Monday, January 31, 2011

Green Bean Chicken Casserole


Another great recipe from my Freezer Pleasers book! You really just need to buy this book already. I get so many great recipes from this. This recipe makes two casseroles. One to eat now, one to freeze for later. So adjust if you want to just eat one now. 


I didn't grow up eating green bean casseroles. I think the first time I ate one was in college. At least that's what I remember. It seems like a staple dish for holiday gatherings, but I've never made it before until now. It was very easy to make. And even easier to freeze and heat up. I know those french-fried onions are so bad for you. But they just make the dish. Yum!

Ingredients:
1 6 oz. package of wild rice
4 cups of cooked and cubed chicken
2 cups frozen French-style green beans (I used canned green beans)
1 can reduced fat, condensed cream of chicken soup (I hate cream of mushroom)
1 can reduced fat, condensed cream of celery soup
2/3 cup chopped onions
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 envelope of onion soup mix
3/4 cup shredded Colby cheese
1 can of french-fried onions

Directions:
Cook rice according to package directions.
In a large bowl or pot combine the rice with chicken, beans, soups, onions, green pepper, and soup mix.
Transfer to two greased/sprayed 1.5 qt baking dishes.
Top with cheese.


To eat now...
Cover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, sprinkle with french-fried onions and bake 5 minutes longer. Onions should be golden-brown.


To eat later...
Cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready, completely that in fridge. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking.
Cover and bake at 350 for 60 to 65 minutes. 
Uncover, sprinkle with french-fried onions and bake 5 minutes longer. Onions should be golden-brown.


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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spinach Lasagna

You can really take the fat/calories out of lasagna by switching up your ingredients. Try cottage cheese instead of ricotta (I know, I know real Italians are cussing at me everywhere), use vegetables instead of meat, cut down on the cheese, use whole wheat pasta, try fresh tomatoes, and use low fat cheeses. This recipe calls for fat-free cream cheese rather than doing other types of cheese. I thought that was something different so I gave it a try. It turned out really well. When some of the girls came over to make cake pops with me we I had this for dinner. 


This was inspired by the Tomato-Basil Lasagna with Prosciutto recipe that I found here. But I made it differently and then adapted it some more so I could freeze it. See directions below and how to cook after freezing it for up to 2 months. 


Ingredients:
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorina romano cheese
2.5 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 large egg
1 jar of low fat pasta sauce (I used Ragu)
cooking spray
12 lasagna noodles (I use Ronzoni Healthy Harvest)
1 to 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 packages of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained, dried out, and mashed with a fork. 
1/2 cup of reduced fat parmesan cheese


Directions:
Cook lasagna noodles according to box instructions. Separate on wax paper when finished cooking and draining. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix garlic and cottage cheese together.
Make sure cream cheese is soft and at room temperature. Use microwave if needed.
Mix in cream cheese, pecorina romano, basil, pepper, and egg. Mix well. 
Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of a greased/sprayed 13x9 baking dish. 
Arrange 3 noodles on the bottom. 
On top of the noodles spread with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. 
Top with 1/3 of the spinach mixture.
Top with 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.
Repeat with noodles, cheese, spinach, & pasta sauce. 
Repeat with noodles, cheese, spinach, then noodles again. 
Pour remaining pasta sauce over noodles. 
Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. 
Bake in oven, covered, for 45 minutes. Bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.


Or...if you want to freeze it, don't bake it now. Cover it with foil, plastic wrap, or casserole dish lid. Place in freezer for up to 2 months. 


The night before defrost in the fridge. Take it out 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a little bit of water in the bottom of the dish so that noodles don't dry out. But not too much water. Cook in oven for about an hour and a half, covered. Optional-top with additional mozzarella cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. 





