Slow Cooker Eggplant Stew: Summer’s Bounty in a Crock Pot

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If you are up to your ears in vegetables from your garden, this ratatouille should do the trick. It’s a hearty vegetable stew, also known as ratatouille, that is delicious by itself or served over whole grain pasta, cous cous, quinoa or rice. I’ve even spooned it on slices of toasted French bread and used it as a pizza topping. Feel free to adjust the recipe to include your favorite vegetables, but don’t forget the chick peas (garbanzo beans) – I love those little guys, don’t you?

CROCK POT RATATOUILLE – EGGPLANT STEW

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 small Italian eggplants, peeled and chopped
1/8 tspn. pepper
3/4 tspn. salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 medium zucchini, seeded and chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tspn. thyme flakes
1 1/2 tspn. basil flakes

Heat oil on med. heat and saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add eggplant and season with salt and pepper, cooking 5 more minutes. Turn heat to low and cover, cooking an additional 5 – 8 minutes or until eggplant are tender. Transfer to slow cooker and add peppers, zucchini and chick peas (garbanzo beans).
In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, basil and thyme and mix well. Pour into crock pot and stir all ingredients together. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours and high for 4 – 5 hours.


Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tomato Sauce with Eggplant

Chunky Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Chunky Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Spring has finally arrived and I just want to be outside to enjoy it. Whether it’s gardening, walking the dog or just sitting and knitting on the porch, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time indoors cooking. That’s where the crock pot comes in handy – it’s not just for hearty, winter-time fare. This eggplant tomato sauce is as warm and delicious as any cold-weather comfort food, but it’s also light and healthy, brimming with vegetables. This is an easy vegetarian dish, perfect for meatless Monday, or any day of the week when you want to let the slow cooker do the work while you are outdoors enjoying a lovely spring day. Enjoy!

What are your favorite eggplant recipes? Click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.

Eggplant Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) petite diced tomatos, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup mild or medium salsa
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbspn. balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 tspn. oregano
1/4 tspn. salt, plus extra for preparing the eggplant
2 cups jar tomato sauce

Prepare the eggplant by sprinkling salt on both sides of each slice and placing it in a colander for 1/2 hour to 1 hour. Set the colander over a plate to catch the liquid. When the time is up, use paper towels to wipe off the salt and absorb any excess moisture from the eggplant slices. Use a knife to cut away the peel from the outer edge of each slice. Then chop the slices into 1/2-inch pieces.

Mix the chopped eggplant, tomatoes with juice, onion, pepper, salsa, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano and salt in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 7 – 8 hours on low, until vegetables are soft. Do not lift the lid or stir while cooking.

At the end of the cooking time, add your favorite tomato sauce and stir. Replace lid and allow to cook another 5 – 10 minutes until sauce is hot and ready to serve.

Enjoy over cous cous, rice or pasta.


Easter Recipes: Spinach Ricotta Pie

Spinach Pie for Easter Brunch

Spinach Pie for Easter Brunch

The Spanish Onions and Cheddar Cheese Add to the Flavor of the Pie

The Red Onion and Cheddar Cheese Add to the Flavor of the Pie

Easter is almost here and that usually means Easter brunch. This spinach quiche, or pie as I like to call it, is perfect for any meal or snack, even without a holiday. Since only one egg is used, it really is less like a quiche and more like a pie. The crust is an easy “pat-in-pan” recipe that is no-fuss and foolproof. If you prefer, Pillsbury makes refrigerated pie crusts as well. The savory filling has chopped spinach, chopped onion, part-skim ricotta and just a hint of cheddar cheese; the aroma in the kitchen is wonderful while the pie is baking.

What are some of your favorite Easter recipes and traditions? Please click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.

Happy Easter and click on the Dinner 911 tab for this recipe – Enjoy!


