Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This was a delicious dinner. I love the slow cooker. We had a lot of activity going on at home today. The slow cooker enabled us to have a fantastic meal with little work. I found the recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore on fitslowcookqueen.com.

I used all chicken breasts for the recipe.


Of course, there was a lull in activity so I took advantage of the time and made some homemade pasta. The recipe I always use for pasta is from Tide and Thyme.


Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients -
3 lbs chicken breast or thighs
1 onion, sliced
15 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes
15 ounces tomato sauce
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Method-
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
Stir to mix well.
Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6


General Tso's Chicken


30 Minute Meal! This recipe is from EatingWell. I, of course, made an adjustment or two. We love this recipe. The Green Beans are from my sister and her husband's garden.



General Tso's Chicken

Ingredients
5 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, divided
1 large egg white
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 cups Green Beans

Method -
Combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and rice wine (or sherry) and egg white in a bowl.
Add chicken and stir to coat.
Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornstarch, soy sauce and rice wine (or sherry), water, hoisin and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken; cook without turning, breaking up stuck-together pieces, until golden on the bottom, 2 minutes. Stir; continue cooking until golden on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Green Beans; cook, stirring often, until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan; cook, stirring

until heated through, about 1 minute more.

Eggplant Parmigiana - Campania


The Eggplant Parmigiana Battle continues tonight. Besides the eggplant for the pizza, I also ended up with 2 dishes of Eggplant Parmigiana. Tonight we had Eggplant Parmigiana, Campania. I was lucky to have a Focaccia bread in the freezer.


The Eggplant Parmigiana was delicious. I do believe frying the eggplant makes a huge difference. I usually bake Eggplant Parmigiana. I try to make the healthy choices but this was a delicious choice.

Eggplant Parmigiana, Campania

Ingredients-
2 lbs eggplant (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 lbs tomato puree
1 bunch fresh basil
5 oz mozzarella
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt

Method-
Trim the ends of the eggplants, peel them and slice them. Salt them and set them aside for half an hour to lose their bitter taste; rinse and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomato puree, salt, and a few basil leaves, then cook down at very low heat until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan, cook the eggplant slices a few at a time and drain well.
Pour some tomato sauce into the baking and cover it with a layer of the fried eggplant slices along with some mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with more sauce and make another layer of eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ending with a layer of tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is crisp. Serve at room temperature.

Ham, Tomato and Onion Quiche


I am looking forward to Fall. It will be here on Saturday but I pulled out the leaf cookie cutters today.
The crust is my usual Pate Brisee. The filling was sauteed onions, diced ham, and sliced tomato from the last of the tomatoes from Lenore and Ralph's garden.


I usually use the quiche filling recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. This is the basic filling recipe-
Beat 3 eggs and mix with 1 1/2 cups milk or cream, (I use low-fat milk) Season with salt, nutmeg, and fresh ground pepper. Pour filling into crust. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until filling is set. Depending on the size of the pie dish I am using I may reduce the # of eggs and milk. 
A good hint is to put your other fillings in the crust and pull out the oven rack and place the pie dish on the rack and then pour in the egg and milk mixture into the crust. Less chance for spillage.

The Eggplant Parmigiana Battle: Campania vs Puglia


Thank you, Lenore, for dropping off these beautiful eggplants. I opened La Cucina The Regional Cooking of Italy to find an authentic Eggplant Parmigiana recipe. I found 2 recipes. One from the Campania and another from Puglia. The difference in the two is the Campania recipe does not coat the sliced eggplant in flour and egg. I decided to try both so we could decide which we liked better.





I put both on our pizza tonight. Along with the usual sauce, homemade Marinara, Mozzarella, Parmesan and a little Ricotta Cheese.

Which side did we prefer? 
We devoured both sides.


