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


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?


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.

Easter Recipes: Italian Sprinkle Cookies – Taralli

Delicious and Colorful Taralli Cookies

Delicious and Colorful Taralli Cookies

It’s almost time for the Easter bunny to pay a visit and that means it is time to do some Easter baking. Forget about the ham, it’s all about making taralli cookies. I always post this recipe at Easter and Christmas time, that is when our family typically makes these very special cookies. They are so yummy with a hot cup of tea or coffee, or an ice cold glass of milk. Be sure to leave a plate of them out for the Easter bunny, along with some carrots of course!

Click on the Recipe Rescue tab to view this recipe. Have you ever had Taralli’s before? Sometimes they are made with anise or lemon extract instead of vanilla, either added to the cookie or the glaze. Let me know what flavor is your favorite by clicking on the title of this post (above) and then scrolling down to leave a comment. Happy Easter!

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!

Chicken Noodle Slurp!

This soup is loaded with egg noodles!

This soup is loaded with egg noodles!

This time of year, I make homemade soup on a weekly basis.  There is something so warm and comforting about a bowl of homemade soup, especially if it is loaded with noodles.  I’ve recently discovered how yummy and satisfying egg noodles are when added to my chicken noodle soup.  Just serve a hearty wedge of bread alongside it and you have a light and healthy lunch or supper to warm you when it’s chilly outside .  The leftover noodles not used in the soup are deliciously silky with some butter and parmesan cheese – another comfort food!  This version of my chicken noodle soup really cooks up quickly if the noodles are already cooked and placed in a container in the fridge with a little olive oil to keep them separated.  It also helps if the carrot and celery sticks are already prepared.  See my earlier post on: Storing Celery and Carrot sticks.

Give this recipe a try by clicking here or on the Dinner 911 tab at the top of this page. Note this recipe has been removed to make room for another Dinner 911 recipe.

What is your favorite soup?  Click on the blog title at the top of the page and scroll down to leave a comment.  Thanks and enjoy!

Cupcakes for Dogs and Owners



My sweet dachshund, Brook, had surgery today.  When I’m worried, it helps to stay busy, so I made Brook some mini cupcakes that are surprisingly yummy for humans too.  The cupcakes are low in sugar, getting  just a touch of sweetness from molasses and honey crunch wheat germ.  As a special treat, we “frost” the cupcake with plain, lowfat yogurt.  A little yogurt is great for dogs and Brook loves it.  For us humans, enjoy “as is”, or try adding a small amount of butter and/or jam.  These are a wonderful breakfast muffin for people with diabetes, or anyone trying to avoid sugar.

Brook’s doing well and has already enjoyed her first cupcake (so have I!).  If you want to make a special treat for you and your pooch, try the recipe below.  If you do, leave a comment to let us know what you think.

Doggie Cupcakes or Mini-Muffins to us Humans

Doggie Cupcakes


1 1/2 C King Arthur white whole wheat flour

1/4 C old-fashioned oats                                                                           

1/4 C honey crunch wheat germ

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp iodized salt                                                                         

1/4 C molasses                                                                            

1/2 C water                                                                                        

2 T vegetable oil                                                                       

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 3500F.

Spray mini-muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, stir together molasses, water, oil and eggs.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together flour, oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the molasses mixture.  Stir gently until just combined.

Use a melon ball scoop to spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, approximately 2/3rds full, or just level with the top of the cup.  Bake until cake tester comes out clear – approx. 12 – 14 min.  Remove from oven and cool 5 min. before removing from muffin pan onto cooling racks.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Makes 24 mini muffins.  Freezes well.

If you are tempted to add raisins to this recipe – Don’t Do It!  Raisins are toxic to dogs.  Here’s a link to with information about what NOT to feed your doggie:

To find out about white whole wheat flour, check out:

Recipe courtesy of

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!

Meatless Monday

In addition to, which I blogged about recently, there is another “Monday” movement for people to latch onto.  You can combine the two and have a meatless, kids-cook Monday, or have a meatless Monday and cook with the kids on a different day during the week.  Either way, it’s all good!

As the website name indicates, is dedicated to helping people reduce their meat consumption, starting with just one day a week.  The site provides nutrition and health news, recipes and cooking demos, as well as resources to help schools and organizations reduce meat consumption.  So, click on over to the the Meatless Monday website and check-out their extensive library of meatless recipes.  It’s a great way to get a healthy meal on the table and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time!

Ham and Cheese Calzone

This calzone is made using Pillsbury Hot Roll mix again!  This is such a versatile mix and it’s easy to use.  We call this “Big Ham Loaf”, as my friend’s son, Jack, aptly named it when he was a toddler.  Despite the name, you can fill it with whatever you like.  I make half chicken and half ham to keep my family happy.  I’ve always wanted to try spinach and ricotta, so let me know if you try that combination.  Whatever you use for a filling, this is a hearty and satisfying meal that can be prepared in a little over an hour.  This calzone recipe is worth a try!

Click on the Dinner 911 page for the recipe (Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make way for another Dinner 911 recipe.  Don’t worry, it will return for a comeback!)

 It really is a big ham loaf!