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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Irish Coffee

Cooking club's theme this month was Slow Cooker. Woo-hoo! I signed up for the alcoholic beverage and attempted Irish Coffee. AMAZING. It's the perfect night cap or after-dinner dessert. It was so good I made it again the following night. I had this awesome Kahlua coffee that I used. Any regular coffee will do though. If you are not a big coffee drinker, then it's the perfect recipe. And if you are not a big alcohol/Bailey's drinker, then it's still the perfect recipe. Everything is mixed together so well that you don't taste too much of the Bailey's and you don't taste too much of the coffee. It's just a perfect drink for entertaining guests. You might think of using decaf coffee depending on what guests are coming over. Enjoy!


This served about 8 people


Ingredients:
6 cups of freshly brewed coffee
1 cup of Bailey's Irish Creme 
1 tbsp of cocoa powder
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
container of fat free cool whip


Directions:
Combine coffee & Bailey's in slow cooker.
Mix in cocoa and whipping cream.
Cook on low for 3 hours.
Serve in coffee mugs/glasses and top with cool whip





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Friday, January 28, 2011

Slow Cooker Puffy Pizza


I stole this from A Year of Slow Cooking Blog. I haven't really mastered this recipe yet. I had a lot of people over and didn't have enough for everyone (we wound up ordering pizza too). I could of doubled the recipe and made it in my larger crock pot, but I don't know about the cooking times. I cooked on high for 4 hours. You may need to experiment and watch it to see if it needs longer or less than that. My edges came out a little too burnt. I would have wanted to make it more puffy and less meaty. But I don't know how to time that so that the meat doesn't get too burnt and the water/flour/milk/egg mix cooks enough.  Feel free to try this recipe and give me some pointers. It's really good and you can add more vegetables like onions & peppers (or any other pizza topping you enjoy). Feel free to check out the original recipe too. 



Also, you can just go to the store and pick up Spaghetti Mix and use that instead of all the seasonings. But I did what was recommended and just made it. (That's really just cause I couldn't find the Spaghetti Mix at the grocery store.) All the ingredients to the right is what i needed to make the Spaghetti Mix So that is up to you to decide. I also didn't have green pepper flakes so I couldn't use those as well. 



Ingredients:
3/4 pound extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
20-30 turkey pepperoni slices
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon green pepper flakes (if you have them)
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning



Directions:
In a large skillet, brown beef, cook onion & garlic.
In a small bowl mix together kosher salt through italian seasoning.
Pour over beef mixture.
Add oregano, tomato sauce, and water.
Stir over low heat until bubbles appear. Remove from heat and place in 4 quart slow cooker.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, milk, eggs, and cheese. Pour evenly over beef mixture.
Top with pepperoni and olives.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Cooking time may vary.
Look for it to puff up and pull away from sides.





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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crab Bisque

Here is another hit from my Freezer Pleasers book. MMMMMmmmmm...Crab Bisque! This makes about 6 to 8 servings.  



Ingredients:
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 can cream-style corn
1 can condensed cream of potato soup
1 can condensed, reduced fat cream of celery soup
1 cup of skim milk
1 cup half and half cream
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
3 6 oz. cans of crabmeat, drained, flaked, and cartilage removed.



Directions:
In a large saucepan, saute the celery, onion, and green pepper in butter until tender.
Add corn, soup, milk, cream and seasonings. Mix well.
Stir in crab, heat through.
Serve with crackers or croutons now...


Or to freeze for later...
Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
Transfer to large frozen container. Freeze for up to 3 months


When ready to eat...
Thaw in fridge overnight.
Heat in saucepan or use microwave.





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Veggie Enchiladas (final product)

Wow, these veggie enchiladas turned out delicious! I would highly recommend making these. See original post on how to make themThey are easy to make and you'll feel good about yourself when you eat them. If you follow stuff like Weight Watchers you'll be happy to know they are only 2.5 points per enchilada. 


I froze mine for about a week, but you can freeze these up to 2 months. You have to keep the enchilada sauce and actual enchiladas in separate containers. Make sure they are sealed in airtight containers, use plastic wrap & tin foil for the enchiladas. Take them both out of the freezer and move them into the fridge the night before you want to eat them. When you are ready to eat preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, defrost the sauce in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Pour over enchiladas and cover with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for additional 15 minutes. (Top with cheese = optional) They will be hot! Let them cool!