Eggplant Parmigiana - Campania

Ingredients-
2 lbs eggplant (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 lbs tomato puree
1 bunch fresh basil
5 oz mozzarella
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt

Method-
Trim the ends of the eggplants, peel them and slice them. Salt them and set them aside for half an hour to lose their bitter taste; rinse and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomato puree, salt, and a few basil leaves, then cook down at very low heat until thickened.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another pan, cook the eggplant slices a few at a time and drain well.
Pour some tomato sauce into the baking and cover it with a layer of the fried eggplant slices along with some mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with more sauce and make another layer of eggplant, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, ending with a layer of tomato sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the surface is crisp. Serve at room temperature.



Eggplant Parmigiana - Puglia



Ingredients-
1 lb eggplant (about 2medium)
olive oil
flour for dredging
2 eggs, beaten
1.2 cups tomato puree (I used Marinara Sauce)
3/4 cup mozzarella
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt

Method-
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Peel the eggplants, cut them lengthwise in thin slices, then salt and drain for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a high-sided pan.
Dip the eggplant slices in flour and egg and fry until golden on both sides.
Cover bottom of an ovenproof pan with tomato puree and cover this with a layer of fried eggplant.
add mozzarella, more sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, then make another layer of eggplant. Continue the layers until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of tomato puree and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until the top is golden brown about 20 minutes.

Gnocchi with Eggplant Balls and Vodka Sauce

 
I was so happy when I opened the freezer and found a container of Vodka Sauce and a container of Eggplant Meatballs. As much as I love 3 day weekends, the 4 day work week is a challenge.

The Vodka Sauce was made without cream. Not because I don't like the cream but I did not have any in the fridge when I made this.

Ingredients-
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c chopped onions
2 tbsp olive oil
6oz vodka
1 c milk
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
up to 1/2 c parmesan cheese (freshly grated, optional)

Method-
Heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and cook to translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and stir into onions until softened a bit. Add can of crushed tomatoes and stir into onion-paste well. Stir in vodka and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes so alcohol can cook down. Stir in up to 1 cup of milk until thinned and light enough to your preference. Add freshly grated parmesan for a little extra kick.


The Eggplant Balls recipe is from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook. I think the next time I make these I may fry them. These got surprisingly good reviews from Chris. (Eggplant is not one of his favorites!)

Ingredients -
1/4 cup olive
2 large eggplants, peeled and diced
2 tbsp water
2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
4 oz shredded mozzarella
4 eggs, lightly beaten, I would start with 3 eggs and then add the 4th if mixture seems dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour for rolling the eggplant balls

Method - 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced eggplant and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the heat and turn into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, basil, mozzarella, eggs (see note above about number of eggs to use), Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.

Form the mixture into meatball size balls. Gently roll each ball in the flour to coat evenly.
Bake in a preheated 350-degrees oven about 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.

If It's Sunday...


Have our dinners become too predictable? Yes it is Sunday and yes we are having pizza. But not just any pizza. A leftovers pizza. We had an extra pork chop that no one ate last night and those peppers and onions could not be wasted. Yes I even put the leftover zucchini on the pie. It was delicious! We ate almost the whole thing!



Pork Rib Chops with Peppers


An easy dinner tonight. The recipe is from the Martha Stewart site. Pork Rib Chops with Sweet Peppers. The meat was moist and the peppers and onions just melted together. We will have this recipe again. The recipe is a perfect under 30 minute meal for a weeknight dinner.



Ingredients-
4 bone-in pork rib chops (each about 8 ounces and about 1/2 inch thick)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound sweet peppers (3 or 4), such as red and yellow bell peppers, stems and ribs discarded, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings

1 medium red onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

2 sprigs fresh basil, plus small basil leaves, for garnish

1/4 cup cider vinegar

Method-
Season chops with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper total. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chops, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook peppers, onion, and basil, gently stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and turn golden in places, about 7 minutes.

Return chops along with any accumulated juices on plate to skillet, placing them on top of vegetables.

Add vinegar, cover, and cook until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops (do not touch bone) reaches 145 degrees, about 3 minutes.

Discard basil sprigs and divide chops and vegetables evenly among 4 plates. Garnish with basil leaves.