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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next step is adding in some freshly chopped tomatoes and oregano.
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.
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.
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.
Cube some chicken breasts and cover in spices, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
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.
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.
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!
Ratatouille (serves 10):
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 yellow squash
- 2 zucchini
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1 bunch of oregano
- 1 box low sodium Chicken Stock
- 1 can of tomato paste
- Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- Cube your zucchini, squash and eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 20 minutes
- Dice onions, chop tomatoes and oregano
- 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.
- Sautee onions and use chicken stock to deglaze your pan of all the lovely flavor left over from frying your veggies.
- Add in cherry tomatoes and oregano and cook down.
- Add your tomato paste and cook using small splashes of chicken stock to ensure that nothing sticks
- Add in your reserved zucchini, squash and eggplant
- Cover with chicken stock and adjust salt/pepper/garlic to taste
- 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):
- 3 lbs chicken breasts
- 3-4 heaping Tbsp Herbs de Provence seasoning
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cube chicken
- Toss in rest of ingredients
- Freeze or refrigerate until ready to use or move straight to step 4
- Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes until fully cooked.
Roasted Vegetables (serves 10):
- 2 medium carrots
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 8 oz green beans
- 8 oz radishes
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium sized onion
- Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- Olive oil
- Chop your carrots into sticks.
- Snap ends off green beans and chop in half
- Wash cherry tomatoes
- Wipe down mushrooms
- Chop radishes in half
- If bagging and using later than wrap your mushrooms in a paper towel to stop them from getting slimy.
- Chop onion and add to mix
- Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and drizzle with olive oil. Toss well to make sure everything is evenly coated.
- Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes