RATATOUILLE – DELICIOUS!

Ratatouille (1)

I MAKE MY RATATOUILLE IN THE CROCK POT TO CUT DOWN ON HEATING UP THE COTTAGE IN THE SUMMER.

1 small eggplant, peeled and diced (I don’t peel mine)
2 small zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (I used Anaheim pepper – a bit milder)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 pound hot sausage
1 (6oz) can tomato paste to thicken
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste if needed

Cut up all the veggies and place in Crock Pot.  Place sausage on top and pour diced tomatoes over everything.  Cook on LOW 6-8 hours (I like cooking less for crisper veggies). In the last hour of cooking remove sausage links and cut up*. Add tomato paste, sugar and spices – mix well and then return sausage to the Pot.

*If you use sausage patties you can just break them up and you won’t need to cut anything up later but my sausage links were frozen so I cooked them and then cut them up.

YOU CAN MAKE THIS MEAL VEGETARIAN BY ELIMINATING THE SAUSAGE. I LOVE TO SERVE IT OVER NOODLES (I USED WHOLE WHEAT THIN SPAGHETTI) BUT IF YOU WANT A GLUTEN FREE VERSION TRY OVER QUINOA OR EVEN SPAGHETTI SQUASH.

I ADDED SHREDDED ITALIAN STYLE CHEESE, PARMESAN CHEESE AND A FEW FRESH BASIL AND PARSLEY LEAVES AS A GARNISH. OF COURSE, I SERVED THIS MEAL WITH A BIG SALAD (WITH LETTUCE AND SPINACH FRESH OUT OF THE GARDEN TOO – CAN’T WAIT FOR THE REST OF THE VEGGIES TO RIPEN)!

THIS MEAL IS SO GOOD YOU COULD GET “THANKSGIVING FULL” ON IT!  I ADVISE HAVING THE SALAD FIRST SO YOU DON’T OVERDO ON THE RATATOUILLE!

 

VEGETARIAN STUFFED PEPPERS IN THE CROCK POT

VEGETARIAN STUFFED PEPPERS

4-5 peppers (any color or variety) seeded
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups instant brown rice (uncooked)
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinse and drain
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinse and drain
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes (can use with spices)
1/2 cup water
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cilantro
1/2 cup salsa (mild, medium or hot – your preference

Mix altogether and stuff peppers. Top each with a chunk of pepper jack cheese and 2 tbsp salsa. Place in crock pot with 1/4 cup water. Cook on LOW 5-6 hours.

Serves 5:

Per Serving: 383 calories; 61g carb; 8g fat; 21g protein; 1193g sodium; 14g sugar

VEGETARIAN MEALS: PREPARATION TIPS AND RECIPE

Vegetarian Meals: Preparation Tips

These suggestions may give you some new ideas for making vegetarian meals.

Beans


Try substituting beans for animal protein in all of your favorite dishes. For example, make black bean burgers instead of hamburgers, and bean enchiladas instead of traditional enchiladas. Even try mixing cannellini beans into your pasta or using kidney beans in place of meat in your favorite sloppy joe recipe.

Meat substitutes


Many meat substitutes are available at most major grocery stores. It is more than just veggie burgers anymore. Try meatless ribs, sausage, chicken wings, franks, and bacon or soy crumbles to replace ground beef.

Hearty vegetables

vegetables
Try using heartier vegetables, such as portobello mushrooms and eggplant, to create filling, healthy meals. Use these vegetables to replace meat in your favorite dishes, such as lasagna.

Tofu

tofu
Tofu picks up the flavor of any other ingredient that it is mixed with. If you mix it into a stir-fry, it will pick up the flavor of the soy sauce, and if you mix it into a fruit smoothie, it will pick up the flavor of the fruit. This versatile ingredient adds protein to any dish. You can even use soft tofu to create a vegetable dip for a fast and easy snack.

Grilled vegetables


Grill vegetables and top with cheese to make a fast and easy sandwich. It is especially tasty to brush the vegetables with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar before grilling. As an alternative, make marinated shish kebabs for a quick meal.

Soups
Enjoy split pea soup, lentil soup, or meatless chili, paired with whole-grain bread for a satisfying meal.

Ethnic foods
Experiment with different ethnic food dishes. For example, many traditional Middle Eastern, Asian, South Indian, and Mexican dishes are vegetarian.

Flavorings
Try a variety of flavored oils, vinegars, cooking wines, fruit and vegetable juices, herbs, and spices to liven up vegetable-based dishes.

Calcium
If you are trying to avoid cow’s milk, consume calcium-fortified soy milk, orange juice, breakfast cereals, bread, or other products to make up for the loss of calcium in your diet. In addition, include the following calcium-rich foods (1 cup of cooked or 2 cups of raw):

  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra

Nut butters


Use peanut, almond, and cashew butters to add a touch of sweetness, “staying power,” and nutrition to oatmeal, stir-fries, smoothies, etc.

COOLER WEATHER IS COMING! TRY THIS HEARTY VEGETARIAN CHILI MADE WITH TOFU CRUMBLES!  This cooks in the Crock Pot all day.

chili

1 (16oz) bag frozen onion and pepper stir fry mix
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced (add more if you prefer a hotter chili)
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (12oz) can tomato paste
1 (28oz) can tomato puree
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
1 (12oz) bag Morning Star Tofu Crumbles (Can use other brands)
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
5-6 tbsp chili powder

You can add portobello mushrooms or celery and carrots or even another can of beans. Place all together in the Crock Pot and stir to combine. Cook on Low 8-10 hours.

ENJOY CUTTING DOWN ON MEAT AND ADDING GREAT, FLAVORFUL ALTERNATIVES!