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Day 315: Eggplant Casserole/Lasagna

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

So… I haven’t posted anything in awhile. I’ve had several things in the works, but haven’t had the chance to sit down and post them, so be prepared for several posts over the next few days!

Anyways… the day that the Rooms and I went to the UT Gardens and took pictures we also went to 2 farmers’ markets! At the first one we went to in Market Square I picked up a beautiful eggplant that was striped with purple and white! I’ve never cooked eggplant personally, so I scoured the web for recipes and ended up mixing a few together to create a casserole that could… sorta… be considered like lasagna… Lemme explain…

I started by lining a small baking dish with aluminum foil for easier clean-up and poured a bit of olive oil in and coated the foil. I then threw in about 1/2 tsp of garlic and scattered it all over the bottom of the dish. I topped this with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Then I cut the eggplant into thin slices… about a 1/4″ thick?

Then I put a layer of eggplant down, then a layer of chunky tomato sauce. I had found a recipe for this where they just used canned tomatoes, and I thought why not sauce?? It makes it super soupy and hard to cut, but also AMAZING! At any rate, I then sprinkled a bit more garlic into the sauce and salt and pepper. I topped this with shredded mozzarella cheese and then pepperoni. Then another layer of eggplant…

And just kept layering it until it was full! I ended up needing to do 2 dishes because I had a very big eggplant! Here’s before baking…

And then after baking for about 30 min at 350 degrees…

SO YUMMY!!! I have to tell you that this was sooooo good, but also super filling and super duper messy! I tried to cut it into squares like a normal casserole, but it was so much sauce that it just was soupy. We switched gears and got out bowls to eat it instead of plates and served it with garlic texas toast.

I think I may have went a little overboard with the sauce, but it was yummy and made several good meals for us! Here’s my recipe without all my stupid chatter for you in case you want to make it yourself!

Eggplant Casserole/Lasagna

1 large Eggplant cut into 1/4″ slices

1 Tbsp Olive Oil (roughly)

4 tsp Garlic (roughly)

1 large jar Chunky Tomato Sauce

2 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella

1 bag Sliced Pepperoni



Preheat oven to 350. Line baking dish with foil then coat with olive oil. Spread about 1 tsp of garlic into bottom of dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Line dish with a layer of eggplant then top cover with a little sauce. Mix about 1 tsp of garlic into sauce layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top this with a handful of mozzarella cheese then a layer of pepperoni. Repeat the layering process of eggplant; sauce with garlic, salt, and pepper; mozzarella and pepperoni until dish is full.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until eggplant is soft.

I hope you like my recipe! If you want something a bit healthier, you could opt for turkey pepperoni or just put it on top not all the way through. To make it a little less soupy, try doing sauce every other layer or use canned tomatoes instead… but you’ll miss out on the sauce flavor! I opted for Ragu’s chunky garden medley.

I thought this was really, really yummy, so I hope you like it, too!

Anna Grace


Day 306: Anna Grace Pretends to be Top Chef

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Anyone who knows me or has seen my kitchen knows that I am no cook. I think a lot of it boils down to lacking 5 things: patience, time, equipment, space, and money. If I had more of even just 2 of these things, I think I would cook more, but that is not the case at the moment. I do, however, on occasion get a great urge to make one particular thing, so this post consists of random things I’ve concocted over the past few weeks.

The first was inspired by the amazing broccoli bacon salad from Earth Fare. I love that stuff, but it’s a bit pricey, so I decided to make my own! I found this recipe online and here is the result (sans water chestnuts, because why would you put that in there?)!

It wasn’t quite as amazing as Earth Fare’s, but it’s not a bad, healthier substitute!

My next food feat came about when I had a few eggs that were about to go bad, as well as some bacon, so I made deviled eggs and topped them with bacon! Clearly, I like bacon… :mrgreen: I did use low fat mayo…

I have to say, this has to be one of my best ideas ever! Deviled eggs + bacon = party on my taste buds!

And an instagram photo for good measure…

FYI I tried to be all fancy and make my own piping bag to fill the eggs, but I cut the tip to big and it was an utter failure resulting in me spooning it out. Oh well. Lesson learned.

This last Top Chef moment is one that you all have experienced before: my mom’s recipe for homemade salsa! This one has a bit more cilantro, but everyone at work destroyed it!

Unfortunately for me, my now gallbladder-less body has proved incompatible with raw onions… I thought I would be okay with just the small amount in a little salsa, especially since it’s been 7 months since surgery, but I was wrong. :( No more tasty salsa for me…

Hope you enjoyed my moments of culinary genius! Another post coming up either tonight or tomorrow!

