt.  The party is this Sunday, and it will be our fifth anniversary hosting!  I almost had to pass up on putting it together, because our lives have been just so busy with all the festivities surrounding us, but when I approached the girls about it not happening they insisted we find the time. hah

So… Palm Sunday it is!  Thankfully, everyone will be able to make it even with it being planned so last minute! YAY!

FIVE YEARS!  Can you believe it!?

We started this Easter tradition back in 2009, when my sister, Piera, visited from Italy for my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary bash.  Since she was here a short time with her husband and our new niece, whom none of us outside of my parents had met yet!, I figured it was a great opportunity to kick off Spring making memories with her here!  It was a wonderful time and so many sweet memories were made!

So..as you may see what I am alluding to.. on this coming 5th Anniversary, I am sharing some of the highlights of that very first year’s events.  For most of our kids it was their very first egg hunt.  With them all so little, we had the hunt indoors, and it was the first time we had our furry hopping visitor at our house! 

To view the photo captions, use your mouse to hover over the photo. 

 

Our children don’t remember any of this, but I will never forget it all. My whole family was together celebrating. We had all the grandchildren (those from that time!) together for the first time, too. My niece Marcella and nephew Luca were just babies, under a year, our nephew George seemed like a big boy at that time, but looking back he was so little. Gah, the time, guys, it’s flying. My girls were so beautiful that little in those dresses. If I could only go back for a minute. 😦

Ok ok, enough of me getting sappy.

Here are some more highlights of years past!

This fifth year I am so excited to have all my family and dearest friends together celebrating another Easter. I cannot wait for all the new memories this Sunday!

xoxoxox!