Deconstructed Ratatouille

Dinner last night was fantastic. It was easy to prepare, simple and delicious ingredients, perfect for summer and meatless! I used to be better about including a vegetarian or vegan meal to my dinner menu once a week, but I've gotten away from that lately. If it was my choice, right now, we'd only eat steak. That's one preggo dinner craving that isn't going away! Anyway, back to dinner.

This one is a breeze to put together. I originally got the recipe from one of our Hello Fresh deliveries, but saved the recipe and have made it several times now. I make the 4 person serving because the leftovers are so good for lunch. The original recipe is posted below, but I don't really follow it. We are not eggplant fans around here, so I omit that and substitute yellow squash. I be you could even substitute portobello mushrooms too, and it would be just as yummy! I also have subbed red bell peppers for the yellow because it's what I have on hand. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Deconstructed Ratatouille with Balsamic Tomatoes, Feta, and Garlic Ciabatta (why are their recipe names so LOOOONG)
Recipe via Hello Fresh
Prep: 15 minutes, Total: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 People

1 red onion
2 yellow bell peppers
1 med-large eggplant
8 oz. Grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Zucchini
4 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
4 ciabatta rolls (or you could sub whole wheat baguette)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 oz basil
2 cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil

1. Prep: Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Halve, peel, and cut the onion into 1/2 inch wedges. Core, seed, and thinly slice the bell pepper. Trim the eggplant, then slice into 1/2 inch strips lengthwise. Cut each strip in half width wise. Cut the zucchini into 3 inch sticks. Roughly chop the basil leaves.

2. Roast the vegetables: Toss the onion, pepper, and half the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, the Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing once, until softened and beginning to char.

3. Marinate the tomatoes: Cut the remaining tomatoes in half. Toss in a small bowl with the balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. (I added a bit of basil, because it's yummy and pretty).

4. Cook the eggplant and zucchini: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the eggplant to the pan in a single layer. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly charred and soft. Set aside and cover and keep warm. Add the zucchini to the pan in a single layer. You may need to work in batches for zucchini too. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly golden brown.

5. Toast the bread: Halve the ciabattas. Place in the over to toast 4-5 minutes. Cut the garlic cloves in half. Once the ciabatta is toasted, rub the cut side of the garlic onto the cut side of each toast. Drizze with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

6. Finish the plate: On the baking sheet, toss the fetes cheese and half the basil with the roasted onion, pepper and tomatoes. Plate the ciabatta toasts. Top with eggplants slices, roasted veggie mixture, zucchini slices, and marinated tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Optional: drizzle with balsamic glaze. (You can also make it into a yummy sandwich). Enjoy!

Shortcut tips: I do it a bit different because I have a 4 year old that likes to help make dinner and I'm busy and don't have time for "batches" of things on the stove. Plus, I'm a big fan of one pan clean ups. So here's my shortcuts:

* I use one of those food chopper thingies. Yo know, the ones that look like big alligator mouths with the grate in the base so you just push on the handle and it cuts things. I have a blade that does like 2 inch by 1/2 inch sticks. I just chop into larger pieces, and my daughter is in charge of chopping into sticks.

* Roast all the veggies together. I mean, they're are all going onto the same piece of bread, so why not? I be you could grill them too and it would be delicious!

* Top with a bit of balsamic drizzle for extra flavor. I get mine at Trader Joe's.

If you use the roast all your veggies tip, dinner is ready in no time at all it seams, because the oven is doing the work. You can clean up while you wait, or play SNAP, which is what I did.

Hope you like it as much as we do. My hubby was impressed with this one. He's never had it…he's always traveling when I make it.

Meal Plan Monday

I’m back.  Nothing special has been happening with my menu’s lately, so I haven’t shared.  Although last week, I did make a killer 20 minute lettuce. Wrap recipe that was gobbled up by everyone…and there were no leftovers!  It’s been a while since that happened.   This week isn’t anything special either, but I’ll share nonetheless.  

Breakfasts: The shakes continue!  Most days accompanied by a piece of toast because I’m super hungry lately.  

Lunches: Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers.  I’ve been trying really hard to make sure they get eaten so we aren’t wasting so much food.  Every feel like you are just throwing away tons of food at the end of the week?  That’s gotta stop.

Snacks: Still loving all the fruit.  It’s been grapes and apples lately.  But today, the plums were calling my name at the grocery store.  

Dinners: 

Marinated Flank steak with Grilled artichokes

Grilled sausages and chopped greek salad

Chicken Picatta and salad

Portobello fajitas

Veggie quince and salad
Spotlight recipe on this quick and easy side or lunch.  This was shared by one of my challenge group participants.  It’s a Trader Joe’s ingredients only salad.  You know my deep love for Trader Joe’s so this was right up my alley.  Also, it’s literally 4 ingredients.  You open packages, dump, and mix together.  I can do that!

Middle Eastern Combo Salad

Here’s the ingredients: 

Open ingredients and dump into a bowl.  Juice entire lemon and mix it all together.  It’s a super refreshing salad and is full of flavors that I love!  Make it and tell me what you think!

What’s on your menu this week?

What are you quick and easy recipes?