Anna Grace


Day 274: Fresh Juice

Posted by annagrace under Days 201-300

For my birthday this year my sister gave me money to get a juicer! Juicing is something she’s really gotten into lately and she even did a 10 cleanse where she juiced for every meal! Drinking fresh fruit and vegetables is a really great way to be more healthy and something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile, so I decided that for lent this year I was going to juice for at least one meal every day! I’m starting a day late because I have strep throat and felt to bad to do anything yesterday, but better late than never! I probably won’t post every juice I make as a daily creative project, but I was so excited about this first attempt at juicing that I had to post it!

The juice I made today contained:

1 small Fiji apple
2 small oranges
2 handfuls of baby carrots (had them from awhile back)
1/2 mango
1/3 cucumber
1″ section fresh ginger root

I took a picture straight from the juicer and then one after stirring it up because you can really tell that the cucumber was one of the last things I put it!

I have to tell you, this was pretty awesome! Next time I may use less orange, more apple because it was a little citrusy, but it was tasty! I’ll also probably lay off the ginger for a few days because I LOVE it, but it hurt my throat sooooo bad!

Juicing is a pretty major undertaking in that it takes awhile to prep everything and then the clean up is hard, but it tastes soooo good! And I know for sure I don’t get the fruits and vegetables I need every day, so I could see this making me feel better over time!

Anna Grace

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Day 223(16 days late): Turkey Loaf Muffins Take 2

Posted by annagrace under Days 201-300

Today I set out to make the turkey meatloaf muffins that I made a while back again. I quickly realized that I was missing a few of the ingredients! I was missing onion, so I replaced that with edamame, because that is what I had on hand! I added in some dried chopped onion to try and give it some of that onion flavor. Instead of green bell peppers, I used a yellow one, and I was running low on garlic as well, so I supplemented with some dried garlic. I sauteed all of that together!

Next I mixed all of the ingredients together, but remembered that I didn’t have any eggs! So I added extra ketchup to make it stick together. Here is the mixture in the pans before baking.

After baking for a while, I added the ketchup mustard and brown sugar mixture to the tops and finished baking!

I ate 2 for dinner because I hadn’t eaten all day, and man was it good!! The edamame added an extra layer of texture that was nice, although I think the lack of egg made it a little dry. But overall, not bad! I will be eating these for a few days now!

Anna Grace

I am unfortunately even more days behind due to midterms this week…. But now it is fall break, so hopefully I can get some posts knocked out this weekend!

The other night, after staring at the contents of the fridge for awhile, I decided to just do a quick veggies stir fry! I had a bunch of bell peppers of different colors on hand, and being the visual person I am, I thought they would be so pretty with some frozen edamame that I also had! Here are the gorgeous peppers!

So I combined these peppers with the edamame and about a tablespoon of Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki, which is the best teriyaki sauce ever, by the way! I put it on everything!

While those were cooking, I baked some salmon in the oven with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides. When that was done, I topped it with some homemade salsa I made the other night. I plated it up with the veggies and I was done!

I gotta tell you, the main reason I decided to post about this was because of the beautiful colors! The added bonus was that it was really yummy, too! The teriyaki sauce seeped into the salmon a bit and in combination with the salsa was the most amazing flavor!

Another food post coming up!!

Anna Grace


Day 210(12 days late): Salmon with Cucumber Salsa

Posted by annagrace under Days 201-300

Today I was trying to figure out a good way to use some of the frozen salmon fillets I had when I came across this recipe for oven roasted salmon topped with homemade salsa! Remember that salsa I made last weekend with my mom? Well, I decided to use some of the ingredients I had left over from that and make another salsa using what I had on hand. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any onions or fresh cilantro, but I did have some cucumber and a tube of cilantro (see below), so I decided to make a spicy yet cooling cucumber salsa to top my salmon!

I started by putting the oven on 375 to preheat. Then I sauteed some garlic in a pan (maybe about one clove) with some vegetable oil and then let it cool. Then I took my cucumber and cut it into chunks, then diced it up in the food processor!

I drained it off as best as I could without losing too much before mixing it with the garlic. Then I chopped up the big beautiful yellow tomato from my church’s garden! After that I squeezed some of the cilantro in and added salt to taste. It says on the tube that 1 tbsp equals one bunch of cilantro, but I found that I needed way more than that and used about half of the tube!

Like last time, I tested the flavor of the salsa before adding the heat. I didn’t have any chips left, so I ended up using pringles! It was a very interesting combo, but I liked it! I thought the salsa was missing that bite of the fresh onion, so I added another clove or two of the raw garlic. Then I chopped up the red jalepeno from church I had left in the food processor and added it a spoonful at a time until it got spicy enough. Here’s the finished salsa!

