New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Turkish Moussaka

Eggplant = favorite food.  My friend, Jan, shared this delicious recipe with me.  I love how simple it is and it’s not as rich as many Moussaka recipes.  I only had cheddar cheese on hand when I made it, but it would be great with Feta or other mild cheeses.

I made this dish without rice or yogurt, but enjoyed it with a nice class of red wine from my favorite winery, InVINtions.  

TURKISH MOUSSAKA

2 globe eggplants, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound ground beef (or omit if Vegan/Vegetarian)
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced/diced
2-3 green or sweet peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 petite tomatoes, diced (I used Compari tomatoes)
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil for eggplant and another 1/4 cup for sauce
salt and black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1-2 tablespoons dried parsley)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease a 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish.
  • Place cubed eggplant in a bowl. Add salt and 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Toss and mix well to assure the cubes are covered in olive oil.
  • Spread the eggplant over a baking sheet, layered with parchment paper. Bake until brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan.  Add ground beef and cook thoroughly until it is dry.  While cooking, crush the ground beef with the back of a spoon.
  • Add onion and peppers and cook on medium heat until soft, but not browned.
  • Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • When the tomatoes are cooked (turning darker red), add one cup boiling water.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Place eggplant cubes in baking dish.  Top with sauce and mix.  (Optional:  add sliced tomatoes on top). If using dried parley, sprinkle on top.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • If you want to serve without cheese, sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve.
    • If using cheese, sprinkle on top, and put back in oven until cheese in melted.
  • Serve as is or serve hot with rice and Greek yogurt.
Garden · Home · New Favorite

Layered Baked Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a vegetable side dish filled with wonderful flavors.  Every time I say the word ‘Ratatouille’ I have to smile and think of the Disney animated film Ratatouille. The young rat, Remy, dreams of becoming a famous French chef.  Such a funny film, great to watch with children, grandchildren or in the privacy of your own adult home…no one needs to know you’re watching a cartoon!

Celebrate after watching the film by enjoying the real deal!

LAYERED BAKED RATATOUILLE

2 cups (16 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry) (plus more for sprinkling)
½ tsp. salt (plus more for sprinkling)
¼ tsp. pepper (plus more for sprinkling)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced*
2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced*
2 small eggplant, thinly sliced*
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1” squares
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, to top (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Spread 1 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a 9 inch cast iron skillet. In a small bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the base of your skillet.
  • Layer the sliced vegetables vertically around the skillet, packing them as tight as you can. (We find that it is easier to layer the zucchini, squash, and eggplant in the skillet and then go back in and tuck the red peppers within the layers after the other vegetables have been filled in.)
  • Season the top of the vegetables with additional salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the vegetables are softened and starting to brown slightly.
  • Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe from Curiouscuisinere.com

New Favorite

OMG Scrambled Eggs…with Pesto, Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes & Peppers

OMG Scrambled Eggs were an experiment, a gamble that paid off.  ‘OMG’ was the first thought that came into my head when I took the first bite. Adding the coincidentally roasted fresh tomatoes and peppers was a fantastic addition.
I also made this recipe combining the tomatoes and peppers into the egg cups and loved them as well.
The recipe could be adapted easily to add more bacon, cheese, pesto or whatever floats your boat. Worth trying!  I may be dreaming of this tonight.

OMG SCRAMBLED EGGS

3 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) stemmed and chopped
1 dozen eggs, whisked
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
roasted tomatoes and peppers (optional)
  • Sauté the bacon in a non-stick skillet until cooked about half way.
  • Add onions and cook through.  Drain most of the bacon fat off.
  • Add Swiss chard and cook until it wilts.
  • Add the eggs, salt and pepper, and pesto.
  • Stir the eggs often to assure they cook through.
  • Add cheese when eggs are about half way cooked.
Serve with warm roasted tomatoes and peppers.
MUFFIN EGG CUPS: Mix all ingredients together, including the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers. Grease muffin tins and bake egg cups at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done in the center and golden brown.
New Favorite · Vegetarian

Quinoa Omelette Bites

I am a protein breakfast person.  Straight carbs just don’t last for me.  If I eat cereal or toast, I’m starving in an hour. My typical breakfast is either Greek yogurt or an egg, with a strong cup of coffee. My dear friend, Jan, told me about this wonderful recipe.

