Tag Archives: dinner

Easy Eggplant Lasagna

Every now and again I make a recipe on the fly and it turns out so good that I find myself repeating it over and over again until I’m sick of it.  Right now I’m currently having a love affair with this easy eggplant lasagna and I can’t get enough.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna CloseI was torn between calling this recipe easy eggplant lasagna and easy eggplant Parmesan.  But since I added ground pork to this dish, easy eggplant lasagna won out.

It’s pretty ridiculous how easy this dish is.  Cook your meat, assemble your lasagna, place in oven, bake for 45 minutes and done.  Super easy peasy (and when your wedding is less than a week away, you NEED easy).

I’ve made this with wild boar and pork and both yield excellent results.  Of course you can use ground beef, turkey, bison – whatever your heart desires.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna DishThe Englishman and I have been adding this dish to our weekly dinner rotation and I don’t see us getting sick of it anytime soon.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna (makes 3-4 servings)


1 large eggplant

1 package ground pork (or other meat of your choice)

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

2 tbsp chopped shallots

1 can marinara sauce

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Trader Joe’s quattro formaggio)

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 375F.  In a large skillet saute your mushrooms and shallots until the shallots are caramelized.

Add your ground pork and cook all the way through.  Set aside.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna PorkWash your eggplant and cut into thin slices.

Spoon some of your sauce into a large baking dish and layer with eggplant slices.

Top your eggplant with the ground pork, ricotta and marinara sauce.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna LayersAdd another layer of eggplant on top of the mixture.

Spread your shredded cheese on top of the eggplant and add extra tomato sauce if you like.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna CheesePlace in the oven and bake at 375F for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Easy Eggplant Lasagna DoneRemove from the oven and enjoy!

What’s your favorite easy recipe?

Homemade Antipasto Salad

Ever since I had that fantastic antipasto salad at Trattoria Grappolo, I’ve been dying to recreate it at home.  Finally the stars aligned and I was able to make a homemade antipasto salad that was almost as good as Grappolo’s version.

Homemade Antipasto Salad SpreadIn my opinion homemade antipasto salad needs to have three key ingredients: good selection of meats, quality cheese, and a wide array of vegetables.  Thankfully Orange County has a wide variety of cheese shops so the Englishman and I were able to procure some creamy goat cheese, a delightful camembert, some English cheddar and provolone.  For this homemade antipasto we decided to skip the traditional mozzarella, but next time I think I may add it in.

homemade antipasto salad cheeseOn the meat front we gathered salami, ham, prosciutto and turkey.  I have yet to find a deli I love in OC so we got our meat from Sprouts, but if any locals have suggestions please share in the comments!

Homemade Antipasto Salad VegetablesLast but not least was the veggies.  I roasted some eggplant, broccoli, red peppers and zucchini and then had some olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes on the side.

Homemade Antipasto Salad SpreadAdd some rose, some homemade bread and olive oil and you have yourself a nice homemade antipasto salad!  I loved how easy it was to throw this together – this is definitely a great meal when you are short on time and want a way to sneak some extra vegetables in.

What’s your favorite antipasto salad ingredient?

Dinner at Mother’s Bistro and Bar

The Englishman and I recently spent a week up in the pacific northwest where we managed to eat and drink our way through Portland and the Willamette Valley.  I could go on and on about the eccentricities about Portland (and how Portlandia isn’t too far off), but what I really want to share is all of the delicious food we ate, starting with our first dinner at Mother’s Bistro and Bar.

The culinary scene is hot in Portland right now and I can see why.  The food truck scene has exploded, and you can pretty much find any type of ethnic cuisine you want in the city.  And many of these places are also quite affordable, with Mother’s Bistro and Bar being one of them.  Plus, you can’t go wrong with the unique decor.

mothers bistro and bar decorMother’s Bistro and Bar is known for taking traditional dishes like your mom used to make and putting their own twist on them.  They even have a Mother of the Month where you can nominate one of your mom’s homemade dishes to be featured on the menu.  I also love the motto of the restaurant: Be Nice or Leave.

mother's bistro and bar signWe were both in the mood for some comfort food with a classic twist, so we were really excited for our dinner at Mother’s Bistro and Bar.  As soon as we were seated we were presented with a basket of biscuits and whipped butter.

Mother's Bistro and Bar BiscuitsThese biscuits definitely set the tone for the rest of the evening because they were amazing.  I loved the light and fluffy texture and probably would’ve asked for a second basket if we didn’t have a lot of other dishes coming.

It’s tradition for the Englishman to order fries when we dine out, so he got the french fries with spicy aioli.

Mother's Bistro and Bar friesI actually didn’t have any of the fries since they were cooked in soybean oil, but the verdict was that they were delicious.

One of the specials of the evening was the macaroni and cheese with prosciutto, so of course we had to order that.

Mother's Bistro and Bar mac n cheeseThe macaroni and cheese came with a light cream sauce which gave the dish a nice and creamy texture.  I loved the saltiness from the prosciutto mixed with the creamy macaroni.  Definitely a nice take on a traditional dish I loved as a kid.

I have a soft spot for a good roast chicken, so I ordered the roast chicken with green beans and smashed potatoes.

Mother's Bistro and Bar ChickenThis chicken did not disappoint!  I’ve had some really good roast chickens in my time, but this one may be my new favorite.  The meat was juicy and tender, the skin had a perfect crisp and the smashed potatoes and green beans were the perfect complement.  I had initially told the Englishman I would share this dish with him, but I ended up stealing most of the chicken for myself.

We ended up being too full for dessert, even though the chocolate cake in the dessert case was calling my name.  I swore I even heard the cake say “Allie” when we walked out the door.

Mother's Bistro and Bar Chocolate CakeOur dinner at Mother’s Bistro and Bar was definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a while.  Everything was just so good and the service was top-notch.  Next time I am in Portland I will definitely be returning here, and will hopefully be able to try their breakfast some time as well.