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Monday, January 24, 2011

Blogs I Love

I have a handful of really awesome cookbooks. Plus I've been checking out cookbooks from the library and have found a lot of cool, new recipes. I'm excited to find some time to try them out. But in reality there are so many resources out on the web that you don't always need a website. Sometimes it's hard to find exactly what you are looking for, so here are a handful of fabulous blogs/websites which I follow to get great recipes from. Check them out for yourself and go ahead and try something new!


TasteSpotting.com -- So this website is PHENOMENAL. Even if you never use a single recipe, the pictures are what it's all about. This site scours the web for you finding a collection of recipes - every kind - so that you don't have to. You'll definitely want to check this one out.


AllRecipes.com -- you probably have heard of this site, but the best part about it is the "Ingredients" link on the top. If you have the ingredients in your cabinets, but don't know what to do with it, it will help you find a matching recipe. It's also helpful to store recipes in your "Recipe Box" to revisit later.


Bakerella -- If you love to bake, then this is your girl. Just got Cake Pops from the library and can't wait to give them a try!!!


TJ's Test Kitchen -- Tj is where I learned about spaghetti squash, nutritional yeast, and laughing cow alfredo sauce. She has a handful of neat meal ideas that are interesting, but healthy. 


A Year of Slow Cooking -- Back in 2008 the author of this blog made a commitment to use her crock pot. EVERY DAY. Thank goodness she did because now she has A TON of crock pot/slow cooker recipes for everyone to explore. ENJOY!


28Cooks -- This blog is a friend of a friend's and you'll love it because the recipes are unique and all vegetarian! So if you are looking for some great meatless meals you should explore her blog. 


SkinnyTaste.com -- I'm obsessed with Gina's Skinny Taste blog. Her recipes are healthy, creative, and the pictures are amazing. I steal a lot of recipes from her. I love her crepes and shepherd's pie. 





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Sunday, January 23, 2011

This Week's Dinner Menu

So excited for this week. The enchiladas, crab bisque, lasagna, & casserole are already waiting for me int  the freezer! WOO-HOO!

I get to celebrate my nieces 2nd B-Day, go on a fancy date with Gerald this weekend, and test out cake pops for the first time with some friends. It's gonna be a great week! :-)







What do you think? Comments? Suggestions? I would love to know that you visited my blog. Please leave me a message letting me know you were here! Did you try out a recipe? Let me know! I would love to hear from you :-)



Beef & Cabbage Medley

I've never made anything with cabbage before. But this recipe is real simple and pretty darn healthy. It comes out to be pretty flavorful and it's flexible so feel free to make any variations to it, such as adding cheese, more vegetables, or different types of seasoning.

Ingredients:
1 medium cabbage, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
1 can of Campbell's tomato soup condensed
salt & pepper
1 3/4 cups of water
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
In a large sauce pot brown ground beef & saute onions. Add garlic powder and stir occasionally.
Add tomato soup, water, salt & pepper, & cabbage.
Bring to a boil.
Lower heat, simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Remove from hit, let stand for a few minutes, then serve.




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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Veggie Enchiladas



I'm very excited about this recipe. I love all things Mexican. Let me rephrase that, I love all Mexican foods. I especially love enchiladas. I'm learning that not all Mexican foods have to be bad for you. I've been trying to make enchiladas as low-calorie and as healthy as possible. Whenever, I cook with ground beef or chicken I always choose extra lean. Also, sometimes instead of using beef, I'll just use beans & rice. I try to use La Victoria enchilada sauce which isn't too bad (fat & calorie-wise) plus I'll cut down on cheese and oil too. So when I came across this vegetable enchilada recipe I was thrilled at how easy it was, how healthy it was, and how good it is. Instead of a can of enchilada sauce you make your own tomato-flavored sauce. I use Soy-full Heart tortillas that are high in fiber, low calorie, and low in fat. This recipe is awesome because of all that. but also all the pretty colors. 


