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Chickplantasagna is born
Aug 10th, 2016 by

Layered like lasagna, with eggplant, chicken, and zucchini, chick-plant-sagna was born out of necessity.

Layered like lasagna, with eggplant, chicken, and zucchini, chick-plant-asagna was born out of necessity.

We were hungry.

I had eggplant, zucchini, some leftover cheddar cheese and a new block of Parmesan Reggiano in the refrigerator. All day long I thought of those ingredients and asked myself what I could make for dinner. Around 4 p.m., the answer came to me.

I just needed chicken cutlets so I stopped at the supermarket on my way home and found some chicken tenders that looked better than the other cuts of chicken there. I brought them home and flattened them between two pieces of aluminum foil (I had nothing else). And that’s where our story (recipe) begins.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken tenders (About 9 or 10, flattened by pounding them with a rolling pin between two pieces of wax paper, parchment paper, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil.)
  • Eggplant (1 dark, purple — firm, but not bruised — beauty).
  • Zuchinni (1)
  • Red pepper (1)
  • Cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup shredded)
  • Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup, grated)
  • Fresh salsa (about 1 cup)
  • Tomato Paste, imported and from a tube (about 3 or 4 good squirts)
  • Red wine (about 1/3 cup), and a little water too.
  • Garlic (1 clove, torn open with your fingers)
  • Olive oil, regular, not extra-virgin (about 1/2 cup)
  • Lemon pepper

Here's what the dish looks like before putting it in the oven.

Here's what the dish looks like before putting it in the oven.

The Process:

Take the skin off the eggplant by peeling off strips of it using a vegetable peeler. The eggplant will look like it has stripes as some of the skin remains.

Cut thin (about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick) slices of the eggplant. Brush olive oil on one side of each slice. Brush olive oil on a cookie sheet and put eggplant, dry side down. Cook in a 450 degree oven, turning over once, until both sides are brown.

Cut thin slices of zuchhini (about 1/4-inch to 1/2 inch thick). Put oil on both sides. Cut long strips of red pepper (about 1/2 inch thick) and put oil on both sides. Cook zuchhini and red pepper on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven until done.

Fry chicken cutlets in a little olive oil and the clove of garlic. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.

When chicken is done, heat frying pan again. Add the tomato paste and the wine and water and stir. Add salt and pepper. Let the wine and water evaporate a little bit. Stir scraping the bottom of the pan. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter and stir some more. Turn off heat.

Assemble the dish by putting a little olive oil on the bottom of a ceramic baking dish, along with a few tablespoons of the fresh salsa. Add half of the chicken cutlets. Pour over half of the tomato paste sauce. Add half of the cheeses. Top with half of the zuchhini, red peppers, and eggplant slices. And then repeat this with the remaining ingredients, ending with the rest of the cheese and some fresh salsa.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese melts.

The dish was delicious but it still needed a name. I posted a photo of it on Facebook and asked for suggestions. My friend Katie M. suggested Chickplantasagna. It was the perfect name for a perfect dish.

The End

Find more recipes in the Food Section.

Chicken in Milk: Strange, but True
Oct 15th, 2013 by

After browning the chicken I poured the grease into a baking dish and roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips and apples for a side dish.

After browning the chicken I poured the grease into a baking dish and roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips and apples for a side dish.

This was a pretty simple recipe, albeit an odd one. You basically put a chicken in a pot, brown it on all sides, remove the grease and then add milk, lemon zest and a cinnamon stick. The result is a tender, juicy and sweet, chicken with some unexpected flavors. I’d definitely make it again.

The recipe came from Jamie Oliver. I followed that recipe but took the advice of another cook who recommended cooking it covered for the first hour. Get the recipe here.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Eggplant and Mushroom Stacks
Jun 26th, 2012 by

Roasted eggplant tastes great, is low-calorie and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Roasted eggplant tastes great, is low-calorie and can be used in a variety of dishes.

I improvised this dish one night using ingredients I had on hand. The taste is savory, sweet, and comforting. And it’s something that can be whipped up in about half an hour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Eggplant (Make sure it’s firm, shiny and a dark purple. This is key, as I don’t believe in salting eggplant and draining it to get out the bitterness. If you buy a perfectly ripe eggplant without bruises, it won’t be bitter.)
  • Mushrooms (about 8 oz.), fried in olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to also add a sprinkling of dried or fresh nepitella. But since that’s hard to come by, you could also use a combination of basil and mint.
  • Cream cheese (About 2 or three tablespoons; just enough to mix in with the cooked mushrooms).
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in oil (1 jar).
  • Arugula (About a cup)

What I did:

Wash and peel the eggplant vertically, leaving vertical, purple stripes.

Cut thin (About 1/4 of an inch) round disks of the eggplant.

Brush on olive oil and salt on both sides. Bake in a 400-degree oven on a cookie sheet. Brown on one side and then turn over. This should take about 15 minutes for each tray of eggplant. Set aside.

Mix cream cheese into cooked mushrooms.

Top an eggplant slice with a couple of tablespoons of the mushroom mixture.

Top this with a few slices of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. And then top that with a few leaves of arugula. And top it all off with another slice of eggplant.

You can serve it as is, or heat it up in a hot oven for just a minute before serving.

Serve this with roasted broccoli or other roasted vegetables if you wish to make dinner a total vegetarian treat.

Easy Sunday Popovers
Sep 25th, 2011 by

A light and fluffy treat.

A light and fluffy treat.

If you have 30 minutes before the gang wakes up, try this easy popover recipe. They’re great with butter and jam for a breakfast or brunch treat, but also good to have with dinner.

The scary part is you can’t open the oven to check on how they’re doing. You have to have faith. And this being Sunday, what better day is there to make this recipe?

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (2 large)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Butter (1 tbspoon)
  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Salt (1/4 tsp.)

What I did:

Butter muffin pans.

Mix all of the ingredients until thoroughly blended, but don’t overdo it.

Half fill the muffin tins and put them in a cold oven.

Turn the oven on to 450 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.

DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY COOK, OR THE POPOVERS WILL FALL.

Remove from pan and serve with butter and/or jam. Makes 8 to 10 popovers.

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Fast Food: Spinach, Red Pepper and Feta Quiche
Mar 20th, 2010 by

This quiche is good for Sunday brunch, lunch or dinner.

This quiche is good for Sunday brunch, lunch or dinner.

Here’s a quiche recipe, made from scratch, that surprisingly takes less than 45 minutes to make.

I made this the other night when I made the Irish Soda Bread. It’s in the same issue of Gourmet Magazine from March, 1994. And I served them both together. (Note: This recipe serves just 2, so I doubled it and made two quiches to serve 4)

Ingredients/Shopping List:

All-purpose flour (1/3 cup)

Unsalted butter (3 tbsp., cold)

Vegetable shortening (1 tbsp., cold)

Ice water (1 1/2 tbsp, plus more if necessary)

Red bell pepper (1/3 cup sliced)

Olive oil (1 tbsp.)

Fresh spinach leaves, washed and trimmed (2 cups packed, or about 5 ounces)

Large eggs (2)

Heavy cream or milk (1/3 cup)

Feta cheese, crumbled (1/3 cup)

What I did:

I followed the recipe here.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click here or on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)

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