Skillet Ratatouille and Chicken

Back in late July-early August when we were on our family vacation on the Crystal Coast, we stayed in a friend’s condo complete with deck-side pool and an awesome view of the ocean. I love this particular beach because it was where I met Hubby over 17 years ago. We could even see the pier where we first met from our location just a quarter of a mile away down the beach. Even better was that both the boys wanted to see where their parents first met.

While we were there we ate some great food, including local seafood (boy, have we missed that since moving off the island!) and other wonderfully prepared culinary delights at a few of the local hotspots. But there were times that I cooked, too. I kept it simple for the most part; tacos and pasta, baked herbed chicken, roasted veggies, salads, etc.

At one point as Number Two and I were wandering around the grocery store trying to decide what to make, he suggested Ratatouille. I was a little surprised at first because I’m not so sure he realized what he was asking for. So I told him. And he still seemed totally up for it. So I was like, heck yeah! But alas, there were no yellow squash in stock and I really wasn’t feeling particularly creative, so needless to say we had to pass on the ratatouille.

Since then I have come across this awesome recipe for a one-skillet meal incorporating ratatouille. How can this go wrong? I am so excited to share this with you guys because I do love me some Ratatouille. Click the link for my previous post on Millefeuille Ratatouille, which is the layered kind seen in Disney’s movie Ratatouille. This recipe was adapted from Rachael Ray.

skillet ratatouiile

Skillet Ratatouille and Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 T EVOO

1 small eggplant

1 yellow bell pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 small zucchini

1 large yellow squash

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 T butter

1/3 cup chopped parsley

salt & pepper

Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Prep your veggies. Peel eggplant and cut into 34-inch pieces. De-stem and seed the bell pepper, cutting it into 1/2-inch pieces.  Trim the zucchini and squash, quartering it lengthwise and again crosswise in 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add 1 T of EVOO. Cook the chicken about 10 minutes, turning over once, and remove from skillet.

3. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Let it simmer a few minutes. Add the butter and broth and simmer a few minutes more. Set aside.

4. Put in some EVOO and add the eggplant to the skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Ladle in some of the wine/broth as needed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

5. Add the remaining  EVOO and cook the bell pepper and onion, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add in the zucchini and squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes; Stirring often. Ladle in wine/broth as needed. Season with salt & pepper.

6. Add the tomatoes and reserved eggplant, then the chicken and remaining wine/broth. Cover and bring to a brisk simmer.

7. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the vegetables are very soft and the meat pulls apart easily using two forks; 30 minutes.

8. Serve over rice or noodles with grated cheese.

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Millefeuille Ratatouille

This week’s Meatless Monday feature is Ratatouille. If you’ve been following me long enough you’ll know this is a repost, but it is definitely worth one and deserves a place in my Meatless Monday cache.

I made this recently when we had family visiting for Easter break. Of course, I served it with Bulgur- my favorite way to eat this dish!

Click the links to take you to the recipes.

Enjoy!

Ratatouille

Millefeuille Ratatouille

Bulgur

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Musco

I pronounce it “musco” but really it is “must go”. Often times my kids will ask me what’s for dinner and I will reply, “Musco.” They know that means leftovers, because it must go.

I don’t mind leftovers. In fact I like them to a point because it means I will have a no-fuss lunch or dinner. In the case of today’s musco it was the remainders of my ratatouille.

I have to admit, I am glad to see the end of this ratatouille. It was a big pan to eat all by myself with Cory not here to enjoy it with me. I ate the rest of my bulgur, giving me one fabulous initial dinner and two lunches. I am glad that the bulgur is gone because I don’t know that I could have eaten that same meal again, and there was still half a row of ratattouille left.