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 can low fat chicken broth, beef broth, or vegetable broth
salt & pepper
1 cup shredded mexican cheese
1 can 15 oz. beans (kidney or black), drained & rinsed
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed some-what dry
10 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (with corn)
6 green onions, thinly sliced
16 tortillas 


Directions:
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. 
Add 1 teaspoon cumin, flour, and tomato paste, whisk together while cooking.
Whisk in broth and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
Season with salt & pepper, set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 cup cheese, beans, spinach, corn, green onions and additional salt & pepper. 
Spray casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Place 1/3 or 1/4 cup of veggie mixture into each tortilla.
Roll up tightly and place in casserole dish, seam side down. You may be able to fill up 2 casserole dishes if you use all 16 tortillas.
Top evenly with sauce (and additional cheese if desired).
Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly about 15 to 20 minutes. 






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Friday, January 21, 2011

Swedish Meatball Casserole Dish

Allrecipes.com has this awesome feature where you can type in the ingredients you have and it will find recipes that use those ingredients. You can even include ingredients you DON'T want. I had a box of hamburger helper that I got for something like 17 cents because I had a coupon and it was already on sale. You can probably just eat hamburger helper on it's own. No recipe needed, just follow the box directions. But I found a recipe for these swedish meatballs that uses a box of hamburger helper. So I went with it. It was delicious!

Ingredients:
3 cups hot water
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
1 box of hamburger helper (i used basil & tomato penne)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pour the hot water into a 3 quart casserole dish. Stir in heavy cream. 
Mix in sauce mix from the packaged dinner and the nutmeg.
Add uncooked pasta/noodles from package and stir until well mixed.
Cover & bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, and garlic powder. <
Mix well and form golf-ball sized meatballs, about 12. 
Place a cooling rack into a cookie sheet (meatballs will drip while cooking) and arrange meatballs on rack. < Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Check to make sure meatballs are no longer pink all the way through.
Stir in the cooked meatballs with the noodles and cook uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Serve with garlic bread. :-)





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Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Fire Sam Adams Turkey Chili

Love Love Love Chili. I can remember when I was younger my father making chili in our kitchen and pouring in beer to the concoction. As a kid I didn't really understand what he was doing. I just figured it was my dad, being my dad. But now that I cook on my own I often add beer to my chili. We had a variety pack of Sam Adams left at our house from the Man-Meat-Night at our house this weekend. So I decided to add a bottle of Samuel Adams Winter Lager while simmering the chili. I also added A TON of spicy seasonings. Warning! This recipe is on fire! Be sure to serve with cornbread & rice to cool of your taste buds.

Ingredients:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 can of dark red kidney beans
1 can of whole kernel corn
1 can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 bottle of Samuel Adams Winter Lager
1 tbsp of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tbsp of chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp of red pepper flakes

Directions:
Brown ground turkey in skillet.
Mix in garlic, corn, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and beer.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer.
Add all spices and mix well.
Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Serve with cornbread & rice!




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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Penne Bake

This is another Martha Stewart freezer recipe. I'm learning that these recipes are some-what INVOLVED. But this one is deliciously worth it. The recipe calls for a lot more butter, oil, milk, & cheese then I wanted to use. So I cut it down to include the ingredients below. I LOVE sun-dried tomatoes. I used the kind with oil and I didn't drain it too much. But you might want to think about getting oil-free sun-dried tomatoes or getting the kind soaked in oil and then draining and drying them out. After cooking the dish it's possible to let it cool and then freeze it up to 3 months. I was able to make two casserole dishes worth of food. So it's perfect to eat one now and save one for later. If you don't want that much think about cutting the recipe in half.


