According to Danny Trejo, Fried Chicken Belongs in Your Quesadilla

You might know him from movies like Machete and Bad Ass, but these days, you’re just as likely to find Danny Trejo in the kitchen of one of his LA restaurants as on a movie set. In fact, it was at one of these restaurants—Trejo’s Tacos in Santa Monica, California, to be precise—that the actor, cookbook author, and restaurateur walked listeners through his method for making Pollo Frito Quesadillas on the latest episode of Food52’s podcast, Play Me a Recipe. Described by Trejo as “mouthwatering,” these quesadillas aren’t your average after-school snack—they come stuffed with super-crispy fried chicken, slaw made from green cabbage and chipotle crema, fresh chiles, and cheese.

Here’s what we learned cooking with Danny Trejo:

Read More >>

You might know him from movies like Machete and Bad Ass, but these days, you’re just as likely to find Danny Trejo in the kitchen of one of his LA restaurants as on a movie set. In fact, it was at one of these restaurants—Trejo’s Tacos in Santa Monica, California, to be precise—that the actor, cookbook author, and restaurateur walked listeners through his method for making Pollo Frito Quesadillas on the latest episode of Food52’s podcast, Play Me a Recipe. Described by Trejo as “mouthwatering,” these quesadillas aren’t your average after-school snack—they come stuffed with super-crispy fried chicken, slaw made from green cabbage and chipotle crema, fresh chiles, and cheese.

Here's what we learned cooking with Danny Trejo:

Read More >>

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.

Eggplant Parmesan

It’s got bubbly cheese, garlicky tomato sauce, and savory, meaty breaded eggplant: it’s Eggplant Parmesan! This vegetarian Italian classic is hearty, filling, and pleases just about everyone. Most restaurants use fried eggplant, but for a homemade version it’s much simpler to bake. Here’s our best baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe: faster and easier to make at home than most recipes and full of incredible flavor. Even our vegetable-averse 5 year old promptly asked for seconds! We hope it will become a go-to in your family like it is in ours.

Ingredients in this Eggplant Parmesan recipe

Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian dish made with layers of breaded eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce, then baked until bubbly. Called parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, it comes from the Southern regions of Calabria and Sicily but is now served all over the world. The eggplant is fried in restaurant-style versions, but it’s easiest to make baked eggplant when making it in your home kitchen. Here’s what you’ll need for homemade eggplant Parmesan:

  • Eggplant
  • Flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • Eggs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Plain panko (or breadcrumbs; use gluten-free panko for gluten-free)
  • Dried oregano
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A few ingredient notes

As with any Italian dish, the success of this Eggplant Parmesan recipe depends on the quality of ingredients! Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping:

  • Look for medium eggplants. Size matters here: massive eggplant rounds don’t look quite as nice in the dish. But sometimes the grocery only has large eggplants, so use what you can find! The key is using 2 pounds: it should equal about 18 to 20 rounds.
  • Use fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.
  • Whole milk mozzarella cheese makes a difference. It melts much better than part skim and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan

How to make Eggplant Parmesan: some tips

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is faster and easier than most recipes, but it still takes about 1 hour to make and bake. Keep this in mind in your meal prepping (and review the notes below on make ahead tips). Here are a few notes about the process:

  • Place salt on the eggplant for just 10 minutes. This seasons them prior to baking. Many recipes require you to salt the eggplant for 1 hour, but this is not necessary. (In the past, people would do this to remove a bitter flavor, but today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter. It also allows the eggplant to release moisture, but that’s not required with this baked method.)
  • Dredge the eggplant in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. This is the traditional combination in Italian cooking that you’d do prior to frying the eggplant. But it works just as well with baking!
  • Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping once. The hot oven makes them crispy and golden brown: like frying but with no extra oil!
  • Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Mix crushed tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil.
  • Layer the eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Leftover storage and make ahead tips

This Eggplant Parmesan recipe takes about 1 hour to make, which is not always possible for a weeknight dinner. We usually make this one for entertaining or on weekends, but you can also meal prep some of the components. This recipe also freezes well, which makes it great for a quick leftover dinner. Here are a few ideas for make ahead and storage:

