Tag Archives: easy

Memories of Summer (tomato salads)

Aren't they cute!

Aren't they cute!

On days like today and those like last week, I need to remember summer. Since tomatoes are my favorite food, it’s hard to replicate the feeling of summer in the dead of winter. But somehow, I was able to spot good tomatoes at Costco (yes, I know, but they were great). These little beauties were so sweet (they were intended for soup or sauce, but I tasted one and decided that they’re good enough for salad).
So here’s my new take on salad.

Ingredients:
Tomatoes
Onions
Feta
Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar
Salt, pepper (to taste)

Steps:
1. Quarter the tomatoes
2. Slice the onions into thin moons
3. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta. Mix. Eat.

Tomato close-up

Tomato close-up

Salad

Salad

Vegetable Saute

I love this saute.  It’s easy to make and absolutely lip-smacking delicious.  Most people would eat this as a spread on a piece of lightly toasted bread, and that’s how I grew up eating.  However, now I can’t be bothered with making toast just for this, so I eat it straight-up.  This is also a great side dish or a cold salad.  It’s actually intended to be eaten cold or at room temperature.

Carrots, Eggplant, Onion, Garlic

Carrots, Eggplant, Onion, Garlic

Ingredients:
1 eggplant
3 carrots (medium)
1 onion (large)
4 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper.

 

 
Steps:
1. Peel and dice the egg plant. Set the eggplant into a colander and salt it heavily so the liquid can drain out of the eggplant. Let sit in the colander for about a half hour. After draining, wash the eggplant thoroughly to get rid of the salt.  Look at the picture below to see how much liquid was drained.  You don’t want that in the pan because it will make everything soggy.
2. Dice the onion and carrots.
3. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet and start sauteing the veggies (you can add them all the same time). If you see things are starting to stick, add a touch more oil. Eggplant is like a sponge in that respect, it soaks up the oil.
4. Add garlic when the veggies are a getting a little soft. Salt and pepper.
It’s done when the carrots are soft, which would take about a half hour on low-medium heat.

Size to cut the carrots

Size to cut the carrots

Liquid draining from eggplant

Liquid from eggplant

Eggplant cut up

Eggplant cut up

Veggies in the pan

Veggies in the pan

Marinated/Pickled Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms

I absolutely love pickled things; I think I can live on pickles alone. So I am always looking for good and easy recipes for pickling things. This time, I wanted to experiment with pickling mushrooms. I wanted a recipe that was very easy and very quick and with a very short list of ingredients and steps.
So here is what I came up with:

Ingredients:
2 6.5 OZ package of mushrooms (I used button mushrooms)
1 jar of Zesty Italian Dressing

Steps:
1. Wash the mushrooms (they don’t absorb water and don’t get soggy, don’t worry).
2. Place the mushrooms into a pot full of cold water and bring to a boil.
3. Let boil for a few minutes and drain.
4. Place mushrooms into a clean jar and pour the entire jar of Italian Dressing on top of the mushrooms.
5. Close tightly and let stand for a few days. Make sure all the mushrooms are equally covered, so mix up the contents ever now and again.

I had great tasting mushrooms in a few days.

Roasted Tomatoes

Fresh Roma Tomatoes

Fresh Roma Tomatoes

I found this recipe on The Perfect Pantry and decided to give it a try.  I followed the recipe closely, but not exactly.  Since ovens vary, I actually roasted my tomatoes for around 14 hours (started late in the evening and turned it off in the morning).  Also, I didn’t add the thyme.  To me, it makes everything taste moldy.  Yeah, I know, it’s odd.

But just to recap, here is what happened.

Ingredients:
Several pounds of Roma tomatoes
Olive oil (if you have garlic olive oil, it would be PERFECT! here)
Garlic (a lot/to taste)
Salt
Black pepper, freshly ground

Seasoned Tomatoes

Seasoned Tomatoes

Steps:
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise. Salt and pepper liberally. Place on a cookie sheet.
3. Sprinkle minced garlic (this should be to taste and it should depend on how many pounds of tomatoes you have).
4. Drizzle olive oil and place the tomatoes into the oven.

