Category Archives: Main Dish

Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells


I have made a number of recipes out of Deborah Madison’s fabulous book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone over the years.  My brother is a vegetarian and whenever we get together for Sunday Night Dinner I make sure there is a vegetarian option.  Sometimes it’s just a veggie burger but other times I go out of my way to make sure the main dish is veggie friendly.  Since his birthday was a few weeks ago, I decided to try out another one of Deborah’s recipes in celebration.  This was originally a lasagna recipe but I took a hankering to the shells I saw at the grocery store and modified the recipe to fit.  You could just as easily do stuffed manicotti if you feel like bothering with torn tubes and the subsequent mess.  I’ve determined that they give you extra of those just because of the high failure rate.

As most of the recipes I have tried from the cookbook, this one doesn’t disappoint   The roasting of the eggplant gives it a slight sweetness and the chard really adds a nice depth of flavor.  Even my ‘not so veggie loving’ father-in-law like it.  I had to stop the crowd from devouring the last serving just so I could take this picture.

Eggplant and Chard Stuffed Shells
adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1 box of Large Stuffed Shells
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 ½ pounds eggplant, sliced ¼-inch thick crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing on both sides of eggplant slices
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 ½ pounds green chard (about 2 bunches)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup ricotta
1 egg
¾ cup grated Romano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2.  Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking time until the eggplant is lightly browned on both sides. Chop coarsely.

3.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chard and ½ teaspoon salt, cook until leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour wine and cover for about 10 minutes, until the chard becomes tender and the pan is dry. Transfer onto a cutting board and chop finely.

4.  Mix ricotta, chopped chard, 1/3 cup water, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

5.  Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan.

6.  Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture until fairly full but not overflowing.  Place each shell in the pan on top of the tomato sauce.  You may have a few shells left over.
7.  Spread the remaining sauce over the shells.  Spread the cheeses on top of the sauce. 

8.  Cover the baking dish with foil, tenting above the surface. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

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Chipotle Chicken Burgers


Sometimes I’m in the mood for a big fat juicy burger.  Ya know the kind that drips all over your hands when you eat it and you choose not to think about just how many calories you are consuming?  Then, sometimes I want the same juiciness but not the load of calories.  Enter the chicken burger.  Chicken burgers are wonderful platforms for different flavor profiles.  Tart apples can add a touch of tangyness. Sundried tomatoes can add a touch of sweet summer.  I added roasted red bell peppers (for juicyness) and a chipotle pepper (for heat).  Want more heat?  Add a second chipotle pepper.  I was feeding a 3 year old so I kept the heat to a slow simmer.

You can usually find ground chicken in the poultry aisle of your grocery store but if you don’t, just take a package of chicken breast up to the meat counter and they can grind it for you (I’ve done this a few times).

I (well my hubby) cooked these on the grill using oiled tinfoil.  You can also cook them on the cooktop using a lightly greased pan.  When raw they are really soft so you may want to make them up and put them directly onto whatever cook surface you are using.  

As far as condiments, we only had the usual hanging around so I didn’t use anything fancy.  However, I think tomato and avocado would be fabulous.  Or maybe some caramelized onions.  Mmmm….

Chipotle Chicken Burgers
adapted from Raleys Something Extra Magazine

2 lbs Ground Chicken Breast
1/2 cup soy cherizo
1/2 cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobe, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

1.  Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together gently.  Do not over mix.

2.  Lightly oil a large piece of tinfoil (if grilling) or large saucepan (if cooking on the stove top).

2.  Form the mixture into 8 patties and place directly on the tinfoil or pan.  Cook over medium heat until cooked through, approximately 7 minutes each side.  Let rest for a few minutes before serving.

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Artichoke and Spinach Strudel

Just how many recipes are there that use refrigerated crescent rolls?  That inexpensive tube of premade dough is used to create so many things besides what they are actually intended for.  While I enjoy making my own dough, it is such a time saver (and stress reliever) to whack that cardboard tube against the counter, unroll the sticky dough and stretch/roll/cut it into whatever shape is needed.This recipe is a perfect way to hide a load of good for you vegetables in a flaky buttery package.  Even my sometimes picky 3 year old thought it was good eating.  The sun dried tomatoes add a sweet component to the dish but I think it’s the chopped walnuts on top that is the ‘piece de resistance’.

Artichoke and Spinach Strudel
adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1-1/4 cups chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 (4 oz) container of sliced olives
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts



  1. In a nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms and tomatoes in 2 teaspoons olive oil until mushrooms are tender. Cool to room temperature.
  2.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the spinach, pesto, pepper and, if desired, pepper flakes. Add the artichokes, olives, mozzarella cheese, 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and mushroom mixture; mix well.
  3. Unroll crescent dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Roll out into a 14-in. x 9-in. rectangle.
  4. Spread filling in a 3-in.-wide strip down center of rectangle. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips to within 1/2 in. of filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Whisk egg and remaining oil; brush over dough. Sprinkle with walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese; bake 10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 12 slices.

