Thursday, September 2, 2010

Freezer Cooking: A New Chicken and Eggplant Dish

I just invented a new recipe! Like most of my recipes it started out as a standard recipe out of a magazine. But once I changed 4+ ingredients and the way of cooking them I figured it was far enough away from the original to actually be considered my own. Here it is:

4 medium sized eggplants
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise
5 stalks of celery
3 onions
4 medium sized tomatoes
4 cups tomato juice
Garlic Salt
Kosher Salt
Balsamic Vinaigrette

I began by grilling the chicken pieces on our George Foreman grill and then set them aside to cool.

I sliced the eggplants into rounds and laid them out and salted them to remove the bitter flavor (this wasn't in the original recipe, but I think it's a really, really important step with any eggplant dish!). After half an hour (at least!) I rinsed the sliced eggplant with water, washing the salt away, and then went back to the cutting board to cut the slices into chunks. Placing them into a pan I added a splash of olive oil (I tend to be over generous with olive oil, so it was probably quite a bit more than the couple of tablespoons the original recipe required) and put them on low to cook.

While the eggplants cooked (for about eight minutes, until they are soft) I sliced the celery and onions. Then I placed the eggplants in a bowl and put the celery and onions in the pan with another splash of olive oil and placed them on the burner on low. While the celery and onions cooked I sliced the tomatoes into chunks.

When the celery and onions were done (as was evident by their delicious aroma!) I mixed the celery, onions, eggplant and tomatoes together in a large pot. I then added the tomato juice and stirred everything together.

Then my spice addiction kicked in. I added basil and garlic salt (I would estimate around 3 tbs each, but as with olive oil, I tend to be generous with spices so the best advice might be to add the spices "to taste") along with a little bit of kosher salt and pepper.

Next I added a "splash" of balsamic vinaigrette (around 4 tbs) and stirred.

I then spooned the tomato/eggplant/celery/onion mixture into three casserole dishes. I layered the grilled chicken on top of the mixture (and sprinkled the chicken with pepper) and then covered the meals to freeze. I was able to fill one large, one medium and one small/medium casserole dish. I'd estimate that altogether these ingredients would combine to feed 12 people.

When I reheat these meals for dinner I'll pull them out to defrost them in the morning and then cook the defrosted meals at 35o degrees for 20 minutes.

I did have enough left over that didn't go into the dishes that we were able to try it out and it is a new family favorite. I traded Paul a bowl in exchange for doing the dishes and tidying up the downstairs!

1 comment:

  1. CAM, if you lived in my neighborhood you would probably be in jail right now. The sheriff's a friend of mine.

    I followed you recipe with only minor modifications -- I followed the bachelor's rule of thumb and just diced everything and threw it in a pot for an hour. (Yeh, I know this is a Woman's Place Blog ---- I'm a spy).

    Jail? Oh, yeh. The reason I wrote that is because I am sure that if I invited the sheriff over for dinner he'd agree with me that something that taste's this good has to be illegal (and he'd probably confiscate any evidence.)

    Thanks for the ideas; lots of eggplant and butternut squash from the garden this year!


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