Eggplant parm for meatless Monday aka enough with the chicken recipes! May 1, 2013

Filed Under: italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 8:19 pm
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A few years ago my family decided to adopt Meatless Mondays.  Ha, that lasted for a while.  Going meatless for one day a week wasn’t as big a pledge as to to commit to Monday specifically and, when Meatless is not on a dedicated day, it seems to lose the hubris.  Since then my middle son has become a vegetarian and I’m trying to cook meatless more frequently.  Now I’m in trouble – once a week was doable.  I’m finding it hard to break the carnivore mentality.  We all miss the satisfying chew, the meaty bite.  Thankfully, mushrooms, butternut squash and of course, eggplant all satiate this call.

The eggplant parmesan here is lighter and fresher than most.  The eggplant is baked, not fried, in crispy panko and the sauce consists of lightly seasoned chopped tomatoes.

baked eggplant parmesan


baked eggplant:

2 large eggplant, sliced ¼” thick

Kosher salt

2 eggs

¼ cup milk (any kind)

1½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 ½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

2- 28 ounce cans or boxes (I like Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes

2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside a 9×13 Pyrex dish.


Sprinkle sliced eggplant with salt, place in colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  This releases water and bitterness from the eggplant. After the salting, lay flat on paper towels to dry eggplant.


In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  In a separate shallow bowl or dinner plate, mix together the panko, Parmesan, 1½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning. Dip the eggplant  into the egg mixture, then coat with the panko. Place prepared eggplant on baking sheet. Spray eggplant with cooking spray before baking and bake for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown.

Place the tomatoes and 1 Tablespoon Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning in a saucepan and heat to a simmer.


Cover the bottom of the Pyrex with a thin layer of sauce.  Layer eggplant over the sauce.  Place it in tightly but try not to overlap.  Cover generously with sauce, evenly top with half of the cheese.  Repeat another layer of eggplant, sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.


Dreaming of fish tacos. March 13, 2013

Filed Under: Chili seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 4:08 pm
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With all the sunshine of the past few days and spring soon upon us, I’ve started dreaming of fish tacos.  Even if the weather still feels a bit chilly, these will jump start the warm spirit of the new season.  Enjoy!

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Two Tacos

Fish Tacos:

1 pound white flaky fish, such as cod, flounder, grouper

¼  cup canola or grape seed oil
1 lime, juiced
2 heaping teaspoons Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning

2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)




Black Bean Tacos:

1 Tb olive oil

2 Tb finely minced white onion

2 heaping teaspoons Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning

2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained


Lime Crema Cabbage:

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche

½ lime, juiced

pinch of Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning

3-4 cups shredded white cabbage


10 corn tortillas


Garnish: chopped tomatoes, salsa, avocado, onions


Prepare the cabbage:

In a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, juice of ½ lime and pinch of Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning.  Place cabbage in bowl and toss to combine.  Refrigerate for ½ hour or more. Cabbage can be made earlier in the day and kept refrigerated.


Prepare the fish:

In a medium size glass bowl, whisk together oil, lime and Basics Fuirst Chili Sesaoning. Slice the fish crosswise into 1” pieces and place in bowl with marinade.  Refrigerate for ½ hour.


Preheat oven 400°.  Cover a baking pan with silpat or foil.


Place panko in a plate or shallow bowl.  Remove the fish from the marinade and dredge in the panko.  Place breaded fish on prepared baking pan.  Discard remaining marinade. fish can be completed earlier in the day and refrigerated on baking sheet.  When ready to cook, place fish in hot oven and cook for 12 minutes.


Prepare the black beans:

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium flame.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes to soften.  Add the Basics Fuirst Chili Sesaoning.  Continue cooking for 5 more minutes.  Add drained beans to pan.  Stir and mash beans until paste-like.  Add a few drops of water if they get too dry. Transfer to a serving bowl.  Beans can be made earlier in the day and kept refrigerated. If cold, add some water and microwave for 1 minute or so to warm.


Place tortillas on a plate and warm for 10 seconds in the microwave.



Place a warm tortilla on a plate.  Top with cooked fish or beans and cabbage.  Add additional garnish if desired.  Fold and Enjoy!

Serves 5.










the high and the low with cassoulet seasoning January 31, 2013

Filed Under: Cassoulet seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 9:12 pm
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The farmer’s market went very well last weekend (Yah!) and I wanted to give everyone who  purchased,  and everyone who received the first installment of their spice subscription, something new to make.  So I’ve been playing around with the Cassoulet Seasoning and came up with two great recipes: Basic Bouillabaisse and Parmesan Dijon Chicken Breasts.  One high brow sounding and a perfect way to impress company .  The other is a step above chicken cutlets – family friendly, tasty and simple to make.  Do not let the number of ingredients in the Bouillabaisse sway you!  It’s just some chopping.  Do it over the course of the day – it will be easy and well worth it. Please let me know what you think and I’m here to answer any questions.

Two more things 1. I want to give a shout out to my neighbor David who added so much value when asked to taste test last night.  Thanks David! 2.  Need a better word than “installment” when talking about the spice subscription.  Anyone???