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Recipe: Provencal Eggs


In keeping with the leftover theme… today’s post is for Provencal Eggs… if you recall we made Eggplant Provencal over Penne Pasta last…. In that post I mentioned that the original recipe I found was for Baked Eggs… so here it is!

The recipe comes from a small soft over book called “Just Eggs”… by Chef Express.. it seemed odd and I was intriqued… so I made the base… the Eggplant Provencal as a main meal.. with the intention of trying the breakfast/lunch version with baked eggs.

It was actually very good! I must admit I was surprised… I did prepare it for lunch not breakfast.. but it would have been good also for a weekend brunch… toast some French Bread with some butter and it would be a fantastic brunch.

Instead of copying all the steps to making the Eggplant Provencal.. I’m going to refer you to that post for making the eggplant base to this dish.

TIP

This was perfect as a make ahead meal… if you don’t want to make this dish beginning to end the day of serving.. simply make the Eggplant Provencal the day before and store in an airtight container in the fridge. I nuked it to reheat it until it was hot… spread it in an individual serving baking dish and followed the rest of the directions.

You can also make this in one big dish as the original recipe uses… I’d use a quiche baking dish.. it would make a nice presentation.. but I do recommend the individual baking dishes.. it makes serving this infinitely easier.

I hope you try this!







Recipe: Provencal Eggs

All you need:

Eggplant Provencal
Eggs
Fresh chopped parsley

All you need to do:

Prepare the Eggplant Provencal(see recipe)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread a generous amount of Eggplant Provencal in a small baking dish.

Make a well in the center, making sure you have some eggplant mixture in the bottom of the well.

Break and egg into the well.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until eggs are cooked as desired.

Serve immediately.

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Recipe: Eggplant Provencal over Penne Pasta


Eggplant Provencal over Penne Pasta is a simple and versatile dish that is absolutely delicious! … a terrific meatless dish that’s ready in under a half hour.

Before we get into the recipe… and what makes it versatile… let’s talk about Provencal. So what exactly is Provencal? Provencal or Provence refers to a region in France. According to Wikipedia it is a region of southeastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. The cuisine consists of basic ingredients such as olives, olive oil, garlic, various fish, lamb and goat.

Some popular French dishes, such as bouillabaisse and ratatouille find its origins from this region. Ratatouille, the recipe made famous by the animated feature by the same name, has been a dish my family has made for years. In case you don’t remember, it is a vegetable stew known as a hearty “peasant” meal served often with crusty French bread.

The spice mixture known as Herbes de Provence or Provencal herbs is a mixture of dried herbs from Provence said to be “invented” in the 1970’s, invented used as a loose term since cooks from the region have used them in various quantities for years. They simply “standardized” the mixture.

The standard mixture contains savory, fennel, basil and thyme… other spices such as marjoram and lavender (lavender is only added in American mixes) are also included in some recipes. It was in the 1970s that standard mixtures were formulated by spice wholesalers, including Ducros in France which is now part of McCormick & Company... Although a quick search yields many different recipes... so much for a standard mixture!

The recipe for today is one that I found and adapted from a small soft cover book titled “Just Eggs” by Chef Express. The recipe is really a basic one and is versatile… it was intended to be a base for baked eggs… that will be a separate post. After reading the recipe, I decided it would be perfect to serve over penne pasta, and in keeping with the “leftover” theme of the last few days… I happened to have leftover penne in the fridge.

Grilled chicken or beef would be a great addition if you didn’t want this to be meatless… also the addition of chopped black olives would add great flavor as well.

The only adaptation I made was to add spice to the dish, the original was missing the Herbes de Provence and in my opinion was a bit bland for my tastes and what I am used to. I also used far less oil than the original recipe… it does not need a ¼ cup of oil.

TIPS

As I mentioned, I had leftover penne pasta in the fridge, obviously you can boil a fresh batch of pasta for this dish. …

As far as reheating pasta, I know many sources say pasta does not reheat well… however… I have never had a problem reheating it… You can easily microwave it to reheat it… or do as I did… I needed a bit more pasta to have enough for another meal… I simply put the leftover pasta in a colander and when I went to drain the new batch.. I simply poured it over the leftovers… it worked fine.

My directions use a “pinch” of each of the herbs… taste the dish and add more according to your tastes… I was a little more heavy handed with the thyme and the basil… or if you have a commercial blend of Herbes de Provence… simply sprinkle it in the dish to your tastes.

