Tag Archives: Italian themed veggie pack

Crash Hot Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

3 Feb


This dinner was definitely not in the Weekly Meal Plan, but it certainly came together perfectly to use some of the potatoes and asparagus I had gotten from Bountiful Baskets this week.  I had seen these potatoes on Pinterest a while back, but apparently hadn’t pinned it, so I had to search again and luckily found it.  I luckily had fresh rosemary from the Italian veggie themed pack still to use for the potatoes.  I then decided I should make either steak or chicken on the grill since I am trying to get good use out of my new grill.  I decided it would be a good idea to grill the asparagus too, just to avoid another dirty pan and again, utilize the grill.  It all turned out delicious and got rave reviews from the whole family.


Crash Hot Potatoes
Based on recipes here and here

What you need:

12 small potatoes, mine were red
Olive oil
Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Malt vinegar

How to make it:

Wash potatoes thoroughly.  Add to a large pot and add enough water to just cover potatoes.  Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes until just tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Grease a baking sheet thoroughly with oil.  Lay out the 12 potatoes.  Slightly mash each potato with a potato masher, turn potato masher 90 degrees and slightly mash each potato again.  Brush each potato with olive oil, then sprinkle on salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and splash each potato with malt vinegar.


Grilled Asparagus
Based on recipe here

What you need:

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

How to make it:

Place asparagus on skewers.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill on high heat for a few minutes, or until desired tenderness.

Remove from grill and splash with balsamic vinegar.


Baked Ratatouille

31 Jan


My oldest daughter thought it was so cool to make Ratatouille like in the Disney movie, Ratatouille.  I used the eggplant from the Asian themed veggie pack I got this week, a zucchini I had left in my fridge, rosemary, oregano, and parsley from the Italian themed veggie pack a few weeks pack, and tomato and onion from this week’s basket.  It tasted really good, but my presentation needs some work.  I had wanted to use a round casserole dish, but it wasn’t fitting right, so I put it in a 13 x 9 pan instead.  But, then it was all spread out too much, but it still cooked fine.  Also, most recipes also call for peppers, which I have, but just didn’t add in since my husband doesn’t really like cooked peppers.


Baked Ratatouille
Based on recipes here and here

What you need:

1 large onion, cut into rings
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2″ slices
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
Olive oil

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, mix together Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and oregano.

Grease a medium-sized casserole dish with olive oil.  Make a layer with the onions.  Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and spice mixture.  Repeat this process for the remaining vegetables.

Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 45 – 60 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

24 Jan


In recent weeks of Bountiful Baskets, I have received a lot of tomatoes.  I like tomatoes in salads, but I also wanted to try some new things with them.  One of those things was pizza sauce.  Most recipes I found called for canned, diced tomatoes or canned, whole tomatoes, or tomato paste, and while I knew I could make those things with fresh tomatoes, I didn’t want to spend the extra time.  So, I finally found a recipe on AllRecipes.com that was exactly what I wanted, a recipe that used fresh tomatoes and didn’t require any extra prep to those tomatoes.  Perfect!  It also used up the rest of my fresh basil and fresh oregano, and some of the fresh parsley in my Italian veggie pack.  Even better!  This sauce was used on a Sausage Florentine Pizza.  It made about 1 1/2 cups of sauce, so was perfect for the size pizza I was making.


Pizza Sauce
Based on this recipe

What you need:

2 ripe tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

How to make it:

Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Do not liquefy, sauce should remain somewhat chunky.

Balsamic Bruschetta and Garlic Herb Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower

23 Jan

We are big fans of Olive Garden restaurant, and we don’t get to go too often.  So, I decided I would try to make a couple of my favorites at home.  It worked out perfectly with some of the things I had gotten from Bountiful Baskets recently.  For the bruschetta, I used the Italian olive oil bread that my friend gave me this week, plus tomatoes from this week, then fresh garlic, fresh basil, and fresh parsley from the Italian themed veggie pack the week before.  For the chicken, I used part broccoli, part cauliflower from this week’s basket.  I wasn’t able to find the exact kind of pasta they use at Olive Garden, so I used medium shells.  I think that next time I will only use half a box of pasta instead of a whole box or double the sauce, because I felt like there wasn’t enough of the sauce to really get the full taste.  However, it still was very good.

