Monday, July 25, 2011

Marinated Ratatouille Heroes! These things were delicious! Light, yet satisfying; savory, yet sweet, and perfect for a HOT summer day! Eggplant, where have you been all my life?

Marinated Ratatouille Heroes
3 c. peeled eggplant (1/2 lb.)
1 med. green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 med. zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1/3 c. balsamic vinaigrette dressing (or use 1/2 of the recipe to follow)
4 crusty Italian or French rolls, split horizontally
4 oz. chevre (goat) cheese with herbs (you can also use cream cheese with chives)
1 lg. tomato, thinly sliced

In large bowl mix eggplant, pepper, squash, and onion. Toss with dressing. Let stand 20 mins.

Transfer vegetables with dressing into 3qt. saucepan. Cook over med-high heat about 10 mins, sturring frequently, until vegetables are tender.

Toast rolls lightly, if desired (you want to). Spread bottom halves of rolls with cheese. Top with tomato slices and eggplant mixture. Top with top halves of rolls, secure with toothpicks. (I didn't, but they still tasted yummy!)

Emeril Lagasse's Balsamic Vinaigrette (I halved this recipe for the marinade, and used it all. Even though it's more than 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

*If using a good quality balsamic vinegar you should not need the sugar, but if using a lesser quality you might want the sugar to round out the dressing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

If you remember from before, I am trying to cook with new ingredients at least once a month. This month's ingredient was eggplant. I found this recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook, and we all fell in love! Daniel couldn't stop raving about how good it was, and that "wow, there's no meat or noodles in here, at all?" My favorite quote was "almost you persuade me to be a vegetarian." Anyway...this was super good!

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 c. Tomato pasta sauce (I just poured tomato sauce on and then sprinkled marjoram, basil and oregano on top of it)
2 sm. unpeeled eggplants (about 1 lb. each)
1 egg
2 Tbs. water
2/3 c. dry bread crumbs
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive or vegetable oil
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut eggplants into 1/4 in. slices. In shallow dish mix egg and water. In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture.

In 12-in skillet, heat oil over med. heat. Cook half of the eggplant at a time in oil about 5 mins, turning once, until light brown; drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding 1-2 Tbs. oil as needed.

In ungreased 11x7 glass baking dish, place half of the eggplant, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon half of the sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350° for about 25 mins or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is light brown.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strawberries 'n' cream Muffins

We needed to used up some sour cream. I figured since it would be a busy week, it might be nice to have some muffins on hand. I found this recipe in my Taste of Home cookbook. It was originally a quick bread recipe, but it works for muffins too. It's delicious!

Strawberries 'n' Cream Muffins

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. fresh strawberries, chopped
2/3 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Prepare muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in strawberries and walnuts. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 18-20 mins.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Creamy Lime Sherbet

Ok. I would not go as far as to say this is a sherbet. It is definitely more ice creamy to me. But that's what the recipe is named. I also think that you could forgo the cool whip altogether (I tasted's good), but the cool whip adds amazing creaminess. This is perfect for a hot summer's day. Nice and light (not in calories) and refreshing. Yum!

Creamy Lime Sherbet

2 c. milk
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. grated lime peel
2-3 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 8oz. carton Cool Whip, thawed

Warm milk in microwave for about a minute or until milk is warmed through. Pour over sugar. Stir. Put in fridge until chilled.
Stir in lime juice and peel. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
Transfer to a 2 1/2 qt. container. Fold in Cool Whip (May need to soften the lime mix a little first). Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with graham cracker crumbs on top!
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fast Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I got this recipe from a friend of mine, and I have been wanting to try it for a while. 

Pita Bread

2 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used half freshly ground white wheat, and half red wheat)

1 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add flour and salt and stir to make a soft dough. Knead well, adding a little flour if needed. Place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise 15 minutes. Divide dough into 8 balls. Cover and let rise 10 minutes. Flatten each ball and use rolling pin to roll into a thin circle (about 1/4-inch thick). Place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 500 for 4 to 6 minutes until puffed and lightly browned.

Result? Delish!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Greek Pasta Salad

Ahem...we may or may not have liked this salad so much that we had it twice in a two-week period...This pasta salad is amazing! Everyone loved it. Even HB. I made a simple Caesar Dressing to go with it. Recipe follows:

Greek Pasta Salad

1 1/2 c. uncooked penne pasta
1/2 c. cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1/4 c. chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 c. Caesar salad dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a serving bowl, combine the pasta, turkey, olives, peppers and feta cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Source: Taste of Home

Caesar Dressing
6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup olive oil
Lemon juice

Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and two pinches of salt in a blender and mix thoroughly. Add mayonnaise and blend together to form a thick base. In a slow stream add olive oil through hole in lid. Scrape dressing with spatula into a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Source: Food Network

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chow Mein Chicken Salad

Mmm...nice, light salad for a hot summer day. This was a simple salad to make, and to eat, but it was delicious!

 Chow Mein Chicken Salad

4 c. shredded lettuce
1 c. chow mein noodles
2/3 c. cubed cooked chicken
2 green onions, chopped
4 tsp. sliced almonds, toasted
4 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted

1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt

In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, chow mein noodles, chicken, onions, almonds and sesame seeds.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients; shake well. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing

We have been enjoying our salads this hot, humid summer. We liked this one a lot. We also added nuts and some Chinese noodles for crunch.

 Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing

3 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
10 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium red bell pepper, very thinly sliced

Combine onion, oil, vinegar, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Process until combined
Toss spinach, carrot and bell pepper with the dressing in a large bowl until evenly coated.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Asian Cabbage Salad

We liked this salad, but we both felt that it was a little one dimensional in taste, and it would be a lot better as a side than a meal (which is what we did). The cilantro helped with the one dimensional taste, but we also added craisins to help it along. That being said, I really liked the use if jicama in this dish. It was nice and refreshing.

Asian Cabbage Salad

1 recipe Peanut Butter Dressing
6 c. shredded cabbage
1 c. fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 c. coarsely shredded, peeled jicama
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
Fresh cilantro

Prepare Peanut Butter Dressing. Toss shredded cabbage, peas, jicama, and green onions in with the dressing. Cover andn chill for 30-60 mins. Just before serving, sprinkle with tiasted almonds and cilantro.

Peanut Butter Dressing:

In large bowl combine 1/3 c. peanut butter, 1 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder, and ground ginger. Gradually whisk in 1/3 c. water, 2 Tbs. lemon juice, and 2 Tbs. olive oil until smooth.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Ensalada de Jicama

I recently made a goal to try to cook with an ingredient I have never used before at least once a month. So this month it was Jicama (hick-a-ma). I made a "traditional" jicama salad. I'll just say this: It wasn't amazing, but I could get used to it. It was nice and fresh and juicy, but very starchy. I read that the smaller the Jicama, the better (I guess they are supposed to be more sweet and less starchy). I got the smallest at the store, but it was still pretty big. wasn't bad, but it is just something that I need to acquire a taste for. 

8 oz. Jicama, peeled and cubed (1 1/2 c.)
1 lg. cucumber, sliced
1 orange, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. chili powder
I also added some red onion 

In large bowl, combine Jicama, cucumber, and orange. Sprinkle with lemon juice and chili powder; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle lightly with salt; toss. Sprinkle lightly with additional chili powder, if desired. Makes 6 servings.