Easy and quick yummy…

I have never been a fan of eggplant, but I bought it in hopes of finding a great recipe I would actually like. The consistency of eggplant normally turns me away from eating it. One day I was watching the Food Network and came across eggplant croutons, and it looked so yummy. I have made the eggplant croutons twice, and we love them, the consistency is crunch and soft, they are best on top of a hearty salad. The best salad dressing we found to go with these croutons was a Poppy Seed dressing, which is sweet and light, but any lighter dressing I think suits it best. The eggplant croutons are so simple and are such a great addition to so many meals. The eggplant croutons only take about 10 minutes or so. Hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

Eggplant Croutons
Ingredients:
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs (I use Italain for extra flavor, I also add in a little Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and onion powder)
Directions:
In three shallow dishes put egg, flour, and bread crumb mixture each in the seperate shallow dishes.
Heat oil in a deep pot on medium to high heat
First toss eggplant cubes in the egg, then lightly poweder them in the flour, then coat them well in the bread crumb mixture.
Fry croutons in the oil until golden.
Let drain on papertowels to soak up the oil.
Serve

We are going to try to them with marinara sauce, we’ll see how they turn out. Eggplant Croutons

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Personal Chef for my Best Friend

My best friend, Kristin, commented after every meal I would post on my twitter and Facebook that she would love to have me as a personal chef to come and cook for her daily. So, for her birthday this year I did just that, I showed her and her husband love through food!! I mean our God, the Son of Man did come to this world to serve and not be served, right?! (Mark 10:45). I cooked all the food at my house and brought it to her home and served her and her husband dinner, I even did all the clean up. Starting with the first course, a sweet strawberry avocado salad (loved this salad and the dressing can be used with any salad combination), continuing with crab-stuffed shrimp with rice and lemon zest zucchini strings, and finished off with a deep chocolate raspberry cake (recipes are all listed below). It was great getting to make a woman who is so special in my life, and who gives so much of herself, relaxed and happy with a full belly! My friend and her husband suggested that I start a business cooking gourmet meals for people in their homes, nice idea, we’ll see…you never know what God has planned!

Strawberry Avocado Salad (allrecipes.com)
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups torn salad greens
1 avocado – peeled, pitted and sliced
10 strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Place the salad greens in a pretty bowl, and top with sliced avocado and strawberries. Drizzle dressing over everything, then sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for up to 2 hours before serving, or serve immediately.
Nutritional Information:
Amount Per Serving Calories: 610 | Total Fat: 50g | Cholesterol: 0mg

Crab-Stuffed Shrimp (Paula Dean recipe from FoodNetwork.com)
Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 1/2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 pound crabmeat, picked over
1 pound extra-large or jumbo shrimp (about 24 shrimp), peeled, deveined, tails on
12 slices bacon, halved crosswise (I used Morning Star* meatless bacon)
Directions:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook green onions, green pepper and garlic powder until peppers are limp. Place in mixing bowl and add cream, mustard and cayenne pepper to sautéed vegetables, mix well.
3.Add cracker crumbs, mayonnaise, egg, parsley and lemon juice; mix well. Gently fold in crabmeat. Form into small patties sized to stuff into shrimp; set aside.
4.Split shrimp down the bottom center to tail, being careful not to cut through. Stuff each shrimp with crabmeat mixture. Wrap shrimp in bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a baking pan and cook at 350 degrees until bacon is crisp and shrimp are pink, about 15 to 20 minutes.
To serve, arrange 6 shrimp on each plate on a bed of rice, if desired.

Lemon Zest Zucchini Strips
Recipe is lost 😦 but it was not that great anyways!! LOL
Basically from what I can remember…
Strip the zucchini with a vegetable pealer and soak them in a dish of lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, and olive oil (not sure I am remembering everything).
This dish is served cold.

Deep Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Ingredients
6 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
6 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
7 eggs, separated
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (4 ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
Directions
1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
2.Line bottoms of two 9 inch cake pans with waxed paper.
To Make Cake:
3. Melt 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or in a microwave. Cool, and beat in egg yolks.
4. In a large bowl, beat butter or margarine, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add chocolate mixture, and continue beating until smooth. Stir in flour until just combined.
5. In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar, and continue beating until the whites hold soft peaks. Fold whites into chocolate batter, in three additions. Pour batter into prepared pans, and smooth tops.
6. Bake until a toothpick stuck into the centers of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans.
7. To Make Frosting: In a saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Chop 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, and stir into the cream. Remove saucepan from heat, and continue stirring until smooth. Pour frosting into bowl, and press sheet of plastic wrap directly against surface of chocolate to prevent formation of a skin. Refrigerate until thick enough to spread.
8. To Make Filling: Drain the thawed raspberries, if necessary, and combine with the jam. Sandwich the cake layers with raspberry filling. Spread top and sides with chocolate frosting.
Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 634 | Total Fat: 40.6g | Cholesterol: 186mg