Balsamic Bruschetta
Based on recipes here and here

 What you need:

4 tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf Bountiful Baskets Italian olive oil bread, or french baguette, sliced
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dries parsley

How to make it:

Toss together the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 450 F.  Combine Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Place bread slices on a baking sheet and pinch some of the Parmesan cheese mixture over each slice. Toast in oven for 5 minutes or until bread starts to crisp.

Spoon some of the tomato mixture over each slice to serve.

Garlic Herb Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower
Based on recipe here.

What you need:

Spice Mixture for chicken
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to 1/2 inch thickness)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 box medium shell pasta
1 pint half and half
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups broccoli and cauliflower florets
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

How to make it:

Combine ingredients from spice mixture. Rub onto the chicken breasts. Cook chicken in the olive oil until browned, set aside and keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add broccoli and cauliflower for the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain, return to pot.

Melt butter in a sauté pan and add garlic. Cook until garlic starts to brown, then stir in the half and half and cornstarch.   Simmer for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until it thickens to a sauce.  Add additional salt, if necessary.  Pour over pasta and vegetable mix in pot, coat evenly.  Remove from heat.

To serve, place pasta and vegetable mixture on a plate, then place a chicken breast on top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Kotopoulo Lemonato (Lemon Chicken) and Broccoli Rabe

19 Jan

First, another great recipe from Cyndy at Daily Cynema, Kotopoulo Lemonato.  I love lemon chicken, and this is an AMAZING dish.  And yes, in the picture, that is a whole onion and lemon rinds in the cavity of the chicken.  Trust me, it works. The chicken was moist and flavorful.  My potatoes did get a little crunchy, I probably should have stirred them more, but I like crunchy roasted potatoes.  If they are mushy, then what was the point of roasting them, right?  For this dish, I used the red onion, a yellow onion, 3 lemons, fresh rosemary, and fresh oregano from the Italian themed veggie pack.

For full instructions on how to make this, please visit Daily Cynema: Kotopoulo Lemonato (Lemon Chicken).  She does a great job walking your through making this with great pictures.

I made this at a friend’s house tonight, and she was in charge of a veggie side.  She got the organic basket from Bountiful Baskets this week, and one of the things she got was broccoli rabe (rabe is apparently pronounced like the word “rob”).  I had never heard of this before, but we decided to give it a go in cooking it.  My friend did all the work on this one, following this recipe.  The taste is a mix of a broccoli taste and a leafy vegetable taste like spinach.  It is a tad bitter, but I still really enjoyed it.  I didn’t get a picture of all of it before we ate, my phone was not cooperating, but here is some of it so you can see how it turned out:

This dinner was a great success!

Spinach Basil Pesto Pizza

17 Jan


In the Italian themed veggie pack I got from Bountiful Baskets, I got some fresh herbs, which included basil.  I like pesto, but have never actually made it, so I decided the basil would be made into pesto.  I still have some spinach left from my 1/7 basket, so the Spinach Basil Pesto recipe I came across on allrecipes.com seemed perfect to try.  Since I had plenty of tomatoes to use, I wanted to make a pizza with the pesto as the sauce.  I had sliced olives on hand, and I used chicken from a rotisserie chicken I bought at the store.   I was hoping to also add feta cheese, but it didn’t make it into the fridge after the store, so I used mozzarella.  The crust was from a pouch, since I’m really bad at making breads from scratch.  The results were delicious!  There are a number of other toppings that would go great with this, red onion, yellow onion, green peppers, mushrooms, so I suggest using your favorites!