  • Bake the eggplant slices in advance. This saves about 40 minutes off the timing of the recipe. Refrigerate the slices, then layer the dish and bake the day of making.
  • Leftovers store refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can make the entire dish in advance and refrigerate, but it’s so good freshly baked that we recommend the above option for make-ahead. Leftovers store well.
  • Freeze leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Place on the counter or in the refrigerator to thaw, or you can place it right into a 375 degree oven and reheat until warmed through and the cheese is melted. (If it’s room temperature, you can reheat at a higher temperature, like 425.)

What to serve with Eggplant Parmesan

Traditionally, Eggplant Parmesan is served with pasta. But you can also serve with salads, sauteed veggies and more. It makes a hearty, crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner that’s great for parties and impressing a crowd. Here are a few ideas:

Eggplant Parmesan

More eggplant recipes

Love working with this tasty vegetable? Here are a few more eggplant recipes you’ll love:

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use almond flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs or go to Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan.

Print
Eggplant Parmesan

Easy Eggplant Parmesan


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 to 8

Description

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium large)
  • ¾ cup flour*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko (or purchased or homemade breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 28 ounces fire roasted crushed tomatoes*
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese***

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (to make approximately 18 slices). Sprinkle them with ¾ teaspoon salt and allow them to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the breading ingredients. 
  3. Place the flour on a plate. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and set it aside. In another shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons oregano, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and set it aside. 
  4. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice into the flour, then the eggs, then the Parmesan cheese mixture. Place each slice onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: This gets messy; you may need to wash or wipe your fingers off after every few slices.)
  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until tender and golden brown. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix the fire roasted tomatoes, grated garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, chopped fresh basil, and olive oil. Mix well until all the olive oil is incorporated. 
  7. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Add half the baked eggplant in a layer (about 9 slices), then top with 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Add the second layer of eggplant (we like to add them right on top of the first layer to make 9 stacks). Top with another 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each stack. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then top with additional chopped basil and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days (or frozen for 3 months); reheat in the oven until warm.

Notes

*You’ll have about ⅓ cup flour left over and about 1 egg, but it’s easier for the breading. There also may be some panko left over. These items are not included in the nutritional info.

**Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.

***Whole milk mozzarella cheese melts much better than part skim mozzarella, and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating leftovers. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Eggplant Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan recipe, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Tomato Peach Burrata Salad

Are your garden tomatoes ripe yet? If so, we’ve got the perfect way for you to use them up! You have to make this Tomato Peach Burrata Salad. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes and juicy ripe peaches! This salad screams summer!…

Are your garden tomatoes ripe yet? If so, we’ve got the perfect way for you to use them up! You have to make this Tomato Peach Burrata Salad. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes and juicy ripe peaches! This salad screams summer! Arrange the beautiful tomatoes and peaches on a…

Best Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Are you ready for the BEST Grilled Chicken Sandwich of your life? This isn’t your ordinary grilled chicken sandwich. It is loaded with flavor and tastes very gourmet, but don’t worry, it’s super easy to make. Every time we make this s…

Are you ready for the BEST Grilled Chicken Sandwich of your life? This isn’t your ordinary grilled chicken sandwich. It is loaded with flavor and tastes very gourmet, but don’t worry, it’s super easy to make. Every time we make this sandwich for family and friends they are amazed by all of the incredible flavors…

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

The secret to the crunchiest, gooiest, air-fryer grilled cheese is to first use a seasoned butter and parmesan cheese spread on the outside of your bread.

The post Air Fryer Grilled Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve never made an Air Fryer Grilled Cheese, get ready for the crispiest and gooiest results ever! My secret is to mix softened butter with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese and then spread it on the outside of the sandwich. This one step creates an unforgettable thunderous crunch that gives way to the dreamiest pillow of molten cheese.

Air fryer grilled cheese being pulled apart on a white plate.

