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IDEA ALLEY: Summer produce recipes for Kats to carry into fall

by Kelly Brant | September 22, 2021 at 1:46 a.m.
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Happy Fall, Alley Kats!

The weather has finally turned a bit cooler and the autumn equinox is today at 2:20 p.m., but before we go full fall, let's enjoy summer's bounty (or the convenience of global produce trade making most fruits and vegetables available year-round) just a bit longer with these two summery recipes, from Trish Walters.

"Taking advantage of summer produce, here's an old-fashioned eggplant casserole. Precise measurements on the fresh vegetables aren't really critical. My mom has been making this since I was a kid, which is well over 50 years. I made it a few days ago and it's still as good as I remembered."

Mom's Eggplant Casserole

  • 2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green or red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon drippings or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomato OR 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 slices bread, torn into small pieces OR ½ cup coarse cracker crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning OR sage OR dried thyme
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Simmer eggplant in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and mash.

Saute onion and bell pepper in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in garlic and cook a few minutes until fragrant.

Combine eggplant, onion mixture, tomato, bread, eggs, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Pour into a greased 1½ to 2 quart casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with cheese. Return to oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

■ ■ ■

"This dish is good for get-togethers, or the recipe is easily halved for an easy weeknight meal," Walters writes.

Sharese's Spaghetti Salad

  • 1 pound spaghetti, broken in half or thirds
  • Salt
  • 10 slices bacon OR 8 ounces sliced pepperoni, halved or quartered
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (2-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (16-ounce) bottle your favorite Italian-style salad dressing, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente; rinse and drain well.

Meanwhile, brown the bacon and crumble. (I bake it on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes.)

Combine cooked spaghetti with bacon and the remaining ingredients, tossing to coat well with salad dressing. Chill for several hours and stir before serving. If chilling overnight, you may need to add more dressing before serving.

Makes 8 servings.


◼️ Chicken tinga, shredded chicken in red sauce for Trish Walters.

◼️ Crunchy, creamy broccoli like that served on the Panda Garden buffet for Rhonda Sweat.

Email recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to: [email protected]


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