Ingredients:
1 package of penne pasta
olive oil spray
8 oz boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or chicken strips
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all purpose-flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups skim milk
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup italian pecorina romano



Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Boil & cook pasta in a salted pot according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken. Season with salt & pepper. Heat until cooked through.
In a large pot, melt butter and add garlic & flour.
Whisk together and while whisking add milk gradually and bring to a simmer. Whisk frequently.
Add tomatoes, cook for a minute. Remove from heat.
Add cheeses and stir in completely until melted.
Add chicken and drained pasta, season with additional salt & pepper.
Divide pasta between to baking dishes. (Feel free to top with parmesan cheese)
I chose to freeze mine so I skipped the next step and covered with foil.
Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes until top is golden & bubbling. Let stand for a few minutes, then serve.
If you choose to cook frozen heat in 400 degree oven for 1.5 hours. It should be covered and after cooking you can remove foil and cook uncovered for 15 more minutes.








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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Creamy Chicken & Noodles


Inspired from my Freezer Pleasers book. So this means there is enough to eat a dish now and freeze a dish for later. I was able to freeze A LOT of meals. I filled about 4 small containers. The original recipe called for bow tie pasta. But I didn't have any so I used no yolk spiral noodles instead. The recipe also called for a lot more cheese & butter, but I cut that down as well. 


Ingredients:
8 oz. of no yolk noodles
1.5 pound of  boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tbsp cup butter, cubed
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 can of reduced fat cream of celery soup
2 cups frozen peas or mixed vegetables
1.5 cups of milk
2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup reduced fat grated parmesan cheese


Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet, cook chicken & red pepper in butter for 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in soup, peas, milk, garlic salt, pepper. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 2 minutes.
Stir in parmesan cheese. 
Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture, stir together.
Transfer to freezer container or eat now.
If you freeze, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Then transfer to microwave-safe dish. Cover & cook on high for 8 to 10 minutes.


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Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Week's Dinner Menu





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Roasted Tomato & Eggplant Soup


I got this freezer-friendly recipe via Martha Stewart. She actually has a great selection of some freezer recipes that I'm interested in trying on her website. And all the pictures are oh-so-beautiful, of course.


I had made lasagna with eggplant last week and wanted to try out another eggplant recipe. I had most of these ingredients sitting around my house, so I decided to give it a try. It's an involved recipe for something so simple as soup. But I enjoyed making it. All the pureeing credit goes to my friend Nicole. I was busy making a Mediterranean tuna casserole while waiting on the veggies to roast on the soup, so she jumped in and helped me out. 



Ingredients:
3 tomatoes, diced (the recipe calls for 12, I used a can of crushed tomatoes instead)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes 
1/2 pound baby carrots, diced
3 tsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large eggplant, chopped into 3/4 inch chunks
1 can of red kidney beans, drained & rinsed (you can use chick peas or other another bean)
2 tsp curry powder


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
You will need two rimmed baking sheets. Spray with olive oil spray.
In one baking sheet mix together tomatoes, carrots, garlic, 1/2 tbsp olive oil oil, 1 tsp salt, & 1/4 tsp pepper. Spread in single layer.
On the other baking sheet mix together eggplant, beans, curry powder, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Spread in a single layer.
Place both sheets in oven. Tomato mixture on top rack and eggplant on bottom.
Roast until tender which will be about 30 minutes, toss halfway through.
Puree tomato mixture in a blender. Since we didn't use enough tomatoes their wasn't much juice, so instead of adding the 3 or 4 cups of water in the next step you can do it in this step. That way the tomato mixture will puree better in the blender. Or what we did is we added the crushed tomatoes and that allowed everything to mix better. 
Transfer to large pot. Stir in eggplant. Add 3 cups of water to thin. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with additional salt & pepper, if desired.
Let cool completely and transfer to storage container.
Freeze for no more than 3 months.
To eat later, defrost overnight, reheat over medium-high heat. Thin with water, if needed. Sprinkle with cilantro & crispy bread.







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