Make sure you add the spices during cooking, not at the end… you want the flavors to infuse into the dish…. I often add the spices at the beginning when I add the oil to the skillet, but you can add it when you add the tomatoes and wine before the dish is simmered.

The directions call for 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste… the original instructions used 3 tablespoons, I feel it made the mixture a bit too thick.. I use 2 tablespoons… however much you use is up to you.

The original recipe uses 4 large tomatoes chopped, I used 1 can of petite cut tomatoes instead.

For the white wine, I used a Sauvignon Blanc by Turning Leaf.

Make sure you use “unseasoned” tomato paste.. not a tomato paste with added herbs.. add the herbs in yourself.

Serve with fresh crusty bread.

I hope you try this delicious dish.






Recipe: Eggplant Provencal over Penne Pasta

All you need:

1 medium sized eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (14.4 oz) Hunts Petite-cut Tomatoes
¼ cup white wine
Pinch or two of thyme
Pinch of savory
Pinch of fennel
Pinch or two of basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Additional chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Cooked penne pasta

All you need to do:


In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil.

Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Be careful to make sure they don’t brown. Stir frequently.






Add the eggplant and toss to coat with the oil. You may have to add a bit more oil… no more than about a tablespoon.

Cook the eggplant, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.





Add the remaining ingredients










And simmer for 10 minutes until eggplant is cooked but still slightly firm.







Spoon over cooked penne pasta and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley (for garnish).

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Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie from Leftovers


I’ve posted a Shepherd’s Pie recipe from scratch previously… but it also makes a great leftover dish. The other day I posted my Leftover Madness post pointing out that leftover gravy from beef stew or pot roast can easily be used to make more gravy or be used in recipes.

If I have left over meat and/or vegetables from the beef stew or pot roast… I use them as well as the gravy. Shepherd’s pie recipes leaves a lot to your imagination … add as much or as little as you like.

TIPS
I cut up leftover meat to use in the pie… If I need more… I simply brown and drain ground beef. Usually for a meal for four.. I use about one pound of meat.

I like to season the meat with seasonings… again you can add whatever seasonings your family prefers… I use onion powder, garlic powder and ground pepper.

Depending on how much leftover gravy I have will depend on whether or not I add more beef stock or broth to the dish. When using about a pound of meat, I like to have about two cups of leftover gravy or broth.

Usually my stew gravy is fairly thin, so I add about a tablespoon of flour to thicken it. To avoid lumps… I mix the flour with some broth in a measuring cup, mixing it well to smooth and creamy mixture, then add it to the pot.

I like to add fresh chopped parsley to the dish, it adds great flavor. I use about two tablespoons.

I either use fresh or frozen vegetables for the pot pie. Again, it’s up to you what to include. I use frozen corn, carrots and pies, and green beans. I use about ¼ to ½ cup of each. I like to use frozen pearl onions also, they’re quick and easy additions.

Although I do have canned mushrooms in the pantry for emergencies, I do prefer to use fresh sliced mushrooms, they add so much flavor.

The addition of beer or wine is good, but totally optional. I don’t add much… about ½ cup. I use a Cabernet for the wine and for the beer… I found an English Brown Ale that I really like to use called Hobgoblin.

If I don’t add the beer or wine I add 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to add flavor.

If I know I’m going to have leftover pot roast and that I’m going to use it for Shepherd’s Pie, I also make extra mashed potatoes so I have them already made for the pie.

To change the flavor of the meal if I’m serving it in the same week as the original meal… I make cheddary cheesy mashed potatoes or garlic mashed.

I hope you find great ways to use your leftovers!







Recipe: Shepherd's Pie from Leftovers

All you need:

Leftover beef, diced (optional)
1 pound lean ground beef (less if you have leftover beef)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
About 5 turns on the pepper mill
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups leftover gravy or broth
½ cup beer or wine (optional)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (if not using beer or wine)
1 tablespoons flour (optional)
½ cup frozen pearl onions
¼- ½ cup frozen peas and carrots
¼- ½ cup frozen corn
¼- ½ cup frozen green beans
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
Mashed potatoes

All you need to do:


Brown and drain ground beef. Add spices and Worcestershire sauce.

Add beer or wine if adding it in.

