Food, recipe

Herbs de Provence Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Ratatouille

Sometimes you want a meal that isn’t too heavy but is still delicious. Bonus points if it’s actually fairly simple. The most complicated portion of this meal is the Ratatouille. But you can make it ahead and freeze or refrigerate until you want to use it. I made this for a large group dinner so the portions are a bit big. Feel free to scale it back to something more manageable if need be.

As usual we will start with a brief vegetable photoshoot.

fullsizeoutput_592d

But seriously the first step is always your mise en place. Cube your zucchini, squash and eggplant and sprinkle with salt. This is going to help pull the moisture out so that your veggies retain their firmness and don’t get soggy and gross when you start cooking.

NHt3xMwGQAe6npzOmJ+elw

After about twenty minutes pat the cubed veggies dry on some paper towels. During those twenty you can chop of your tomatoes, onion and oregano and heat up your dutch oven.

cBmIqFJ%SjKXvxuTNbIyCA

Next up is lightly pan frying all your veggies, just one more step to prevent everything from becoming one gloopy mess. Plus they look so glossy and delicious once they are ready.

dy74zzaSTZ6JcovbOUjPjA

Now you have a pan whose bottom is covered in chunks of burned vegetables, time to deglaze! For some reason I find this very soothing. I also use the deglazing time to cook my onions down.

r5KGmVrMRxip6jO6law2cg

Next step is adding in some freshly chopped tomatoes and oregano.

fullsizeoutput_592e

Use a can of tomato paste to add in a richer taste and once everything is cooked add your cubed veggies back into the pan.

UyUAZhWpQuuCljQB6aA

Cover with low sodium chicken stock and let simmer until all the flavors have married make sure that you adjust for salt and pepper early on. You can see the difference in the two photos. The second picture how much richer and thicker the tomato sauce has become.

4tFK4VnsTu+OACs1vpzZTA

Once your ratatouille is cooked you can bag it up and freeze it for later.Which is what I did. I also went ahead and marinaded my chicken and prepped my vegetables for roasting. Step one is finding a Herbs de Provence mix you really love. My go to is this one from Trader Joe’s. It also comes with the super cute spoon.

PgPi7xPST8uzLAfEnoDZ1Q

Cube some chicken breasts and cover in spices, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Tq2yrJRwScehtJv8DeamLg

Next step is your vegetables. I cut up green beans, radishes, mushrooms and I threw in some whole yellow cherry tomatoes. Because I was using these later in the week I wrapped the mushrooms before bagging them.

MQK7v2aDSzOc059qBF5Vkg

Once I was ready to roast my veggies I spread them out in a pan and chopped an onion up. I didn’t bag the onion with my other chopped veg because onions will pull the moisture out over everything and make them soggy. I coated everything in salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil before popping them in the oven.

tMkzPZrOSAuvkjsl+pKJ9g

I popped both pans in the oven and roasted them at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.

I then put out all three dishes and let my friends plate their own meals and had a nice hunk of gruyere off to the side so people could shave on as much as they liked. I made it snow!

lq4Ngn6vRSOUDXhD58z8Fw

Ratatouille (serves 10):

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium eggplants
  2. 2 yellow squash
  3. 2 zucchini
  4. Handful of cherry tomatoes
  5. 1 red onion
  6. 1 bunch of oregano
  7. 1 box low sodium Chicken Stock
  8. 1 can of tomato paste
  9. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Recipe:

  1. Cube your zucchini, squash and eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 20 minutes
  2. Dice onions, chop tomatoes and oregano
  3. Pat zucchini, squash and eggplant dry. Fry in a little olive oil in small batches. Do not worry if pan becomes covered in brown bits of burnt vegetable. This will add to the heartiness of your gravy.
  4. Sautee onions and use chicken stock to deglaze your pan of all the lovely flavor left over from frying your veggies.
  5. Add in cherry tomatoes and oregano and cook down.
  6. Add your tomato paste and cook using small splashes of chicken stock to ensure that nothing sticks
  7. Add in your reserved zucchini, squash and eggplant
  8. Cover with chicken stock and adjust salt/pepper/garlic to taste
  9. Serve or freeze/refrigerate until ready to use. When reheating just place in a heavy bottomed pan and use some low sodium chicken stock to prevent sticking, if needed or if it becomes too thick. Remember to check seasoning before serving!

Herbs de Provence Chicken (serves 10):

Ingredients:

  1. 3 lbs chicken breasts
  2. 3-4 heaping Tbsp Herbs de Provence seasoning
  3. 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  4. Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe:

  1. Cube chicken
  2. Toss in rest of ingredients
  3. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to use or move straight to step 4
  4. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes until fully cooked.

Roasted Vegetables (serves 10):

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium carrots
  2. 8 oz mushrooms
  3. 8 oz green beans
  4. 8 oz radishes
  5. 8 oz cherry tomatoes
  6. 1 medium sized onion
  7. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  8. Olive oil

Recipe:

  1. Chop your carrots into sticks.
  2. Snap ends off green beans and chop in half
  3. Wash cherry tomatoes
  4. Wipe down mushrooms
  5. Chop radishes in half
  6. If bagging and using later than wrap your mushrooms in a paper towel to stop them from getting slimy.
  7. Chop onion and add to mix
  8. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and drizzle with olive oil. Toss well to make sure everything is evenly coated.
  9. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes

 

Food, recipe

Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

I had to feed a troupe of hungry adults breakfast before we headed out to Gettysburg National Park. But I didn’t want to have to get up and cook so I made these make ahead breakfast sandwiches and they were a huge hit. Claire helped me with the heating and serving of these little bits of yum. And also served as sandwich model!

fullsizeoutput_5946

I used frozen whole grain waffles as my base and piled on eggs, pimento cheese and chicken sausage  from there. But honestly you could use any combination of meat/cheese/egg. And could even substitute waffles for english muffins, crumpets or any carb your heart desires.