The phenomenal smell emanating from the oven will be ridiculously hard to resist, but please do. The results will be well worth the wait.

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes

Leftovers into the pan

I always have too many leftovers and I never know what to do with them.  Today I decided to toss all of them into a pot.  Generally, that’s my typical cooking style (through stuff into a pot and see what happens) unless I’m making a specific dish.  Today I had bits of uncooked pasta, half a large eggplant, and a few other raw ingredients.  Feel free to try this with anything you like.  Here is what I had.

Ingredients:

1/2 of a large eggplant (peeled and diced)
3/4 of a large red onion (diced)
1 14.5 oz. can of tomatoes (whatever you have on hand)
a packet of mushrooms (mine were already sliced)
cheese (whatever you like, to taste)
salt, pepper, parsley, garlic
a handful of spaghetti
liquid (you can use some wine, or stock or water. I used about a cup of chicken stock)

Steps:
1. In a large skillet saute onions, garlic and eggplant together. When the eggplant shrinks a little and the onions are really soft, add the mushrooms.
2. Add stock and cook for a few minutes before adding the can of tomatoes.
3. Season.
4. Add the cooked pasta (cook it in a different pot), parsley, and cheese.

Roasted Chicken

This is how my family likes my roasted chicken.  It’s quite simple, really.  All you need is a chicken (or any part of a chicken that you like, such as chicken legs, or chicken thighs, or wings, or chicken breasts).  Because I cut away much of the fat in the chicken, this turns out to be a lower-fat dish than you’d normally expect. Here is my method:

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken of about 3-4 pounds (or 3-4 pounds package of chicken legs/thighs)
1 bottle of McCormic Rotisserie Chicken seasoning. I use this liberally, and I suggest you do too, but use as much as you want. (If you don’t want to use the seasoning, using just salt and pepper works exceptionally well too and I’ve done my chicken that way many a-time.)

Steps:
1. Clean the chicken.
That’s right, get your hands dirty, get all that yucky film that’s under the skin off, remove as much fat as possible (don’t worry, you’ll have plenty for the chicken to be moist), and remove any remaining feathers that are still on the chicken.
2. Loosen the skin where you can and pull it away from the body of the chicken and sprinkle the seasoning very liberally (under the skin). The aim is to cover every area that you can get to. If it looks like too much, it’s not. You want it covered.
3. Put the chicken skin back on (remember you “peeled” the skin back in step 2) and sprinkle the seasoning on top of the skin, very liberally.  Salt to taste (the McCormic seasoning doesn’t have enough salt, if any).
4. LET MARINATE FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS. It’s better if you let it marinate overnight.

If you’ve let the chicken season over night, bring it up to room temperature before placing it into the oven (yes, let it sit on the counter for a few hours; it will be fine, you’re going to cook it and all the icky scary bacteria will be dead).

5. When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 375-400 degrees, place chicken into an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminum foil, and cook for about 30 minutes covered. Then, remove the foil so the chicken can get a warm golden color. Also, at this time, while you’re removing the foil, you’ll notice there will be some juices at the bottom of the pan. I use these juiced to baste the chicken and I do this only once.

The chicken is done after about an hour or so, or when the juices run clear.

When it’s done, let it rest under aluminum foil for about 5-10 minutes.  The resting will ensure that it will be juicy and the foil will ensure that it’s still hot/warm when you serve it.

That’s it! If you try it, let me know how it turned out. I’m trying to capture every little detail of how I prepare it, so it probably looks more complicated than it really is. I’ll also post a picture next time I make it. Don’t think 1 leftover drumstick is gonna make a great picture. 😉

Still raw but seasoned well

Looks good enough to eat already, but still raw

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven. YUM!