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Flavor, savor and save

Posted: March 23, 2010 9:52 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Bertolli Baked Eggplant Parmigiana 8 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes 1 3/4 cups Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 large eggs, beaten with 3 tablespoons water 1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into...

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This summer, flavor, savor and save by creating delicious at-home meals for friends and family that stretch your budget and save you time. Whether recreating a restaurant favorite or finding a new family favor­ite, cooking appetizing and savory meals can be simple and affordable when you have simple and smart meal solutions at your fingertips.

As both a mom and the author of the “Kitchen Coach” series, Jennifer Bushman understands the challenges of keeping dinner ideas fresh, easy to prepare and budget-friendly.

“I believe cooks at every level can become meal-time magicians by simply keeping a well-stocked refrigerator, freezer and pantry that include versatile and easy-to-prepare ingredients. By overcoming mealtime monotony, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the company of friends and family,” says Bushman.

As people today look to do more with less, she recommends turning to trusted brands that offer great quality at affordable prices to help make everyday life better. Try these tips to flavor, savor and save at the dinner table:

* Quickly add flavor to any meal with ingredients that do double- or triple-duty in a flash. Delicious as a salad dressing and a great-tasting marinade, try top­ping the season’s freshest vegetables with Wish-Bone Italian Dressing for a robust Roasted Vegetable Tapas dish. For summer’s freshest fare, use yellow squash, zucchini or cucumbers, or choose year-round favorites like carrots, bell peppers and mushrooms.

* Kids away for the night? Skip the Italian restaurant and have a night in that can be just as (or even more) special. Start with Bertolli Tomato & Basil Sauce and sliced eggplant for a restaurant favorite that can be easily prepared at home: Baked Eggplant Parmigiana.

* Who thought tea could be an ingredient to make a sweet, fruity end to a deli­cious meal? Try using Lipton Cup Size Tea Bags and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! soft spread to create Tasty Tea Baked Apples. A soft spread like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! has 70 percent less saturated fat than butter and the fresh butter taste you love! Add that to the tea, which contains flavo­noid antioxidants and this mouthwatering dish will leave you and your guests feeling indulgent.

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