Add diced leftover beef if available.



Add gravy and/or broth.

Add vegetables.

Simmer until vegetables are cooked.

Add flour if needed (see tips).




Add mashed potatoes to the top and serve or serve in individual dishes.

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Recipe: Crispy Pasta and Eggs


For lack of a better name… I’ve called this leftover gem… Crispy Pasta and Eggs… we have a Hungarian/German name for it I couldn’t begin to spell let alone accurately translate it… the closest I can come is Crispy Pasta and Eggs.

This was a favorite when growing up and still is… Warren has turned his nose up at it… which is fine with me.. more for me…

Leftover pasta, spaghetti in particular… but other pastas are used as well…. I’ve used cooked bowties and penne…. are fried in a pan with melted butter or margarine until light brown and crispy… then covered in scrambled eggs… a simple left over dish… I suspect it was “invented” during the depression when money for food was tight and every leftover was used in one way or another… a lot of leftover dishes came to be around that time.

TIP

Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of the pan… I use about 2 tablespoons.

Does your family have anything similar?

I hope you try it… the crunch of the pasta and the eggs.. just a really nice and easy dish to use up cooked pasta from another meal.... and tasty too!







Recipe: Crispy Pasta and Eggs

All you need:

Leftover cooked pasta
Butter or margarine
Enough scrambled eggs to cover the pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do:


Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add the pasta and toss to coat evenly.

Allow the pasta to cook until light brown and flip to brown the other side until the pasta is lightly crunchy.

In a medium bowl beat eggs and a little milk.



Pour the eggs over the pasta and toss until cooked.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot.

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Leftover Madness!


Does your family balk at eating leftovers? Do you feel frustrated trying to stay in budget and not waste food? I have tips to help.

First of all.. while I truly do sympathize with those of you that have family members that hate leftovers… I have never had that problem… we thrive on leftovers.. after all… what’s better than having a favorite meal a second time?

With leftovers there are … what I call.. budget stretchers… the most obvious example is freezing leftovers for another week… sometimes I freeze them into individual servings… for those nights when we’re on the run to somewhere and need a quick meal..

I don’t know about you.. but whenever I make beef stew or pot roast… I inevitably have left over gravy… I almost always freeze it unless I use it immediately in another meal.

A great tip I got from my Mother is to freeze the broth or gravy in an ice cube tray… after they’re frozen solid.. pop them out and into a Zip Loc bag or an airtight container… they make great, quick additions to many meals and also you can use a bunch of them to make a new batch of gravy for another meal… for example, meatloaf.

Very few things go to waste in our household… and with today’s prices and economy it just makes sense to make the most of everything. I will start a regular addition to the blog… creative ideas and ways to use odds and ends of all kinds of foods and leftovers.

And… Calling all readers!

Please send me your ideas… I want to hear from you!... something that works really well in your family may help another family make a great meal and save a dollar or two.

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Let Him Eat Steak by Shady


For those of you who do not know me from my own blog. Dog Eared Tales please allow me to introduce myself I am a Shady, an 8 year old blog dog. More specifically I am a black lab who recently lost two pack members to old age.

My people-Mom and I have been blogging ever since. It started out as a way to cope with the loss of our family members but we have met so many wonderful people along the way that even though we are doing better we decided to keep it up.

Linda is one of those people and one of my favorite things about her is that she loves food just like me. Another thing I really like about her is that she lists her own dogs Bubba and Duke as part of her “support staff”. I am guessing this means they get to do a lot of taste testing and I think a lot of people could learn from that example.

When Linda invited me to guest post here I was flattered. Although my blog is about pet loss and animal rescue, food is one of my favorite topics! Mom used to be pretty stingy with the people food. She used to claim it is wasted on me, that I would eat a lint ball with the same zeal I would attack a steak. I’ll concede it may look that way from the outside, but I assure you my palate is refined as any human. Mom knows that now too, but it was not an easy lesson and that is part of what I want to tell you about.

You see, last year my golden retriever brother LoJack developed tumors in his mouth. They were small and undetectable at first but he stopped eating because he could not work his tongue correctly. The whole pack knew with all our doggy senses what was happening but we had no way to tell her (this was before I had a laptop).