Isn’t it a pretty green?? I think it came out beautifully, although I think I had something on my phone, so the pictures didn’t turn out…

While I was making the salsa, the salmon was roasting with just a light salt and pepper seasoning. I baked it for 12 minutes, but I think it was a little overdone, so next time 10 would probably to the trick. I topped the salmon with the salsa and I was done!

I have to tell you, this was so good!! The cucumber made it very refreshing, but the jalepeno added a nice kick and flavor which worked so well with the salmon! I went back and added more salsa after this shot because it was so yummy! So it looks like I can experiment in the kitchen and achieve greatness!

Anna Grace


Day 203(13 days late): Homemade Salsa with Mom!!

Posted by annagrace under Days 201-300

Here I was thinking that I was going to use this extra long holiday weekend to catch up on posts, and I just fall even more behind!! In my defense, my mom came to see me this weekend and I have had the most horrible headache for about three days now that I cannot get to go away!! I have tried everything!!

At any rate, when my mom came to town, she surprised me with some fresh vegetables from the garden at our church to make homemade salsa! FYI my mom makes the best salsa EVER so I was totally excited to make it! We even made a quick run to walmart where she got me a cheap little food processor, which I know I will be using a lot!

We started by sauteing some chopped garlic in oil. You can leave it raw if you want, but I think it makes it a little too strong, so I cooked it! Next, we chopped up about a third of a large sweet onion into big chunks,then chopped them up a lot more in the food processor. After draining the excess water off, we mixed the onion and garlic. Then we chopped up a small beautiful purple bell pepper (red bell peppers are fine) and added it to the mix. Loved the added touch of color it gave it and I wish you could see it better in the picture!

Next,we cut up two tomatoes from church and two tomatoes from the store into quarters and put those through the food processor as well and drained them.

We didnt have quite enough tomato, so we used this beautiful yellow tomato that was also from church and added it to the mix!

It gave the salsa a very interesting color, and almost made it look like mango salsa! Then we chopped up a bunch of cilantro and added about half of it in at first with a little salt. As mom says, you have to taste your salsa at this point even before you add any heat, because if your base isn’t right it will screw everything up! So after testing it,we decided it needed more cilantro! Now,we LOVE cilantro, so we may have put more than your average person, but you just have to do everything to  taste!

Last, we chopped up a pretty red jalepeno from church and added it a spoonful at a time until it got to the heat we wanted it! We ended up using one whole pepper, but we have noticed that the store bought peppers are usually not as spicy as home grown, so you may have to use a lot more and/or supplement with a bit of habenareo pepper. Also keep in mind that as the salsa sits in your fridge or whatever, it gets more and more spicy! Here is the finished product!

It is so yummy!!! Mom says it is the best batch she has ever made, and I think the fresh home grown veggies make all the difference! We like to use the blue corn chips because they tend to be a little stronger and can hold the salsa better! And like I said, it gets hotter as it sits…. what was fairly mild  yesterday was pretty hot today! I am looking forward to having this for lunch at work  tomorrow!

Anna Grace


Day 194(10 days late): Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Posted by annagrace under Days 101-200

I found two different recipes for meatloaf made with ground turkey on Weight Watchers that looked good, so I combined the two. I mostly stuck with the first recipe, but put the mix in muffin pans instead of a loaf because I liked the idea of having it pre-portioned. I won’t post the whole recipe here since it isn’t mine to post, but here are a couple of pics from the process.

Chopped  up onions and green peppers cooking with garlic.

The rest of the ingredients before mixing, besides meat. It called for salt, but apparently we were out of it, so I used soy sauce instead!

All ingredients mixed!

Here they are after baking for 30 minutes and then topping with a ketchup, mustard, brown sugar mixture, and baking 5 more minutes. I filled the pan a little too full because I didn’t want to make two batches (only one pan!) and therefore they overflowed a bit when baking…

DONE!!! Getting ready to dig in!

I ate this with a sweet potato (microwaved cause it is easier…) sprinkled with cinnamon and stevia! Overall it came out super yummy!! I love that I have leftovers that are already portioned out that I can take to work! And, since I used ground turkey breast, it is a much healthier alternative! I will definitely be making this again!

