Eggplant Lasagna

Since I am about to go into full on anti-social mode – aka season as a coach, I decided to really branch out of my crock pot zone and create an eggplant parmesan. In all honesty, my experiences with eggplant is very limited. In fact, I have never made it before today. So I went to my favorite resource, Pintrest and researched how to make eggplant – after I had already made the Eggplant Lasagna

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 container of kale
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette
  • 5 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 piece of vegan mozzarella cheese
  • garlic powder

 

Preheat the oven to 425, and put the sliced eggplant covered with olive oil and garlic powder into the oven for 15 minutes. (I did not do this, and I very much regret it. My eggplant was very tough and needed more time to cook. So next time I will precook the eggplant).

While the eggplant is in the oven, slice the tomatoes, and rinse the kale. Once out of the oven, in a pan about 9″ x 9″, layer your sliced eggplant, then tomato and then kale and repeat. Once you have reached the top part of your pan, evenly pour on your balsamic vinaigrette across the towers. Then put on your mozzarella and cover with tin foil. Let the whole dish sit for a few hours in the fridge. (This is not necessary, but what I had to do because I had to go to work that day. Otherwise you can pop it straight into the oven).

Put the dish in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes with the tin foil on. Then remove the tin foil, and broil the dish for 2 – 5 minutes so the cheese melts and get a bit brown. Serve hot.

Review:

Since I straight up had no idea how to make eggplant, I would say my dish was a bit al dente. My friends disagreed and said it was great. But I think they say that so I keep making them food. I want to make this dish again, but with having the eggplant actually cooked through.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $10.00
  • Total Time: 50 minutes, 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking. Longer if you let the dish chill in the fridge
  • Serving Size: 6 – 8 pieces
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Salsa Chicken in a Sweet Potato

imageMy roommate deserves full credit for this post. She taught me an amazing trick for this crockpot dish, and the main reason for me posting such an easy recipe, is I really like my food photo I took to go a long with the post. (Thanks Instagram!)

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 package, ~ 3 lbs of chicken thighs
  • 1 jar of mild salsa, 12 oz. (whatever spice level you want works here)

That’s it. Literally, put the chicken in the crockpot, add your jar of salsa. Put the crockpot on low for 5 hours, and you are done.

Once the chicken was done, I added black beans, red onions, and cut up cherry tomatoes to my chicken and put it on a baked sweet potato with some melted cheese. The chicken is a great base for any dish you need to make. Could work for tacos, quesadillas, or just on top of a salad! Thanks roommate!

Review:

Delicious! This will become me week go to!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $12.00 – chicken and the jar
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Serving Size: 6 meals

Christmas Dinner Part 3: Chicken Korma 

This dish proved to be the most difficult dish to cook, with way more time than I allowed per usual. I really thought that this time I had read the recipe enough to know how much time was needed. But nope. Per usual, that did not happen. Instead, I made it work. (Thanks Tom Gunn).

Recipe: 

Ingredients:

For chicken:

  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs and breast
  • 2 tsp. Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Garam  masala 
  • 2 tbsp. Curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper

For sauce

  • 2 white onions
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 tsp. Curry powder
  • 2 tsp. Turmeric
  • 2 tsp. Garam masala
  • 1 tsp. Ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 3 tbsp. Olive oil 
  • 3 large tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 small chile
  • 1 tbsp. Brown sugar

To prep for this dish I again had all of the spices ore made before the trip to the mountains, which was a huge time saver and great for blending everything together. As instructed, this time I actually put the chicken in the fridge with the spices over night to really let the chicken soak up the flavor. I would love to use these spices again on chicken in general. Actually, the only spice I think that I really like is Garam Masala. I think I just want that spice on everything!

After the chicken marinated, I cooked the chicken in a skillet and olive oil for about 10 minutes, just until cooked. I removed the chicken off of skillet pan, and reduce the heat to medium, where I sautéed the onion, tomatoes and garlic. Once those had browned a little bit, I added the spices, and everything else. I let that all simmer for 15 minutes (it was suppose to be 30, but I did not have that kind of time). I then put in my bite size pieces of chicken into the sauce, almost  causing for the whole pan to overflow. Well it kind of did while I let the whole thing simmer for about 5 minutes before I served the whole dish with Nann (1/2 cup gluten free flower, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 1 cup coconut milk and cooked like a pancake). 

  

Review:

The better of the two dishes, and much better the next day. In fact, I really wish I had let it simmer the full time to get the full flavor! It was good, not as creamy as the restaurant style, but good none the less. The chicken tiki masala from last year was better, but I am glad I made this dish and I’d try it again!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: ??? Thanks Mom and Dad
  • Total Time: 15 prep, 45 cooking – 1 hour
  • Serving size: 6 – 12 dishes 

Christmas Dinner Part 2: Vegetable Vindaloo

So the story of making Christmas Dinner continues, and most of this I did without the help of my Sous Chef. I decided to take a meat recipe – this Chicken Vindaloo Recipe and make it vegetarian style by only cooking veggies. However, I learned along the way that I definitely need to do a few things differently.

Recipe:

Ingredients: 

  • 1 head of broccoli cut up
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut up
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 container of mushrooms
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp. vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger grated
  • 3/4 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground hot pepper
  • 1 tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (I ended up adding closer to 2 cups)
  • 1 cinnamon stick

The major Uh-oh of this recipe was when I read for how long the crock pot was suppose to be on with the chicken, I needed 5 hours at low and I only had 3 hours before I wanted dinner on the table. So I quickly put all of my veggies (I had them pre-cut) into the crock pot with all of the spices, olive oil and tomato sauce. I had pre-measured out the spices, which turned out to be a blessing, because there were so many spices, and the grocery store in the mountain town I was staying in had a limited selection. Also, having the meal pre-blended helped in even distributing the spices.

As the crock pot went to work on my veggies, I realized I was going to need to put the crock pot on high for the 3 hours. However, I was worried if the vegetables would cook enough to be almost steamed and edible. What I learned, is no. That also may have been due to the part that 1.5 hours in, I turned the crock pot to low and added 1 extra cup of tomato sauce. I’m not sure. Maybe I really did need the 5 hours on low to cook it all. Next time, so my vegetable vindaloo is not so crunchy, I plan on steaming my vegetables before and actually cooking the dish for the whole time the recipe recommended. Whoopsies.

Review:

I liked this dish, but again the vegetables were very crunchy. However, I really like the pairing of the vegetables with the spices. Also, I think I need more time with the crock pot. People liked the dish, and the spices made it better the next day. The longer the vegetables sit in the sauce the better.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: No idea – Thanks Mom and Dad!
  • Total Time: 45 minutes to prep, 3 hours to cook. 3.75 hours.
  • Serving Size: 6 – 12 people