Spinach Basil Pesto Pizza

What you need for the Pesto:

1 1/2 cups spinach leaves
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, optional (I omitted them)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

How to make the Pesto:

Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

What you need for Pizza:

Pizza crust, pre-made, from a pouch, or your favorite recipe to make a 12″ pizza
Pizza toppings, such as sliced tomatoes,  cooked chicken, olives, mushrooms, onions, green peppers
Cheese, like crumbled feta, fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella

How to make the Pizza:

Prepare pizza crust.  Spread pesto evenly on crust.  Add the pizza toppings, then the cheese.  Bake according to the directions for your crust, most likely around 425 F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Moussaka (Eggplant Casserole)

16 Jan

Moussaka is a dish that I have never helped make nor have I made it myself.  It’s been on my list of recipes to try for a while, and I knew it was close to Pastitsio, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.  When I got eggplant in my Italian themed veggie pack from Bountiful Baskets, I decided it was time to give it a try.  Normally, you would need more than one eggplant, but I decided to make it as an eggplant and zucchini casserole since zucchini was on sale at the grocery store this week.  I also wanted to use the mushrooms I got in my basket, so I incorporated them into the meat sauce.  It turned out amazing, I’m very happy with the results!  It’s somewhat lighter than Pastitsio, because it’s vegetables instead of pasta.  Next time, I think I may come up with a mix of the eggplant, zucchini, and noodles.

If you would like to make this meatless, substitute another package of mushrooms, diced, or some diced zucchini and/or eggplant for the 1 lb of ground beef or lamb.


What you need:

1 eggplant, cut lengthwise, 1/2 in  width
3 zucchini, cut lengthwise , 1/2 in width
Olive oil
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 lb ground beef or lamb (for meatless, use more mushrooms, or diced zucchini or eggplant)
1 8 oz package whole mushrooms, diced
1 medium onion
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Grated Kefalotiri, Parmesan, or Romano cheese

Cream sauce (krema):
2-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and set on paper towels for 15-20 minutes to let them drain.  Pat tops with a paper towel.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown eggplant and zucchini slices.  Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, brown onion and ground beef or lamb.  Add mushrooms, tomato paste, and seasonings.  Cook for 5 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make cream sauce. Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour in 1/4 cup flour; brown slowly. Beat 2 eggs with 2-1/2 cups milk, salt, and pepper, and pour into butter and flour mixture very slowly; mix well. Cook over low heat until it thickens.

To assemble, grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle bread crumbs to cover the bottom of the pan.  Lay out eggplant in a single layer.  Spread half of the meat sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Lay out zucchini in a single layer.  Spread the remaining meat sauce over the zucchini.  Pour cream sauce evenly on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 – 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

Freezes best unbaked, thawed for 1/2 hour, then baked as above.

Bountiful Baskets – 1/14/2012

14 Jan

Once again, very pleased with today’s basket.  Some new things, and some we haven’t had in a while.  This week I got the conventional basket for $15 and the Italian themed veggie pack for $8.50, so after the $1.50 handling fee, it was $25 total for this week.  Here is what I got:

The conventional basket included bananas, a watermelon, a pineapple (not pictured because I gave it to the friend who gave me her unwanted vegetables last week), kiwi, oranges, tomatoes, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms.

The Italian themed veggie pack included yellow onion, red onion, eggplant, mushrooms, Italian flat leaf parsley, fresh oregano, fresh rosemary, fresh basil, fresh bay leaves (I think that’s what they are), garlic, and lemons.

I’m currently working on my meal plan for this week using this produce.  My Italian veggie pack is quickly turning into a Greek veggie pack for me.  I’m going to use the red onion, a yellow onion, rosemary, oregano, and lemons to make Kotopoulo Lemonato (lemon chicken).  I’m thinking the eggplant, mushrooms, garlic, and the other yellow onion will be used to make Moussaka (Eggplant Casserole).  The Brussels sprouts I will shred and saute with cooked, crumbled bacon for a side dish one night.  I still have tomatoes from last week too, so I may try to make my own pasta sauce with them so I can make a pizza.  Still deciding what to do with the broccoli and cauliflower, although we might end up just eating it raw.  Maybe a pasta dish with it.

Note: The type and amount of food may vary from another basket because of geographic location and because of variances in how the ends of produce cases are distributed after everything has been distributed evenly.

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