Stuffed Peppers with Couscous and Broccoli

A Healthy and Light Lunch or Dinner

A Healthy and Light Lunch or Dinner


This recipe makes for a satisfying and healthy lunch or dinner. It is written for two people, but can be doubled as needed. This is an easy-to-prepare recipe, especially if you happen to have leftover broccoli and couscous in your refridgerator already. The most time-consuming part is preparing the peppers, but it is worth the effort. The roasted peppers are full of flavor and make the perfect “bowl” for the stuffing. If you are vegan, just omit the cheddar cheese. If not, I have to say that the savory flavor of the cheese marries beautifully with the smokiness of the peppers and broccoli. These stuffed peppers are a perfect healthy lunch or dinner, especially if you are following the Mediterranean Diet or looking for a Meatless Monday recipe that will please the whole family.

Click on the Dinner 911 tab (on the top right) for the recipe and be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post to let us know what you think. Just click on the title of this post and scroll down to comment. **Note: This recipe has been removed to make room for another delicious recipe.

For more information on Near East cous cous, click here.

Enjoy and Happy Meatless Monday!


Satisfying Pasta Fagioli Soup is Loaded with Vegetables

Easy and Delicious Pasta Fagioli Soup

The weather may be getting warmer, but I’m still in “soup-mode”.  Soup is a meal-in-a-bowl and it can warm you on the inside unlike any UVA rays can!  I’m actually good at making soup, which is why I like it so much.  I often make a pot of soup after I’ve thrown one of my recipe disasters into the trash.  My version of pasta fagioli soup is almost vegetarian, except for the chicken broth, which can be substituted with vegetable broth.  Not only does it have my favorite beans, white beans, but it is also chock full of flavorful green beans, carrots, onions, celery and tomatoes.  It’s perfect for a light lunch or dinner, or a healthy beginning to your main course.

Click on the Dinner 911 page at the top to enjoy this recipe – Note: This recipe has been removed to make room for another delicious recipe.

***What’s your favorite soup – let us know!  Also, please let us know if you try this recipe.  Just click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.***


Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

Cooks all day for a thick and tasty sauce!

Pasta is big in our family and it’s such an easy and economical meal.  I love homemade spaghetti sauce, but I don’t like feeling as though I am chained to the stove while it cooks for hours over a low burner.  The crockpot is a great solution for making a decadently thick sauce that tastes good even the first time you serve it.  This sauce freezes well and can be used in a variety of dishes.  The carrot in the sauce adds sweetness and texture, I promise I’m not trying to “sneak in” vegetables!  Any canned, strained tomatoes can be used, but I believe POMI is the best choice for making sauce.

Here’s a link if you want to learn more about POMI Tomatoes.

Who needs a tomato garden when you have POMI?

This sauce freezes well

Click here or on the Dinner 911 page for this recipe – Enjoy!

***What dishes do you use with tomato sauce?  Do you have a favorite store-bought sauce?  Don’t worry, there is no shame in using a jar sauce!  Click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.***


Zucchini Pie for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

Is it correct to call something a “pie” if it is crustless and baked in a square pan?  Well, that’s what we have always called this wonderful recipe that I have enjoyed since I was a kid.  Back then, my eighty-five year-old grandfather lived with us and tended a large garden in our backyard.  He took such good care of the garden, there was never a weed to be found.  Sometimes he would yell at us in Italian if we had to run in and retrieve a ball.  I remember him stringing-up his old pair of long underwear to scare away the birds, but that only lasted a day until my mom made him take it down.  She must have had this recipe memorized during July and August when the zucchini harvest was in full swing! 

Enjoy this time-tested recipe by clicking on the “Recipe Rescue” page (**Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make room for another recipe rescue**).  The oil in the recipe has been cut in half from the original – it simply was not necessary to have so much oil.  Although I cut the fat by reducing the oil, I increased the amount of cheese from the original recipe.  To lighten things up, use less cheese or 50% low-fat cheeses.  Or, try just 1/4 cup of grated parmesan – the strong flavor goes a long way.  And hey, there’s no crust, so that saves a ton of fat right there.  This zucchini pie can be enjoyed as a side dish or a light lunch or dinner.  I have been known to eat it cold for breakfast as well – enjoy!


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