Tips for making grilled cheese in an air fryer:

  • Use sliced cheese instead of shredded. The air circulation in an air fryer is very strong, and shredded cheese won’t stay on your bread as well as heavy slices.
  • Butter the outside of your bread slices from crust to crust. Full coverage is the only way!
  • Don’t press down on the sandwich when flipping it, which will destroy the airiness of your bread.
  • Try not to rush the process. Make sure to get five minutes on each side for the most unctuously melted cheese and crispy bread combo.

What type of cheese is best for grilled cheese?

Classically, you make grilled cheese with a few slices of American. But feel free to choose your own adventure. Any good melting cheese will work just fine. For the best results, use room temperature cheese, which melts faster and doesn’t separate into greasy clumps. My top 5 in no particular order:

  • Mild or Sharp Cheddar
  • Swiss
  • Provolone
  • Brie
  • Muenster

Please note that extra-sharp cheddar did not make the cut. Though it’s a delight, extra-sharp cheddar has a low water content because it’s aged, and the older cheese gets, the dryer it becomes.

Is there a type of bread that’s best for a grilled cheese?

Undoubtedly (because cheese can be heavy) you need sturdy slices of bread with a tight crumb. Just make sure they aren’t more than a half-inch thick because the cheese will take forever to melt. Bread with an open crumb (a lacy pattern of irregularly sized holes) can be challenging to work with because the cheese escapes through the craters. Especially great choices include:

  • Brioche
  • Rye
  • Ciabatta
  • Country Bread
  • Sourdough

Can you reheat a grilled cheese in an air fryer?

An air fryer is the PERFECT tool for reheating grilled cheese. It generates warm air that circulates all around your sandwich, crisping up even the doughiest bread and re-melting your cheese with ease. Cook for two minutes per side, and insert a butter knife into the cheese. If the knife blade is hot to the touch when you remove it, you are good to go!

What to serve with grilled cheese?

While Tomato Soup is a classic side, it isn’t the only thing that tastes great with an air fryer grilled cheese. If you’re looking for some fantastic dishes to pair with your sandwich, try an Herby Potato Salad, Simple Sauteed Vegetables, Summer Sweet Corn Salad, or Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens.

Air fryer grilled cheese being pulled apart by two hands.
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese on plate, split down middle.

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

The secret to the crunchiest, gooiest, air-fryer grilled cheese EVER is first mixing softened butter with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese and then spreading it on the outside of your bread. You can't get results like these from a pan!
Course Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $2.23 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 639kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes
Cost $2.23

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp butter, room temperature $0.11
  • 2 tsp grated Parmesan $0.18
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning $0.03
  • 2 slices sourdough bread* $0.67
  • 4 slices cheese $1.25

Instructions

  • First, combine the room temperature butter, grated Parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a bowl. Then, spread the butter mixture over one side of each piece of bread, from edge to edge.
  • Place the sliced cheese between the two pieces of bread, buttered sides facing out.
  • Preheat the air fryer (if yours does not have a preheat setting, let it run for about four minutes at 400ºF).
  • Finally, place the sandwich in the air fryer basket. Cook at 350ºF for five minutes, then flip and cook for 5 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown and crispy and the cheese is melted through. Slice and serve.

Notes

*If you do not have sourdough bread, any hearty bread will do. Softer bread may require less time in the air fryer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 639kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 45g | Sodium: 1077mg | Fiber: 2g
Air Fryer grilled cheese stacked on white plate.

How to Make Air Fryer Grilled Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Parmesan butter mix in ramekin.

Combine the room temperature butter, grated Parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a bowl.

Knife spreading parmesan butter on bread.

Spread the butter mixture over one side of each piece of bread, from edge to edge.

Cheese slices for air fryer grilled cheese on top of one slice of bread with a second slice of bread next to it, on a cutting board.

Place the sliced cheese between the two pieces of bread, buttered sides facing out.

Grilled cheese sandwich in an air fryer basket.

