Tag Archives: hearty

Pasta with Eggplant and Pesto

13 Aug
This is the story of three foods that moved in together and created the most delicious relationship.
 
Friends: meet Pesto, Pasta, & Eggplant.
 
For the Pesto:
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic (I don’t believe you can ever use too much garlic; I put in two)
1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2/3 c EVOO, eyeball it
1/2 c grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping
 
Mix all in a food processor (or blender).  If you don’t have either, borrow one from a neighbor.  Store-bought pesto is “ehhh”; homemade pesto is da bomb.
 
 
For the Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted (a palm full) water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta (I used what I had although I prefer penne–you can use whatev, though) and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and save about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Put the pasta into a large serving bowl and add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Toss until coated.
For the Eggplant:
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO over med-high heat. Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant turns golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Add the pesto and toss until the eggplant is coated.

 

Add the eggplant mixture to the serving bowl with the pasta and toss until all of the ingredients are coated. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water (if needed). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with extra parmesan…Weesie, are you down wit dat?
 
 
Holly’s Notes:
I prefer an all basil pesto, but when I got to my fridge, I realized I only had about 3/4 c of basil leaves. I threw in 1/2 c of baby spinach, and it still tasted great (arugula also works as a substitute).
To toast the pine nuts, arrange them in a single layer in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. They’re done when golden-brown…and you can smell’em. Caution: these suckers burn easily, so watch’em.
Eggplants are a really “thirsty” vegetable, so I often have to add extra EVOO to the skillet as they’re cooking. 
***If you’re like my husband and dinner isn’t complete without meat, I just heated up some leftover chicken I had in the fridge and served it right on top.
  
  
*Recipe courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis

Spinach Quiche

12 Aug

I’m enjoying reading everyone’s posts so far! I have a cooking blog and wanted to pull some of my favorites to share with everyone. This is a Spinach Quiche I made awhile back that turned out really good and was super easy. I’m sure it’d be equally delicious, or more so, with a pie crust.

Monday night for dinner, I decided I really wanted to make a quiche. I searched for an easy recipe that used few ingredients, I had a lot of eggs but not much else. I came across a recipe on allrecipes.com that was easily adaptable and met my standards.

Crustless Spinach Quiche
yields: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.

Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.

I didn’t have Muenster cheese (who does?) so I used what I had –  a little bit of Mozzarella (got 1 cup out of it) and a block of Colby cheese (got the other 2 cups from). The only other modification I made was adding diced tomatoes on top – I had a few lying around that were getting mushy. I did end up leaving it in the oven for longer than 30 minutes, it was closer to 45. It says to bake until “eggs have set”. I don’t really know what that means and it kind of scared me, so I assumed leaving it in a little longer wasn’t a bad thing. We ate more than half that night. Matt really loved it, I think he had 3 slices. I would have preferred less onions, the onion flavor seemed to dominate. A huge plus, it was delicious served cold the next day for breakfast. And this recipe is super adaptable, you can use almost any veggies, any cheese and add herbs or spices as you like. It’s a great base and one that I’ll most definitely be using again and again (I may add a crust next time). It’d be a perfect dish for brunch too!

Here’s the final product:

What to do with chicken, carrots and potatoes…

29 Jul

WARNING! I didn’t really take any measurements so this isn’t a very exact recipe… but still easy and yummy!

Oooh, my first ever post on a blog. Very exciting. Now to the food…

Ever get home and NOT want to go to the grocery store but still want to make something good for dinner? I will do anything to avoid a trip to the market. I wish there was a website where I could type in what ingredients I had at home and POOF there’s a great recipe. Last night I had boneless skinless chicken thighs, carrots (fresh out of the ground from our local organic CSA) and little red potatoes and no clue what to do with them. I didn’t find anything online that looked good so I just decided to start cooking and see where it got me. Could be a recipe for disgusting, BUT it turned out awesome. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken (1 package)

4 smaller carrots

3 small yellow onions (1 large normal onion would work… these were small because they were from our farm)

1 cup (?) of red wine

6 medium red potatoes

3 cups (?) of stock (ours was chicken/duck/beef stock, but normal ol’ chicken stock will work fine)

1/2 a stick of butter

salt and pepper

3 dried star anise flowers

Tablespoon of corn starch

1) Trim up one package of boneless skinless thighs or I suppose breasts if you prefer (ewww for me but I know lots of people like…) and get your heaviest pan nice and hot with some olive oil. Add some salt and pepper to each side of the chicken and lay them in to brown. Since you want them to get a nice crust, don’t over-crowd the pan. I did half the pack at first and even let the pan reheat up before the 2nd half. Make sure it’s already nice and hot before you lay them in (a nice sizzle noise) but make sure no burning! Watch them closely, checking for a nice brown crust. I think I did around 3-5 min each side. Chicken does not need to be cooked through, just nice and brown on both sides. Wow that was very non-exact.

2) While the chicken is browning I boiled the potatoes, and chopped onions and carrots into bite size pieces.

3) After all the chicken is brown (and potatoes are boiling alongside) I took all the chicken out to rest on a plate and put chopped onions and carrots in the hot pan (more fun sizzling). Add a pinch or two (or three if you like salty like me!) of salt. Cook until… they look good? I know, I suck. Cook until carrots are slightly tender and onions are just starting to look soft. Then add a cup or so of red wine. Let the wine boil for a moment (1 min?) so all the alcohol cooks off and turn the heat to simmer and cover the whole pan so the carrots can steam in the wine. Add 2-3 dried star anise flowers (I know, not everyone has this around, but sooo yummy so I recommend buying them).  Let that go until the wine has cooked down and there’s not much liquid left in the pan. I’d say about 3-4 min, depends on how much wine you put in, as I did not measure!

4) While that’s simmering, turn your attention to the potatoes. I let them boil till a fork could go in very easily then drained them. I started to chop them at this point to add to the carrots and onion mixture, but since this whole thing was an experiment from the beginning I decided last minute to mash them instead. GREAT idea, they were sooo yummy. I loved mashed potatoes that have pieces of skin and a few little chunks. Actually, I love all mashed potatoes, but I feel like the chunkier variety is less common. I added about a cup of chicken stock, but just do a little at a time to see how much will soak in. I added salt to taste and about half a stick (1/4 cup) of butter. I never said this was healthy! We considered adding horseradish, but decided to have it “on the side” instead. Super yummy!

5) Back to the pan mixture. Once the wine has cooked down add the chicken back in the pan with 2 (approx) cups of stock. Enough so that the chicken is sitting in broth, but doesn’t need to be covered. Bring the whole thing back to a boil and let it boil for… 2 min? You want the stock to cook off a little so it gets thick. Then cover and turn the heat to simmer. Let that sit… as long as there’s liquid and you’re willing to wait. I hadn’t fully finished mashing the ‘taters yet so I went back to that while the chicken simmered. I think in total it was less than 10 min. Let’s say 7 min. The chicken and the carrots got nice and tender. Then I added just a bit (1 tablespoon?) of cornstarch to the whole mixture so the sauce would thicken up. Stir just for a minute. Oh, and I took out the star anise about halfway through simmering, just so it wouldn’t get too strong. Who knows if that did anything! Taste, add salt/pepper if you want.

6) Serve the whole thing over a bed of mashed potatoes! My picture is not very pretty (ok, it’s downright awful looking), because I started eating before I thought to take one… but it was super super yummy.

ugh, I promise a more appetizing photo next time!