• 2 red or green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks
    1 red onion, coarsely chopped
    1 large or 3 small eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 small zucchini or patty pan squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
    4-6 heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    3 sprigs of thyme
    2 sprigs of rosemary
    2 sprigs of tarragon
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine all the ingredients in a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Toss to combine, leaving the sprigs of herbs whole. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

    Remove the foil, toss the ratatouille with a spatula and bake for an additional 30 minutes, checking once or twice to see if it needs stirring.

    Remove the sprigs of herbs. Check for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper as necessary.

    Serve with warm rolls or rustic bread for mopping up the delicious juices.

    Serves 4.

  • from Cooking Light, June 2011

    4 (6-ounce) baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream.
    1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
    2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Directions:

    Place potato pieces in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap; cut a 1-inch slit in the center of the plastic wrap.  Microwave at HIGH 10 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes.  Add sour cream and remaining ingredients to bowl; mash with a potato masher.  Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup).

    Southwest Variation:

    Omit sour cream and chives; decrease milk to 2 tablespoons and salt to 1/4 teaspoon.  Add 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt; 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce; and 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.

    Roasted Garlic Variation:

    Omit sour cream and chives; increase milk to 3/4 cup.  Add 1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage.

    Bacon And Cheddar Variation:

    Decrease salt to 1/4 teaspoon.  Add 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese and 1 slice center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.

  • from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Family Favorites

    2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
    4 pounds chicken legs or bone-in thighs, skin removed, rinsed, patted dry and sprinkled lightly with salt
    3/4 cup apricot preserves
    1/2 cup orange marmalade
    1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    2 garlic cloves, pressed
    3 medium sized shallots, finely chopped (I used one medium sized onion instead)
    1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
    Salt and pepper to taste
    About 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish
    1 bunch green onions, chopped, for garnish (I used parsley instead)

    Directions:

    Coat the inside of the crock with cooking spray.

    In a large skillet over medium high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Add the chicken in batches (adding more oil as needed) and brown, turning once or twice and transferring the chicken to the crock as it browns.

    In a medium-sized bowl, combine the preserves, marmalade, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, shallots and ginger with a fork.  (Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper as well.) Pour the mixture over the chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

    Remove the chicken with tongs from the crock and place on dinner plates or a large platter.  Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onions.

  • 5 or 6 cups leftover cooked chicken, coarsely chopped
    2 cups prepared marinara sauce
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 heaping teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Burger Buns, Parmesan Cheese and Provolone Cheese for serving

    Directions:

    Spray a 4-quart crock-pot with cooking spray.  Add the chicken and marinara sauce to the pot.

    In a saute pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for three minutes, or until softened.  Add the bell pepper and cook for another two minutes.  Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook for an additional two minutes or until very fragrant.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.

    Add the sauteed mixture to the crock-pot and give everything a stir to combine.  Add the lid to the pot and turn it on to the low setting.  Cook for 4 hours on low.

    To serve, top each bun with a portion of the mixture and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan, and then add a slice of Provolone as well.  For added flavor, run the sandwiches (open-faced) under the broiler for a minute to brown and toast the Provolone on top.  Serve immediately.

    Makes about 8 sandwiches.

  • Fruit, Pie 10.05.2011 1 Comment
    5 cups pie cherries- fresh or frozen.  If frozen, do not thaw (pitted)
    3/4 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    3 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 small limes)
    zest of one lime (Optional)
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    pinch of salt
    2 tablespoons butter

    Combine 2 cups of the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.  Cook and stir occasionally over medium high heat until the sugar melts and the blueberries are soft and mushy- about 5-7 minutes.

    In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the 3 tablespoons cornstarch with the 3 tablespoons lime juice.  Mix well until fully combined, and then add to your saucepot.  Cook and stir constantly until thickened.  It will become very thick.

    Add the remaining cherries, zest if using, cinnamon, ginger, salt and butter.  Stir until well combined and the butter is melted- this mixture will be thick.

    Scoop the mixture into your prepared pie crust, add the top crust and cut three vents into the crust.  Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

    Bake in a 375ºF oven for 30 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350ºF and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling up through the vents and the crust is a beautiful golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before slicing into it- it slices more cleanly if you can wait a whole day.

  • 6 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
    2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
    3/4 cup water
    2-3 Tablespoons sunflower oil
    1 pound ground beef
    1 large onion, minced
    2 carrots, diced
    handful of fine green beans, trimmed and sliced diagonally (I used one head of broccoli)
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried, ground)

    Directions:

    Mix together the hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and water in a small bowl.  Set aside.

    Heat a wok until hot.  Add the oil, then add the beef and stir-fry it until browned.  Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.

    Add more oil to the wok if necessary (I did not need more oil), then toss in the onion and stir-fry for 4 minutes.  Add the carrots and the beans (or broccoli) and stir fry for 2 minutes.  (I gave it closer to 4 or 5 because of the broccoli), then add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute longer.

    Pour in the hoisin sauce mixture, stir in the beef, and cook for 3 minutes.  Serve immediately.

  • from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Family Favorites

    serves 8

    1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    1 cup hoisin sauce
    1/2 cup honey
    1/2 cup pineapple juice or papaya nectar (I used 1/2 cup crushed pineapple)
    1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
    1/4 cup peanut or sesame oil
    2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    8 pounds country-style pork spareribs, cut into serving pieces of 3 to 4 ribs

    1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, hoisin, honey, pineapple juice, vinegar, oil and garlic.  Add the ribs and turn to completely coat them with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

    2. Arrange the ribs in the slow cooker and pour the marinade over them.  If you are using a round cooker, lift the ribs so the sauce can get between them.  Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, until the meat is tender and starts to separate from the bone.  Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

  • from Bon Appetit’s Fast, Easy, Fresh Cookbook

    12 ounces rigatoni (I used 16 ounces- an entire box)
    1 1/2 cups diced ham (about 8 ounces- and this you could buy from the deli pre-chopped)
    4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
    1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1 cup (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
    1 cup heavy whipping cream

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Butter a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.  Cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender- but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.  Drain.  Place in prepared baking dish.  Mix in ham, tomatoes, cheeses and thyme.  Pour cream over.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to blend.  Cover with foil.

    Bake pasta 15 minutes.  Uncover and stir to coat pasta evenly with melted cheeses.  Cover again. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes longer.

    Makes 6 servings.

  • quinoa salad
    from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

    2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or other small-kernel grain or 1 cup raw
    1 large or 2 medium (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes
    Salt
    1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
    1/4 cup minced red onion or shallot
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I cut this in half)
    2 tablespoons balsamic, sherry or red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup minced fresh chives or parsley leaves

    Directions:

    If you haven’t already, cook the quinoa or other grain according to package directions.  Drain in a strainer and rinse.  Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and dice it into 1/2-inch or smaller pieces.  Cook it in boiling water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain well.

    Toss together the quinoa, potato, bell pepper, and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Whisk the oil and vinegar together and toss the salad with about half of this mixture; add all or some of the rest to taste.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the chives (or parsley) and serve.

  • 100_5768

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup milk
    additional flour for rolling

    Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the beaten eggs and pulse a few times until evenly combined.

    Turn on the food processor, and slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup milk.  Process until the dough comes together in a ball.

    Remove the dough from the processor and knead it two or three times.  Set the ball of dough aside for ten minutes to rest.  If you would like to let it rest longer, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap.

    Divide the dough into four equal portions.  One at a time, roll them out to the desired thickness, flouring as you go to keep the dough from sticking to itself.  Use a pasta roller to cut the dough into ribbons, or roll it up and use a sharp knife to cut it.

    Allow the noodles to dry for at least an hour before cooking.  To cook them, bring a large pot of salted water to boiling, and cook the noodles for about five minutes- beginning to test them around three minutes to see if they are cooked through.

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