I4TfJaDoRwaIkKD225y+BQdZU8le%zRZK7lCrSpv1Sbw

The only thing that is remotely time consuming is making the individual eggs. But I have a little trick up my sleeve that makes it slightly less onerous. I microwave my eggs in a wide based soup cup. Put a splash of olive oil in the cup, crack your egg in, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and microwave. Depending on how done you want your eggs your time will range form 30 seconds to a full minute. I did these for about 45 seconds each.

 

I had to make 8 sandwiches but my cutting board isn’t big enough for all the so I did them in two batches. I then bagged them up and put them in the freezer until it was time to take them up to our Gettysburg AirBnB.

yxnfu5y8qyacjsp2wav1nw.jpg

We popped them in the oven heated to 375 degrees for about twenty minutes and they were ready to go. I also put out some fancy mustards and mayos so that people could jazz up their sandwiches.

v5pdkolyr7ypceuaasmxig.jpg

As you can see freezing and reheating didn’t harm that at all. And the time in the oven got the pimento cheese all lovely and melty while the waffles crisped up. This would be an excellent thing to make on a Sunday and pull out of the freezer/fridge on a weekday morning and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven before work.

xbxZqUrvQCiHgwJ4UXbjyQ

Let me know in the comments what you would put on your sandwich! I love hearing new ideas!

Ingredients, serves 8:

  1. 2 packages of frozen whole grain waffles
  2. 1 package of chicken sausage with four sausages
  3. 8 eggs
  4. 1 tub pimento cheese

Recipe:

  1. Pull waffles out of freezer, do not defrost or warm up.
  2. Apply thin layer of pimento cheese to two waffles
  3. Cut sausage in half length wise and then again crosswise to leave you with four pieces.
  4. Place two pieces of sausage on top of one waffle
  5. Cook individual eggs in mug for 45 seconds after seasoning with salt and pepper
  6. Place egg on top of other waffle
  7. Close sandwich and put in paper bag and freeze or refrigerate.
  8. Once ready to eat place on microwave safe dish and microwave for 1 minute if from fridge and three minutes if from freezer
  9. If baking place in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes if from fridge and 40 minutes if frozen
Food

Wraps for the Week

I like a fast and easy lunch that I can just grab out of the fridge and throw in my bag on my way out the door. Bonus points if it’s teetering on the healthy side. I have a little inventory of go to recipes and I pick which one I want to use based on what’s already in my fridge come Sunday afternoon. This week I went for wraps because I had a cucumber  that I needed to use. Makes sense, yes?

P8LayyGDT66yj0NKg4oWyg

I know wraps seem a little boring but it gave me a chance to brush up on my knife work.  So I julienned the cucumbers like my life depended on it. My little hack is too cut a small slice along one length of the cucumber. This lets you balance it when you cut. And then you can just cut across the slices to get your matchstick shape.

 

Next I pulled a jar of pickled peppers out of the fridge. These are homemade sweet pickled peppers that peter piper did not pick. But my friend, Claire, and I made them for her husband’s birthday a while back. The next time I have a pickling party I’ll be sure to take pictures and put it up on here! Anyway, I julienned these as well.

 

My last knife related prepping step was to chiffonade some fresh basil I keep on the window sill above my sink. I know it sounds a little pretentious to say out loud that you are going to chiffonade your leaves. But honestly it is the best way to thin slice a leafy thing. And it is extremely easy. Lay your basil leaves one on top of the other and roll them up tightly. You will be amazed at how easy it is to slice into thin strips when you do it this way.

 

Once the basil (or any herb is thinly sliced) I sprinkle some salt and smoosh everything together. This bruises the leaves and seasons your herbs so the flavor really pops. Now comes time for assembly. I suggest the assembly line method so that you can get all your wraps made quickly and ready for the fridge. I start my wraps with a spreadable cheese. I had Aloutte’s garlic herb cheese already in my fridge so that’s what I used.

 

Next layer your sliced meat and cheese onto your wrap. For these wraps I used honey smoked turkey and Swiss cheese because they are Lloyd’s favorite and therefore what was available. And then add in all your beautifully sliced veggies. I also have quite a wide chopping board so I was able to do two at a time.

yehylydlr2cjti8nxia6qw.jpg

Roll em up, cut in half and package them any way you want. I made 6 and they should last through Wednesday. The cucumbers will stay nice and crunchy and the wraps don’t get soggy like bread would. The spreadable cheese really acts as a barrier, preventing the the veggies and deli slices from making your wrap slimy.

7ture4zrayeryh4rwfnq.jpg

The beauty of this recipe is how endlessly versatile it is. Use whatever deli meat and cheese you want, any type of wrap, whatever your favorite veggies are (or just whatever you have at hand). The one thing I wish I had done was sprinkle on some hot sauce prior to wrapping. Because everything is better with Cholula!

Let me know in the comments what you would make your wrap with!