Dinner Guests

We had my boyfriend’s cousin and her husband over for dinner the other night. I got a little too excited and made a very large meal for the 4 of us. (I also received new serving pieces as a birthday present from my friend Amanda that day and was eager to put them all to use).

I wasn’t planning on blogging at the time so I didn’t take many pictures of the meal in its various stages. I am sure I will make this meal again and will do a more step by step picture post to go along with it.

Menu: Fried Eggplant with marinara sauce, Stuffed Shells, Tossed Salad, and Cupcakes

Frying the Eggplant

Cut a large eggplant in 1/2″ thin slices. I cut those in half again.

Set up 3 bowls. the first bowl with all-purpose flour, the second with 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of salt whisked together well, and the third with bread crumbs (I used Vigo italian bread crumbs).

Coat the eggplant slices in flour, then saturate with eggs, and last coat in bread crumbs- press down to help the crumbs stick.

Allow the coated eggplant to dry for a bit on a paper towel before frying.

Pour about a 1/2″ worth of vegetable oil in a pan and heat. Fry slices for about 1 minute per side or until golden brown.

Take pieces out and allow to dry on a paper towel. Serve as desired.

Stuffed Shells:

Stuffed Shells before baking

1 box of Jumbo Shells

Tomato Sauce: You can use Jar sauce if preferred

2- 28 oz. cans of Hunts Tomato Sauce

2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning

2 garlic cloves very  finely diced

2 teaspoons of Sugar

1/4 each of white onion, green pepper, red pepper and yellow pepper finely diced or chopped in food processor

Cheese Filling:

2- Eggs

2- 15oz containers of Ricotta Cheese (I prefer Skim)

2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella

1/2 Cup of Grated Parmesan

2 Teaspoons of Parsley

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg – (I ran out so I subbed for a dash of cinnamon)

Salt and Pepper

Optional Adding Meat:

1Lb. of Ground Sirloin

Splash of White Wine

Add all ingredients for Tomato Sauce in either Crock pot or large sauce pan and give a good stir. Cook on medium-low until needed.

Boil water for Shells. Add Salt and a little olive oil to keep the shells from sticking together. Once boiling add Shells. Boil for about 10 minutes. Strain. Allow to cool slightly before filling.

Cook and break up ground beef. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Mix Ricotta, 1 1/2 cups of Mozzarella, parmesan, eggs, parsley, and salt and pepper to your liking. I like to make about 10 Shells with only cheese- the meat filled ones typically go faster. Place in glass baking dish. After I fill the cheese only shells I add the pre-cooked ground beef to the cheese mixture adding a splash of wine. Fill remaining Shells and add to glass baking dish.

Coat the shells with Tomato sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over shells and Bake for about 30 minutes or until Cheese is melted and sauce is boiling.

I made my marinara sauce by adding extra onions and peppers to my remaining sauce.

Cupcakes:

Pretty Vanilla and Chocolate frosted cupcakes

With everything I had to make I used a vanilla cake mix. However I did make my own frosting.

Buttercream Frosting:

1 stick of butter, softened

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/4 cup of milk

1- 1Lb. box of Confection sugar

To make it chocolate add 1 – 1 1/2 packet(s) of Nestle Pre-melted Chocolate

Mix all together. To make the frosting thicker add more Confection sugar, to thin add more milk as needed. Frost and decorate as you like.

Ready for our Guest’s!

Table is all set. Let's Eat!

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