Tag Archives: vegetable

Ratatouille

Ratatouille 1

The transition from fall to summer is my very favorite time of the year. I love the cool mornings and sunny (but not humid) days. It is the perfect time for making my favorite comfort food: Ratatouille. Like all good comfort foods, it is warm and filling and permeates your house with delicious smells as it cooks low and slow on the stove. And during this change of seasons, I love that I can still get great fresh garden vegetables and herbs to use in this recipe.

Ratatouille is not always the most visually appealing dish, but is bursting with flavor. It is full of hearty vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs Then cooked down on the stove until the flavors blend and meld into the most delicious vegetable stew. Eating healthy has never tasted better!

Ratatouille 2

This is Little A’s very favorite side dish. His face just lights up when he smells it as he comes into the house. All of the kids love it except for Little J (but she hardly counts as she turns her nose up to EVERY vegetable in this dish).

Ratatouille makes a perfect side dish to grilled or roasted meats. I love to serve it this time of year, when we still like to grill chicken, pork, or other things outside. Grilled meat is wonderful, but also begs for something juicy to eat with it. Ratatouille fits that bill perfectly. It is also great later in the winter with a roasted pork tenderloin, roast chicken, or beef roast.

This recipe makes a good-sized pot of ratatouille. You could always scale it back if you don’t want to make that much, but I love to have leftovers of this dish. It makes a perfect lunch all on its own the next day. Or as a sauce for pasta for an easy meal later in the week.

I never measure things when I make this recipe. It is very flexible based on your personal tastes. Below is a good approximation of the amounts that I use.

RECIPE:

Ratatouille 2

Ratatouille

½ cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, skin on, diced
2 onions, chopped
1 red/orange/yellow pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced and quartered
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
3 cups chopped tomatoes
½ tsp Tabasco sauce (adjust to taste)
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil*
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley*
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme*
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano*

Heat olive oil in a large saucepot. Add eggplant to the hot oil and cook until eggplant begins to soften. Add onions, red pepper and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, salt, pepper, and dried herbs; cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add chopped tomatoes and Tabasco sauce and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, until mixture is cooked down and thickened (30-40 minutes). Stir in fresh herbs during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary.

*Or substitute an additional 2-3 tsp dried Italian seasoning for the fresh herbs

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Filed under Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Soups/Stews/Curries

Create-Your-Own Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry 3

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Little J.

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For a class assignment, Little J had to make a Family Favorite Recipe all on her own. This included planning, shopping, cooking and clean-up. This is my very favorite type of homework assignment! She chose to make a chicken stir-fry. Definitely one of her favorite meals.

My favorite thing about stir-fries is how adaptable they are to whatever you can find in your freezer and produce drawer. Little J chose to use chicken, fresh green beans, celery, carrots and onion in her stir-fry.

The recipe below is for a basic stir-fry that you can customize to your family’s taste. I also included Little J’s customization.

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I look forward to more amazing creations from this amazing daughter!

RECIPE:

Chicken Stir Fry 3

Create-Your-Own Stir Fry

1-2 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts OR thinly sliced beef (flank steak, skirt steak, or leftover roast beef) OR thinly sliced pork tenderloin

3-4 cups chopped fresh vegetables (onions, broccoli, green beans, carrots, celery, mushrooms, pea pods, asparagus, cabbage, red or green peppers, green onion—whatever is in the fridge!)

2-3 Tbs oil

Sauce:
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp sesame oil

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Stir until cornstarch and honey are completely dissolved. Place sliced meat in a Ziploc bag and add ¼ cup of the sauce to the bag with the meat. Close bag and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet or wok. Sauté vegetables over high heat until crisp- tender. Work in small batches, removing vegetables from the pan when they are cooked (add additional oil if needed). Place cooked vegetables in serving dish.

Add 1 Tbs oil to pan; heat until hot. Add meat to pan and cook over high heat until meat is cooked through (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and add sauce to pan. Cook until sauce thickens (2-3 mins). Stir in cooked vegetables. Cook 1 minute to heat through.

Serve over rice.

Makes 6 servings.

 

Little J’s Chicken Stir-Fry

4 boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh French green beans, cut into 1-2” pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
2-3 Tbs olive oil
Hot cooked rice

Sauce:
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp sesame oil

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Stir until cornstarch and honey are completely dissolved. Place sliced chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag and add ¼ cup of the sauce to the bag with the chicken. Close bag and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet or wok. Sauté vegetables over high heat until crisp- tender. Work in small batches, removing vegetables from the pan when they are cooked (add additional oil if needed). Place cooked vegetables in serving dish.

Add 1 Tbs oil to pan; heat until hot. Add chicken to pan and cook over high heat until chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and add sauce to pan. Cook until sauce thickens (2-3 mins). Stir in cooked vegetables. Cook 1 minute to heat through.

Serve over rice.

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Southwest Turkey (or Chicken) Vegetable Chowder

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I love soup season. I think that soup is a great year-round food, but some in my family don’t like to see it when the weather gets too warm. So I take full advantage of these cold, snowy months to make and freeze as much soup as possible.

This turkey chowder is definitely one of my favorite soups, and is adaptable to whatever vegetables or meat (turkey vs chicken) you have on hand. It is creamy, filling and has a great southwestern flavor from added green chilies and salsa verde (and some pepper jack cheese).

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This soup is also a good example of my procrastination. Within a few days of Thanksgiving, the family was getting tired of turkey leftovers, so I put the turkey carcass in the freezer to make soup with soon. Is January still considered soon? The resulting turkey stock made a great base for this chowder, but you could also use canned chicken broth and shredded or diced chicken.

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I served the soup with these Cheddar & Herb Drop Biscuits, which were perfect for dipping into all of that creamy goodness.

RECIPE:

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Southwest Turkey/Chicken Vegetable Chowder

6-8 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped**
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (8 oz) green salsa (salsa verde)
1/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup water
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, undrained
2-3 cups diced or shredded cooked turkey or chicken
1 can corn**
2 large carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped cauliflower (optional)
1 cup shredded cabbage (optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp pepper)**

In a large stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Drain bacon grease, leaving 2 Tbs drippings in pot. Add onion, celery and red pepper to bacon drippings in the pot. Cook until tender.

Stir in broth, cream and salsa. Mix flour with 1/2 cup water until no lumps remain. Stir into stockpot. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in green chilies, turkey or chicken, corn and carrots. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, cauliflower and cabbage (if using-or any other desired vegetables). Cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Gradually stir in cheese, stirring until melted. Taste and season with salt** and pepper. Stir in reserved bacon, or sprinkle on top of individual bowls of chowder.

**I used turkey stock made from a brined turkey, so I did not add any salt. How much you need will depend on taste and the saltiness of your broth. In place of the corn and red pepper, you can also substitute a bag of frozen corn with mixed peppers.

 

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups/Stews/Curries