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Mushroom Cheddar Quiche

Am I the only one who can never remember how to spell quiche?  Whenever I am looking online to look up a new recipe, it always takes me a few tries before Google figures out what I’m asking for.  Don’t they know what I’m asking for when I type keesh?  Luckily I found this recipe in my King Arthur Flour catalog so no searching required.  I modified the recipe slightly to use a premade crust to speed up the process but otherwise followed the recipe as is.
One of the best things about this recipe is that it is wonderfully rich without the million grams of fat that usually come in a quiche.  Instead of the cups of cream that are standard in quiches it uses just a 1/2 cup of milk.  I don’t miss the fat at all.  It’s creamy, flavorful and purely delicious.
Mushroom Cheddar Quiche
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 premade pie crust

1 oz unsalted butter
1 med onion, chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs thyme
1/2 tsp salt plus 1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Heat butter over medium heat in a large pan until foaming.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook unilt mushrooms start to lose their juices.

3.  Mix in the garlic, thyme, 1/2 tsp of salt and the pepper.  Remove from the heat.

4.  Combine the eggs, milk and remaining tsp of salt.
5.  Place the pie crust in a 9″ pie pan and crimp the edges.
6.  Place the cheese on the bottom of the crust, top with the mushroom mixture and pour the egg mixture over the top.

7.  Bake the quiche for 35-40 minutes.

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Easy Tortilla Casserole

This casserole is a great quick and easy week night meal.  If you have some leftover chicken from a previous meal like I did, it takes less then 10 minutes to put together.  For me, these are the perfect type of recipes for week nights.  By the time I get off work, pick up Rose and get home, it’s generally after 6pm.  I don’t want to spend the precious few hours Rose is still awake making anything complicated.
You can spice this up as much as you want by using different temperatures of salsa.  I found a fire-roasted one at my local Raley’s that gives it a nice kick and a lovely smokey flavor.
Spicy Tortilla Casserole
adapted from Raleys
2 cups Salsa of your choice (fire-roasted preferred)
1 (7 3/4-oz.) can Tomato Sauce
6 taco-size Corn Tortillas, divided
1 (16-oz.) can Refried Beans (spicy or regular)
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 small can Sliced Olives
1.  Preheat oven to 375°F and spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  Combine salsa and tomato sauce in a small bowl.
3.  Place 3 tortillas on the bottom of prepared dish (tear to fit evenly). Top with beans, 1/3 of
sauce, 1/3 of cheese and olives. Place 3 more tortillas on top; top with chicken, 1/3 of sauce and 1/3 of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, remaining sauce and remaining cheese.
4.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Top with sour cream if desired.

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Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas



I’m a big lover of Indian food but have to admit that I don’t frequent the local restaurants much.  Mostly because I have no idea what I’m ordering and am always worried I’m going to get something I don’t like.  Luckily, the wonderful people over at America’s Test Kitchen took all the effort out of searching the web for recipes to make at home.  Plus, if it’s from ATK, it has an 90% chance of being delicious.

I did slightly alter the recipe (I substituted mushrooms for the green beans) and chose not to seed the serrano chile (it was tiny and I like a little heat) but otherwise it uses all of their perfect portions of seasonings and cooking methods.  I would encourage you to do your own vegetable substitutions for whatever you have in the fridge.  Just add it at the appropriate cooking time (ie potatoes and squash take longer to cook then green beans).

The fragrance that will permeate you kitchen (and entire house) will make you think you were in your favorite Indian food restaurant.
Serve over basmati rice and/or with Nann.

Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
makes 4-6 servings
2 Tbs curry powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
4 Tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
12 oz sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chile, minced
1 Tbs tomato paste
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor until nearly smooth
1 1/4 cup water
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
1.  Toast curry powder and garam masala in small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until spices darken slightly and become fragrant, about 1 minute.  Set aside.
2.  Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and potatoes are golden brown on the edges.
3.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add remaining Tbs of oil, garlic, ginger, chile, and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.  Add toasted spices and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add mushroom and eggplant and cook, stirring constantly until spices coat the vegetables, about 2 minutes.

4.  Add tomatoes, water, chickpeas, and 1 tsp salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Stir in cream or coconut milk; continue to cook until heated through, about 2 minutes longer.


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Cheesy Beef Pie

This pie is fabulous.  It’s cheesy, mushroomy, beefy, and buttery.  The Guinness adds a depth of flavor that’s just fabulous. It take a bit of time to make but it worth every tortuous hour you have to smell it cooking.  It’s even better as leftovers.

All the yummy ingredients go into a pot……


and end up like this.  Then it all goes into a puff pastry crust with a bunch of cheese.  How can you go wrong?