Anna Grace

Today I decided to document something that I’ve been making a lot lately. My parmesan crusted tilapia! As I think I’ve mentioned before, I recently started Weight Watchers online and have lost around 6 lbs in just a few weeks! Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for low point proteins that I’ll actually enjoy eating a lot and won’t cost me too much. I discovered recently that I love fish (I used to hate it and would force it down when my mom cooked it), particularly when it’s flavorful. So, I went to the grocery store on the hunt for some. Now, I would love to be able to afford all kinds of fresh, wild fish, but it’s not really in the cards for me right now and I never really know what my schedule is like, so it’d be hard to try and eat it in time. Plus, when you’re cooking for one person, buying a bunch of fresh fish would mean eating it for days! Because of all that, I look for a lot of frozen proteins. Well, at my grocery store (Kroger) I found a big bag of frozen tilapia that had each filet individually sealed. Perfect! And it happened to be on sale the day I got it so I probably paid around $0.75 per filet.

At any rate I’ve been experimenting with them in various seasonings. I found a few recipes in the Weight Watchers online forums that used bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, so I tried different combinations until I ended up with this recipe! I openly admit that I’m a bad cook, but I think that just comes from lack of experience. I have no idea what herbs/seasonings go well together or how much to use of anything because I just haven’t cooked that much, so this recipe is sort of a random assortment of things in my pantry, but I think it turns out quite tasty! And it’s only about 5 or 6 Weight Watchers points, depending on how much of the breading you use!

All these measurements are guesstimations and I ended up not needing all of the breading mixture, so if you try this, just eyeball it to where you think you have enough.


2 6 oz Filets Frozen Tilapia

2 tsp Grated Parmesean Cheese

1 Tbsp Breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp Dehydrated Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Caraway Seeds

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of Accent Flavor Enhancer (idk if it actually enhances the flavor, but it doesn’t hurt!)

Thaw tilapia in refrigerator overnight. (Or if you’re in a bit of a rush, you can run cold water over the individual wrapped filets. This is when that wrapping comes in handy… less mess!) Rinse and pat dry. Preheat oven to 425º F

In a plate or flat-bottomed bowl combine all dry ingredients.

Dip the tilapia filets into the mixture coating each side evenly.

Place filets on pan with cooking spray then generously sprinkle the filets with breading mixture until fully coated. (You’ll have some leftover, so I like to save mine in a zip-lock bag in the fridge for next time.) Place pan in center of oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until top is nicely browned and fish is flaky.

Makes 2 servings.

And there you have it! I usually will eat one for dinner and then reheat the other in the toaster oven at work for about 5 minutes for lunch the next day. Be pre-warned: I love garlic, so if you don’t like garlic breath, or can’t handle that much of it, use less garlic and carry some gum with you! :) I’ve gotten to where I take my toothbrush/paste with me to work so I don’t breathe ferocious breath into costumers’ faces!

This is a really simple recipe, and easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you have in your pantry. Sometimes if I wanting a little kick, I’ll add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce. It’s entirely up to you!

I hope to catch up on posts tomorrow, but we’ll see how it goes!

Anna Grace


Day 113(2 days late): Sweet Roll FAIL!

Posted by annagrace under Days 101-200

I’m beginning to think that I’m a failure in the kitchen. Or rather, I think I just lack adequate cooking supplies. That, and the fact that my oven does not cook at the temperature you set it at. I’m constantly burning things in it. Grrrr…

At any rate, I’m starting a diet on the 1st, so I’ve been trying to get rid of all the bad foods in my apartment for less temptation. I decided that I would make the tube of sweet rolls in the fridge for work tomorrow… and then I thought, why not make the rolls into the shape of something and use it for my 365 project!! (That’s how my brain works now… how can I make this creative??) So I decided, since I work at a paint store, why don’t I make a paint can? So I did! Here it is before baking

I swirled two of the rolls together to make the lid and smushed one to make the base with half of another roll. The other half became the handle.

So I put them in the oven at 400 degrees just like it says and set my timer for 15 min, following the directions. At about 12 minutes in, I decided to check on them because I’ve issues with stuff burning in my oven in the past… and they looked like this.

BURNED!!! Arrrgggg…. I hate my oven!! But I decided, I might as well ice them and eat them myself (if they were edible) over the next few days rather than throw them out, so, using a knife, I tried to write Benjamin Moore on the can. I realized very quickly that in order to even remotely see the icing, I would have to write it bigger, so I was able to fit the BE and part of the N and then just the M and 2 o’s…. But you still couldn’t really see it…

Soooo… I ended up just icing the whole thing. No need to waste the tasty icing!

I think a couple of them might still be okay to take to work, but even if they’re not, they’ll get eaten eventually! It doesn’t look at all like a paint can in the final result, but at least the raw dough sort of does! :neutral:

Anna Grace