Mom could see he was trying to eat and was still hungry, so she started helping him. She began to make burgers and cakes and out of his prescription dog food to make it easier for him. She cut them into chunks and literally tossed them in his mouth to the back, where he was still tumor free and could swallow on his own. This worked for a while, but his condition worsened and he started to lose interest in eating. Mom was really stressed out about it because LoJack had a liver problem and he needed this special dog food. It had changed his life and saved him from grave illness four years earlier. He also needed about 6 pills a day for his liver and he would not put anything in his mouth. Mom tried everything she could think of to get a proper balanced meal into him but it took hours at a time and still he lost weight.

Then one day the vet laid it out for my Mom in simple terms. She sort of knew but needed it hear it out loud. He told us LoJack’s liver dysfunction was nothing compared to what he was battling now. Since he remained a happy boy in every way except at mealtimes and at this point his pain was minimal all Mom had to do was keep him from starving. The vet made it clear to us; it did not matter what he ate anymore—just that he ate something and maybe had a painkiller now and then. “Let him eat steak.” he had said and this became our new strategy.

A diet of the finest people food was prepared and hand fed to him daily. I am not sure how much he could taste anymore but the idea was the smell is what held his interest. My older dog sister Nikki and I were given tastes here and there but for the most part we kept our distance and let Mom and LoJack dine alone. Steak, seasoned and grilled, and spicy venison sausage were his favorites.

The pills he needed now were hidden inside grape tomatoes and bits of garlic bread. He even got vanilla ice cream and yogurt pops on the hottest summer nights. For a while, he seemed to enjoy eating again-or maybe it was just all the one on one Mommy time? Whatever it was, he regained his spark during this time and the whole family was glad to have him back to his old ways for at least a short time. All the food smelled delicious but Nikki and I knew the trade off and so we happily kept to our regular diets. Let him eat steak…

You probably know how the store ends; LoJack was gone before summer was over. The food was not enough to battle the illness and it made his eventual turn for the worse feel very sudden to us. Soon Mom had hours of time on her hands that she did not know what to do with. She could not remember what she used to do in the mornings before she started spending 45 minutes feeding LoJack, or at night before she spent hours precooking his meals.

That is kind of how the blog was born, and how Mom started to meet people like Linda. Everyone who came upon Mom’s blog posts about rescuing, loving and losing your dog took the time to leave comments and they were very kind to us. We could not have gotten through it without them.

Though it took her some time to get back to it after that, Mom does really enjoy cooking. I am an only dog now, and I am afforded a lot more slack than I ever was before when it comes to food. I usually get a few bites of any meal that is leftover (if there is nothing in it that is dangerous for me) and so I have a vested interest in getting Mom to try new stuff. This week she is going to try Linda’s recipe for “Potato and Egg Bake” and she promises to share. It isn’t exactly “eat steak” treatment, but I also get some homemade treats just for dogs made for just for me.

I would like to share the recipe for one of my favorites with you here—maybe you can whip up a batch for your own pets, or a friend’s, or maybe even drop by your local shelter with some treats and share the love. Spend some time walking the dogs there and getting to know them. I bet you’ll like it so much that you’ll be back again and again and I promise you will be welcomed with open paws even if you arrive empty handed.

Dogs appreciate food without question, but we appreciate the love that is behind much more and it does not matter one bit how you choose to show it.

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Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Recipe courtesy of Shady and his Mom

All you need:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil

All you need to do:

Mix oil, peanut butter and water thoroughly. Add flour gradually until a dough forms. Knead into firm ball and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut into 3-4 inch pieces of any shape (Shady's mom has a tiny bone shaped cookie cutter).

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Cool and store in an airtight container. For special occasions, dip in or drizzle cooled treats with melted white chocolate.

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Meet Shady


Let me introduce you to our guest blogger today.... Shady the blog dog... from Dog Eared Tales... Shady has some definite ideas about food...as does every self respecting canine... and he's eager to tell you about his experiences...

I hope you enjoy his post and take a peek at his blog... it's always enlightening taking a little peek at what's behind those bright eyes and wagging tail...

Shady also has been kind enough to share his Mom's recipe for Peanut Butter Dog Treats... I hope you will try it and share with a special dog... your's, a friend's or even one at a shelter.

He also wants you to know that October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. So many wonderful animals in need of loving homes...please share and give them a chance.

Visit Shady's other site ... This Good That Bad ... for 3 ways you can help homeless pets.

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