I love coming up with new and innovative ways to serve leftovers. We should not have to suffer repeats of the same meal lest we get tired of certain foods. I am one of those people with the affliction of not always being in agreement with my brain, meaning I can be eating something very yummy, but in an instant I can feel as though one more bite will actually make me barf. I have no idea where it comes from, certainly not my taste buds, and so I have to put it down or toss it out for the chickens (my neighbor has a bazillion chickens that roam free, consequently I feed them a lot of scraps and leftovers) whether I am still hungry or not.

The statement I made regarding repeated meals actually made me think something amusing, though completely irrelevant to this blog. Yes, yes, I know, me and my tangents. But bear with me. I bought a cookbook years ago called Carpools to Candlelight.  I am a sucker for a good cookbook and this one was no different. In fact, it is where I first came across the fabulous Carrot Mash Bake, though in the cookbook it goes by a different name. What I wanted to share was a small introduction the author wrote in the beginning of the book.

“When I was a child, my mother had the habit of fixing the same thing for dinner every night, for months and months at a time. I promise I’m not exaggerating.

During one phase, we had pecan waffles every night for seven months. We had the potato variety of “Hamburger Helper” every night for most of my sophomore year in high school!

I never realized this was odd until I was old enough to spend more than one night with a friend. Even then, I thought perhaps I was happening to visit during the two evenings when they were making the transition from one phase to the next.

I’ve never heard of another person who cooked this way!”

My question is this: Who does cook this way?? If any of you out there have heard (or experienced) this practice, please let me know. I find it fascinating and would really like to know… why.

SO back to my musco….

I used a whole grain loaf, cut into a small sandwich size, and spilt in halves. The top half I spread with olive tapenade. On the bottom half I reheated my leftover ratatouille and layered it on top of some of the sauce, topping it with a slice of Muenster cheese. This is what I had available to work with and it turned out pretty good. I think a few changes would have made an even better sandwich, such as ciabatta bread, possibly even grilled panini-style. Alternatives would also be adding spinach or arugula, roasted red peppers and havarti cheese. Definitley keep the tapenade.

In the spirit of Super Healthy, Super Cheap I will be mentioning where applicable the financial aspect of certain meals. For example, this meal only cost me the tapenade and the bread ($6.98 for both, but for one serving today it only cost me $1.83)

I’m also adding a new category to my blogroll: Leftovers. I would love to hear about your leftovers and what recipes you’ve come up with.

Ratatouille

Ya’ll remember the animated movie Ratatouille? Ever since I watched that for the first time I’ve wanted to make ratatouille. Not just any ratatouille, but that ratatouille. And apparently I’m not the only one. In my search for this recipe I came across many images and recipes on Google. I choose one from a blog called opensourcefood. Since this is someone else’s recipe I will not repost it here but have provided a link so that you may check out the recipe for yourself if you wish. But I did make it and here are the results!

Base Sauce

In my usual way I did tweak one thing about this recipe. The sauce wasn’t really all that…saucey, so I added about 5 oz. V8 juice and puree’d it.

I love this slicing gadget from Pampered Chef

Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Eggplant, and Tomato

The recipe calls for Japanese Eggplant. I am not sure what that even is? Out here on the island there are slim pickings, so I used a regular purple eggplant. Also, for the sauce it asked for shallots. No such luck in my grocery store. So a bunch of green onions did the trick.

pre-cooked

Cooked- Beautiful!

I served this with some leftover bulgur, and it was delicious! I ate a whole row 🙂 I did give the boys a few slices to taste but they weren’t impressed (what’s wrong with them? haha).  Cory will be so jealous that he missed this!

I felt so good eating this, and actually I found that I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. If you’re a veggie-lover then you will love this dish!

So this made me think of something else a little bit fun. I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love movies. What could be better than some of my favorite things combined? I decided to share a list of my favorite movies that feature cooking 🙂 Happy viewing and cooking to you!

Ratatouille

Julie & Julia

No Reservations

I know there are many others, but these are my top picks.

Stay tuned for post #2: The Day the Christmas Tree Died

 

Food on Friday