Tag Archives: summer

Speedy Ratatouille

28 Aug

Speedy Ratatouille

This dish is magic.  It’s full of vegetables, but despite that, my kids seem to love it.  I was shocked when they asked for a second helping the first time I made it.  Thinking it was a fluke, I made it again a few weeks later.  Again, they emptied their bowls and asked for more.  It’s become a family staple.  Nowadays they even get excited when I tell them we’re having ratatouille for dinner.

This would be a great dinner for company, because you can make it the day before (see notes below).  Be sure to serve it with crusty bread….mmm.

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (in a pinch, I just use canned tomatoes)
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded basil leaves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled aged goat cheese
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a plate.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the casserole along with the zucchini and yellow squash and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add another one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables to the eggplant.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole, along with the onion and bell pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the basil and the reserved vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Make Ahead: The ratatouille can be refrigerated overnight.  In fact, it’s even better the next day.  Just wait to do the lemon and goat cheese until you’re ready to serve.
*If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, you can substitute dried basil.  I add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to each batch of cooking veggies.

Spicy Chicken Peanut Noodles

28 Aug

Many thanks to my friend Erin for introducing me to this recipe.  I’ve made it at least five times this summer.  Grilled marinated chicken topped with a fresh cucumber “salsa” and peanut sauce — yum!  Don’t be discouraged by the laundry list of ingredients.  It’s easy to prepare, and you could even make the peanut sauce and sambal a few hours ahead if needed.  I double the amount of peanut sauce and cucumber sambal.

Spicy Chicken Peanut Noodles

  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 8 ounces, weight Dry Spaghetti
  • ¼ cups Dry Roasted Peanuts, Chopped (for Garnish)


  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt


  • ½ cup Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce
  • ½ cups Fresh Cilantro, Minced


  • 1 cup Cucumber, Seeded, Diced
  • ½ cups Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ Tablespoons Kosher Salt

Preheat grill to medium-high. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Toss with chicken and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from grill (or grill pan), and tent with foil while preparing the other ingredients.

Prepare the cucumber sambal by tossing together the sambal ingredients. Set aside till serving.

Cook the pasta according to the package; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, prepare peanut sauce. Heat broth, peanut butter, brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce in a saucepan over medium heat to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes. Off heat, stir in cilantro and salt, then pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

Top each chicken breast with pasta and cucumber sambal. Garnish with peanuts.

Makes 4 servings
Source: www.thepioneerwoman.com