I modified the original recipe to fit my taste buds and loved the results. The next morning I reheated in the microwave and they were equally as good and  filling.  Hello breakfast for the week!

QUINOA OMELETTE BITES

1 cup quinoa, warm
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1 egg white & 1 whole egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced green or red bell peppers
1/4 cup minced sweet onion

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  • Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  Chop and microwave, on high, the onions and peppers, for 1.5 to 2 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the warm quinoa with the cheese to melt the cheese.  Add the eggs, garlic, salt, spinach, peppers and onion.  Stir to combine all ingredients.
  • Spoon mixture into mini muffin tins, filling to the top.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tins.  Run a small knife around the edges to loosen and pop out of the tins.

Recipe adapted from Tablespoon.com

New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Summer Veggie Stir Fry

Recently I went to the Highland Ranch Town Center Farmer’s Market,  http://www.denverfarmersmarket.com/locations.htm, a dangerous place to be when you are hungry. My daughter, Megan, and son-in-law, Christian, and I strolled through the market sampling and buying more than we really needed.  However, the wonderful dishes that came from the veggies and fruit were summer delicious! There is nothing in the world like fresh vegetables and fruits.

We bought a squash new to us, a round, globe squash. I asked the vendor how she cooks the squash and one of her suggestions was a Vegetable Stir Fry. I also decided to throw in a chopped Japanese Eggplant.   I tried, I liked, I shared.  Enjoy!

SUMMER VEGGIE STIR FRY

Chopped yellow squash, globe squash, zucchini, eggplant (optional), peppers (bell, Anaheim or whatever you like), onion, garlic, fresh sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, herbs of your choice (I used a blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, and basil), salt & pepper.

Sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When softened, add the chopped squash, eggplant, peppers and seasoning. When the squash is beginning to soften, add cut cooked fresh sweet corn and 1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes. Continue to cook/stir until all vegetables are cooked to your liking.

I made a large batch and had leftovers for 2 days. It seemed to get better every day, just like a wonderful batch of soup.

Family Favorites · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Fresh Peach Salsa…Oh my!

Peach Salsa was a new discovery a few years ago.  We’re lucky to live in the great state of Colorado which produces some of the finest peaches in the world.  I love salsa, but fresh peach salsa is my favorite.  My family has grown very fond of it and we can’t wait to have the first peach salsa of the season.

Peach Salsa was served last year as one of the dishes at daughter Megan’s bridal shower and included in the favor of three of her favorite dips.  Today we’ll savor it and enjoy the last few days of summer in Colorado.

PEACH SALSA

2 cups diced fresh peaches
1/2 cup sweet onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
fresh lime juice
salt

Mix all ingredients together. Fantastic with chips; also great with grilled fish or chicken.

Family Favorites · New Favorite · New Traditions

Refrigerator Crock Salad…a slaw with many faces

My Mother occasionally made this salad, often with fresh ingredients from her garden.  The last time I made this recipe was 15+ years ago for a Christmas party.  This week I resurrected the recipe and tried it out in several ways.  Each combination was wonderful.

Refrigerator Crock Salad

1)  Side dish to barbecue ANYTHING

2)  Pairs very well with fish and would be GREAT on fish tacos

3)  On a sandwich (daughter Sarah’s fiancé, Kyle, put it on a turkey, cheese, and ham salad combo sandwich).  Sounds incredibly weird, but delicious!

Besides being delicious, this salad keeps in the refrigerator for several days.  In fact it just keeps getting better and better.

REFRIGERATOR CROCK SALAD

1 head green cabbage
2 green sweet bell peppers
2 red or orange sweet bell peppers
4 carrots
2 onions
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 cups white cider vinegar
2.5 cups sugar

  • Shred cabbage, peppers, carrots, onions in a large bowl.  Soak in salt water for 2 hours.  Drain well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar and the sugar.  Pour over shredded ingredients and refrigerate.  Let sit for a minimum of 3-4 hours before serving.