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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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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