Cheesy Beef Pie
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs fresh Rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs butter
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 lb beef brisket, cubed
1 can Guinness
1 tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 sheets puff pastry
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook onions in olive oil until soft in large dutch oven.
  3. Add rosemary, garlic, butter, celery, carrots, mushrooms, beef, Guinness, flour, salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 2 hours.
  4. Simmer on stove top without lid for 30 minutes until thickened.
  5. Lightly grease a 9 inch pie plate.  Put 1 sheet of puff pastry in the pie plate. Add ½ of cheese to bottom of pie.
  6. Ladle beef mixture into pie with a slotted spoon to drain the excess fluid. Add remaining cheese.
  7. Top with 2nd puff pastry sheet.
  8. Brush with egg wash (1 egg plus a splash of water) and cut vents.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes until crust is golden brown.
  10. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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Vegetable and Bacon Orzo Salad


This salad is… well it’s good.  Very good.  So good that I would find myself leaving a spoon in the leftover container just so I could sneak bites when I walked by the fridge.  So good that I would invent reasons to walk by the fridge just so that I could sneak a bite.  I literally finished the last of this salad sitting on a stool on the floor so that Rose could share the last of the fabulousness with me.  There is something about the tang of the lemon mixed with the sweet of the sun dried tomatoes and the savoriness of the bacon that just kept pulling me in.

This would be great to bring to a pot luck as it gets better the longer the dressing has to meld with the pasta.

I made a few changes from the original recipe such as increasing the amount of orzo (I couldn’t find a box small enough and didn’t want to waste any) and added in some of the delicious applewood smoked bacon I had picked up a few days earlier.  If you want to make it a vegetarian recipe just leave out the bacon and walla!  I had found a bunch of asparagus that was thinner than a pencil so the quick blanching time worked wonderfully.  If you can’t find asparagus that thin just cut the pieces a little smaller and increase the blanching time by a minute or so.


Vegetable and Bacon Orzo Salad
adapted from Food for my Family

8 oz thick cut bacon, about half a package
1 bunch asparagus, about 3 cups diced with bottom 2 inches removed
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz orzo pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
15-oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
3 oz sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

1.  Cook bacon until fully cooked but not too crispy.  Drain the grease from the pan, reserving one tablespoon.  When cool, chop into pieces.

2.  Add shallots and garlic to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes until just tender.

3.  Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil.  Turn off the burner, add in the asparagus pieces and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.

4.  In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, asparagus, shallots, garlic, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and lemon zest.

5.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.  While continuously whisking, slowly pour olive oil into the mixture.  Stir the dressing into the salad.

6.  Cool in refrigerator for at least 5 hours.  Trust me, this only gets better with refrigeration.

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Garlic-Rosemary Pizza Dough for the Bread Machine


Making pizza dough in your bread machine is a delicious and inexpensive alternative to your favorite restaurant when you just don’t feel like heading out.  I love using the bread machine for meals like this.  You dump in the ingredients, press the button and go.  Easy peesy.  I added in some garlic and rosemary to the dough which really amped up the flavors.

Garlic-Rosemary Pizza Dough
Makes 2 12 inch pizzas

1 1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp bread machine yeast
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp chopped rosemary

To make the dough.

  1. Insert ingredients into the bread maker in the order listed.
  2. Set on Dough-only cycle and 2 lb Loaf.
  3. Run bread machine.

To cook the pizza

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a cookie sheet or pizza stone on a middle rack.
  2. Cut dough in half (the second half can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for later use).
  3. Roll and stretch the dough into a 12 inch circle and put onto a cookie sheet or pizza peel covered in parchment paper.
  4. Place desired toppings on the dough and slide pizza onto the hot cookie sheet/pizza stone.
  5. Cook for 18-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the dough is light brown.


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Corned Beef and Cabbage in the Slow Cooker

This is a crazy easy way to cook corned beef.  Like all good crock pot recipes, you simply slice, dump in the crockpot and press the button.  I thought about waiting to post this nearer to St. Patrick’s Day but who says there has to be a holiday to enjoy a good slice of beef like this.  I didn’t take a photo of the cabbage, carrots and onion that cook along with the beef simply because, while they taste yummy, they photograph terribly.
I often use on of my favorite short cuts with this and just dump in a half a bag or so of baby carrots instead of doing the peeling and chopping.  Especially since I usually have some in the fridge anyway.
Serving suggestion:  Provide some Dijon mustard to spread of the beef.
Also absolutely delicious as a sandwich. Place a slice or two on sourdough or rye with some swiss cheese and grill lightly.  Mmmmmm.
Corned Beef and Cabbage in the Crockpot
Slightly adapted From Sandra Lee on
2-3 pound corned beef brisket with spice packet
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces (or 1/2 a small bag of baby carrots)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small head green cabbage, cored, roughly chopped
2 cups apple cider or juice (I prefer cider)
1 cup water
1.  Put the carrots and onions on the bottom of slow cooker.
2.  Trim any large chunks of fat from the corned beef and place on top of the vegetables. 
2.  Place the contents of the spice packet on top of the beef and then carefully pour the apple cider and 1 cup of water over the beef, trying not to wash of the spices. Arrange the chopped cabbage around and over the beef.
3.  Cook on low 6 (for 2 lbs) to 8 (for 3 lbs) hours until the beef is tender. Remove the beef and vegetables to a platter, slice as desired and serve warm.


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