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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sometimes a week comes together

Rarely, if ever, am I organized.  My house is a mess, my suit is still at the dry cleaner when I need it, and I have absolutely no idea where my keys are, ever.   And, I'm terrible when it comes to meal planning (which is what led to the resurrection of this blog!)   I never know exactly what we are going to eat on any given night -- even though I try to have a few ideas together so I can go shopping for the upcoming week.   But last week was one of those rare gems when a week of cooking (using almost entirely things in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry) comes together.

The week before, on a whim, I bought a bag of eggplants at Costco.  That's right, four little fresh baby eggplants that I had to figure out how to cook.  I scoured Pinterest looking for recipes and ideas, only to decide that a simple ratatouille was the best option.  I also had peppers, onions and zucchini on hand to fill it out.  I did send Justin to the store for a baguette to complete the meal.  


We had about 1-1/2cups of leftovers, so the next day, I threw those in with a can of organic, unsalted roma tomatoes, and ended up with a delicious "special sauce."  I had two eggplants remaining which I turned into an eggplant parmigiana casserole which I served with just a bit of spaghetti.  I made extra spaghetti to send with the remaining special sauce in Oliver's thermos for lunches.  


Wednesday night I decided to try making pinto beans in the crock pot.   I used my handheld emulsifier to turn them into "refried" beans.   Next time I would add a few additional spices to kick it up a notch, but the method is definitely a keeper!   These weren't actually ready to eat on Wednesday, so it was a bit of a free for all.   But, Thursday we put those beans to good use with bean tacos and burritos.  We ate out Friday night, but ate leftovers on Saturday and there were still enough left over for a couple of lunches this week.

All in all, I love it when a lack of plan comes together!

Ratatouille

Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 Tsp. thyme
  • 1 red pepper, stems, seeds and pith removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, same
  • 2 small  eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Fresh basil leaves, cut 
Directions

Coat a large wide pan with olive oil. Add the onions, season with salt and crushed red pepper and bring the pan to a medium heat. Cook the onions until they are soft and very aromatic but have no color, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, thyme and salt. Cook the tomatoes until they become very pulpy and have broken apart, 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the peppers and cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, and zucchini, season with salt and cook until the squash is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in the basil and taste to make sure the seasoning is correct. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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