Preheat the air fryer. If yours does not have a preheat setting, let it run for about four minutes at 400ºF. Once preheated, place the sandwich in the air fryer basket.

Air fryer grilled cheese in air fryer basket.

Cook at 350ºF for five minutes.

Air fryer grilled cheese on a spatula over an air fryer basket.

Once the sandwich has cooked for 5 minutes, flip it on the other side, and cook for five minutes more, or until both sides are golden brown and crispy, and the cheese is melted through. Slice and serve.

The post Air Fryer Grilled Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

How to Create the Perfect Cheese Platter

Everything you need to know for creating the most perfect meat and cheese platter! With this guide, you’ll easily be able to assemble your own beautiful cheese board to serve at parties and holiday events.  You&#8217…

Everything you need to know for creating the most perfect meat and cheese platter! With this guide, you’ll easily be able to assemble your own beautiful cheese board to serve at parties and holiday events.  You’ve seen countless beautiful cheese boards that actually look like a work of art. They are perfectly piled with cheese wedges, fruit, and nuts. And if you’re like […]

The post How to Create the Perfect Cheese Platter appeared first on Sugar and Charm.

summer ricotta with grilled vegetables

Letter of recommendation: Make ricotta this summer. I was originally going to write “Ditch the burrata and make some ricotta this summer,” but neither wish to besmirch burrata nor do I plan to go tomato season without it. Should a …

Letter of recommendation: Make ricotta this summer. I was originally going to write “Ditch the burrata and make some ricotta this summer,” but neither wish to besmirch burrata nor do I plan to go tomato season without it. Should a burrata tree (it grows on trees, or must based on the frequency in which it appears) spontaneously appear on my terrace, I will be the happiest and most popular girl in all of the Lower East Side this summer. But since like most of us, I’m still buying it at stores where it’s quite expensive, spoils quickly, and is only sometimes spectacular, I’m here to make the argument that homemade ricotta is not only rich, delicious, and a cinch to make, but that in almost all of the places we’re serving burrata, ricotta* would be deliciously welcome too.

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-01summer ricotta grilled vegetables-02summer ricotta grilled vegetables-03summer ricotta grilled vegetables-04summer ricotta grilled vegetables-05summer ricotta grilled vegetables-06summer ricotta grilled vegetables-07summer ricotta grilled vegetables-08

Read more »

19 Creamiest, Dreamiest Ricotta Cheese Recipes

Ricotta cheese is a necessary part of life, by which I mean it is a necessary ingredient in lasagna, and lasagna is life. But rarely do we sing the praises of ricotta the way college students do about burrata after studying abroad in Italy for three mo…

Ricotta cheese is a necessary part of life, by which I mean it is a necessary ingredient in lasagna, and lasagna is life. But rarely do we sing the praises of ricotta the way college students do about burrata after studying abroad in Italy for three months, or the way we obsessed over blocks of feta on TikTok.

Now is ricotta’s long overdue chance to step in the spotlight. We have 19 recipes—starting with two homemade ricotta recipes (one for the stovetop and the other for your Instant Pot), moving all the way to ricotta toasts, pasta, pizza, and pancakes.

Read More >>

BEET SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE, ARUGULA AND BLUEBERRIES

A light salad, the best partner for a dry red wine

A light spicy salad, the best partner for a dry red wine.


Beet, Arugula, Goat Cheese and Blueberries Salad

Recipe

PREP TIME COOK TIME MAKES
5 minutes 10 minutes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 300 g (10 oz) cooked beets (boiled or baked)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) soft goat cheese
  • 30 g (1 oz) walnuts
  • 30 g (1 oz) cashews
  • 70 g (2.5 oz) blueberries
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp non-spicy mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Coarsely chop the walnuts. In a dry skillet, toast the cashews along with the walnuts.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Add a couple pinches of salt.
  3. Peel and slice the beets. Put them in a bowl with the dressing and stir it. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Layer the beets, cheese slices, arugula, and blueberries. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve.

New recipes in your inbox

Processing…
Success!

You may like these too…

What to Cook This Week?