Rice and Vegetable Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant, Rice, Vegetables, Vegan

This vegan stuffed eggplant recipe is delicious and nutritious. My mother’s stuffed eggplant is the model for this vegan version.  Her eggplant was stuffed with ground beef, rice, and  tomatoes, similar to a stuffed cabbage filling. She made it only once or twice a year, so it was a welcome treat. Today, however, I wanted to make a healthier and lighter version based on my mother’s original recipe. I used fresh ingredients that I had available, and I am very pleased with the result.  You’ll find that the stuffing is moist, hearty, delicious, and most importantly satisfying.

Ingredients:

1/2 – cup jasmine rice
1 – carrots
1 – stalks celery
1/2 – medium onion
2 – cloves garlic
Pinch of pepper flake
3 – cups vegetable stock
3/4 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. pepper
1 – cup grape tomatoes halved
4 – basil leaves
2 – tbls. parsley
1/2 – cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

First, put the rice on to cook.  Add one cup vegetable broth to a pot and bring to a boil.  Add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce the flame to a simmer.  Cook with the lid on for about 15 minutes.  Stir often and check that the broth does not dry up to quickly.  Cook until the broth is absorbed.  Test the rice to see if it is cooked, but do not overcook.

Next, wash the eggplant and cut it in half, then remove some of the meat of the eggplant to make a well to hold the stuffing.

Set the portion you remove aside, as it will be added to the stuffing.

Make the soffritto using a food processor. Add carrot, onion, and celery and pulse until finely chopped. 

In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 finely diced cloves of garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flake. Sauté about 3 minutes until the garlic starts to soften.  While the garlic is sautéing, chop the pieces of eggplant that you removed and add to the skillet. 

Stir and cook about 2 minutes, then add the soffritto.

Add more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle about 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper to the soffritto, mix, and cook about 2 minutes.  Now add 1/2 cup vegetable stock. Continue cooking until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir often so it does not stick to the pan.

Drain the cannellini beans and add them to the soffritto along with the grape tomatoes.

Stir to incorporate them and cook another 3 minutes.  

Next add the herbs and chopped walnuts, stir to incorporate them.

Now add the cooked rice and a about 1/2 cup vegetable broth.  Stir and taste to see if it needs more salt.  

Assemble and Bake

Place the eggplant in a baking dish, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Drizzle olive oil on the eggplant, then fill each half with the stuffing.  Drizzle a little more olive oil over the stuffing and some on the bottom of the baking pan.

Place in a preheated 350° and cook about 15 minutes.  Add about 1 cup of hot vegetable broth to the bottom of the pan and return to the oven.

Cook about one hour until the eggplant is tender and the top of the stuffing starts to brown.  Use the broth in the bottom of the pan to baste the eggplant before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Buon appetito!

 




Chocolate Chip Cookies

The perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies are crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. If you agree with me, then this recipe is for you. You can’t go wrong with these cookies. When I asked my family what cookies I should bake for the holidays, these Chocolate Chip cookies were at the top of the list.

I have been making this recipe since I was a teenager. I don’t know where it came from, but it has been my go too recipe most of my life. Other recipes that I have tried over the years just don’t measure up. This recipe calls for both chocolate chips and walnuts. Of course you can use any kind of nut you prefer or none at all, but I think the nuts make them extra good.

Ingredients:
1/2 – cup unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 – cup sugar
1/4 – cup brown sugar
1 – egg
1 – tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 – cup all purpose flour
3/4 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. baking soda
1/2 – cup chocolate chips
1/2 – cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Once the butter is creamy, add in the flour mixture a little at a time and mix until all incorporated.

Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.

Spoon teaspoonfuls of cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet or on parchment paper. Space them about 2 inches apart.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven for about 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Place the cookies on racks to cool.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies




Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

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It must be 20 years since I have made these oatmeal cookies. I came across the recipe recently and decided to give it a go. When I was first married I made this recipe regularly. After all these years, these cookies did not disappoint me, they are moist, chewy, and delicious. The combination of raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon gives them the perfect balance of sweetness, texture, and spice.

Ingredients:
1 – cup raisins
1 1/2 – cups water
3/4 – cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/2 – cups sugar
2 – eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
2 – cups raw oats
2 1/2 – cups all purpose flour
1 – tsp. Baking soda
1/2 – tsp. Baking powder
1 – tsp. salt
1 – tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 – cup walnuts (chopped)

Directions:
In a small sauce pan, add the water and raisins. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Drain the raisins, reserving the liquid in a small bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup of liquid. If it is less you can add water to bring it up to 1/2 cup.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, mixing on medium speed about 1 1/2 minutes.

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Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix another minute.

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Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients–oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.

Pour the 1/2 cup of reserved raisin water into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Mix briefly (it will look curdled, but do not worry this is normal).

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Now add the dry ingredients and mix until all incorporated, about 2 minutes.

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Add the raisins and mix briefly to incorporate them into the dough.

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Place rounded spoonfuls of the dough about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

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Bake in a pre-heated 375° oven for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on bottom.

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Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Enjoy!




Banana Nut Yogurt Bread

I had some very ripe bananas and decided to make a banana bread.  I took a recipe that I have used in the past and changed a few ingredients.  I added brown sugar along with the sugar in the raw, and instead of milk I used a container of Chobani Greek blueberry yogurt I had on hand.  Blueberries and bananas go well together so I took a chance.  The result was one of the best banana breads I have ever eaten.  It is moist and delicious, with just the right balance of banana and blueberry.  Give it a try, I’m sure you will like it too. 

Ingredients:

2 – cups sifted all purpose flour
1 – tsp. baking soda
5.3 – oz. Chobani Greek Blueberry Yogurt
3/4 – cup sugar in the raw (or granulated sugar)
1/2 – cup light brown sugar
1/2 – cup butter (unsalted)
2 – eggs
1/2 – tsp. salt
3-4 – very ripe bananas
2 – tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 – cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar (butter should be at room temperature). Add eggs and mix about one minute until completely incorporated. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and add to the egg mixture in three batches, alternating with the yogurt. Mix until all the flour is completely incorporated.

Add the vanilla. Smash the bananas with a spatula or potato masher and add them to the batter and mix well. Fold in the chopped nuts and pour into a greased bread pan.

Bake at 350°   for 1 hr. – 20 min.  or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Check at one hour.  If the top is very brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn while it finishes baking.