Category Archives: basil

Lightened Up Lasagna Soup

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TGIF!! It has been a long week here. Well, a long couple of weeks actually. This flu that is flooding the country found it’s way to my house and,even though I had the shot, I got hit hard by it. Kevin on the other hand, who didn’t get the shot, was fine. Although there was quite a bit of hand washing, Purell usage, and banishment to the sofa for a few days. It’s OK, I was as comfy as I could be considering the circumstances. A trip to the ER, IV fluids, and Tamiflu helped me to kick the worst of it. But the residual cough is a killer. My heart and prayers go out to everyone that has/is suffering from this! 
Now, on to the good stuff, the food! I was so happy when I was able to (and had the desire to) cook again. It seemed strange to be back in my little kitchen after so long away. But cooking is like riding a bike right? So I jumped back on and peddled away.
I had been eyeing a recipe by Paula Deen for Lasagna soup before my desire to eat anything more than jello and popsicles kicked in. So that was the first thing I wanted to make when I felt better. However, and I do so love Ms Paula, it was packed full of fat and calories! So I tackled the challenge of trying to remove a bit of both from the recipe. 
I am so very happy to announce that even though the fat and calories were reduced, the flavor was not. This is some seriously good soup guys! Even Mr “Soup is not a meal” raved about it and ended up finishing his bowl and part of mine. He was also very happy to package the leftovers in a freezer bag for a future meal. I was, as you cam imagine, very pleasantly surprised! 
I myself referred to this soup as a little bit of heaven in a bowl, so you know how I felt about it. Seriously though, give this soup a try, you will not regret it I promise!!
Lightened Up Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used 1 teaspoon)
6 broken whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, plus some for sprinkling

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pot  Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, approx 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the noodles, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with a little extra mozzarella cheese if wanted.

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Caprese Meatball Subs

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Pardon the in your face picture, but I think I was trying to eat this sandwich through the camera!! I have been having a love affair with anything “caprese” lately. I adore caprese salad and even turned it into a sandwich with my Open Face Chicken Caprese Sandwich! So the other night Subway was mentioned on my Facebook page as an alternative meal due to the fact that I had a major blond moment and forgot to thaw out the meat I needed for dinner that night. Well Kevin isn’t a big fan of Subway so that didn’t go over to well (plus I really needed to cook so you all would have a post to read). Luckily Kevin agreed to go to the store for me on his way home from work and the meal crisis was avoided. Yay!! But that did give me an idea. 
One of the sandwiches I loved at Subway was their meatball sub. I wanted to make a meatball sub, but add a twist to interest Kevin. If you have been with me for a while you know that he used to despise pesto until he tried my homemade pesto. Now he loves it and I have used it in several recipes. Anyway, I remembered seeing a recipe by Kelsey Nixon for Caprese Meatballs in the slow cooker, so I decided to take that idea and use it for my sandwiches. I didn’t do mine in the slow cooker though. I baked them and finished them in my homemade marinara sauce. 

It seems that I have been coming up with some messy sandwiches in the last couple of weeks. Yes, this is messy but the flavors are so good! The mix of the pesto, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and crunchy bread was over the top. I fill up pretty quickly, especially if I am eating bread, so I had half of my sandwich left and Kevin gobbled it right down. I think the only conversation I got out of him during the meal was mmmmmm and WOW this is really good. I was really glad he liked is since I pretty much made it for him!
The recipe is for 2 subs so if you are making more just double or triple it. But it makes 6 good sized meatballs which was perfect on the rolls I picked up from the bakery and with the cheese and sauce they are very filling. Plus they went really well with a nice glass of red wine!!
Caprese Meatball Subs 

1/2 pound lean ground turkey or chicken
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for sprinkling
2 tablespoons egg beaters (or one small egg)
1/4 cup pesto (see recipe below)
1 thick slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 6 cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Marinara sauce (recipe below)
2 sub rolls


For the Pesto:
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally to ensure even toasting, about 5 minutes. Combine all of the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until well combined but still rough-textured (You may not use all of the oil or you made need a bit more to get to the desired consistency). Leftovers can be frozen if needed.

For the Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Recommended San Marzano)
2 6 ounce cans of tomatoes paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in half of the minced garlic and cook one more minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomatoes paste, water, half of the chopped oregano, and the bay leaf. (Add more water if sauce seems too thick). Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer. Leftovers can be frozen if needed.


For the Meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non stick spray

Combine the turkeybreadcrumbs, Parmesan, pesto, salt, pepper and egg in a large mixing bowl with your hands, taking care to not overwork the meat. Form golf ball-size meatballs and stuff each with 1 mozzarella cube. Evenly space the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and place them in the simmering sauce, cover with the lid.

Split the sub rolls and open them slightly, place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until toasty, about 5 minutes.

Place 3 meatballs on each sub and smother with with the marinara sauce, top with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

ENJOY!


Lemon Basil Pasta

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Last week, for Food Star Friday, I made Giada De Laurentiis’s Shrimp Fra Diavolo. But I wanted to make a pasta to go with it (of course since I am a pastaholic). I knew I had  lemon and basil, and figured they would play well together along with the flavors of the shrimp. They really really did. As a matter of fact I loved the pasta so much I had leftovers that night and added some bacon to it topped with a fried egg (fried eggs are another new obsession). I seriously want to come up with more recipes using this pasta dish as a base, I really really love the freshness of the lemon and basil together. 
The family felt the same way. Kevin always tell me I make too much pasta (ha like there is such a thing), but this did not end up being too much after everyone had seconds. I was lucky I hid a little bit of it so I could enjoy my late night pasta dish!
If you are looking for a side dish for a fish or seafood recipe I would highly recommend this one!

Lemon Basil Pasta

  • 1 pound spaghetti 
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (a couple good handfuls)
  • 3 lemons, juiced and one zested
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup chopped, 1/4 cut into chiffonade for garnish 
  • Salt 
  • Cracked black pepper


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary, drain pasta and return to the pot. While the pasta is cooking, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend. 

  • Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, add a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water at a time as needed to moisten. Stir in the 1/4 cup chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and remaining basil. 

  • ENJOY!

Food Star Friday – Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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Happy Friday my friends. I hope this week has been kind to you and that you are winding down and getting ready for this holiday weekend. You know Labor Day is a classic grilling day and right now there is much “debate” going on in my house about what and who will be grilling. There may be a compromise in sight though. I was thinking about trying a slow cooker rib recipe so if I do that and focus on side dishes the boys can argue without me over who gets to be master of the grill.
Anyway, when the dust from that debate settled I realized I had not planned a Food Star Friday meal. Dang it! So after browsing Food Network and The Cooking Channel I was still at a loss as to what I would make. That was when I got the idea to pose the question to my Facebook and Twitter followers. I asked people to give me the name of a food star and a protein. After several hours of responses the protein I would be using was quite clear – shrimp. OK I love shrimp so I was excited about that idea. But the food star was not as easy. I never really thought about how many food stars there are out there. Wow you all came up with some great people. It was a very close race but Giada was the winner. As soon as I realized she was the food star I knew exactly what I was going to make. I have watched the show that she makes this dish on several times and it always looked and sounded so good to me. Why I didn’t come up with this idea I don’t know, but I am sure glad that you all did it for me. It was fantastic!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

Pasta with Chicken and Garlic Cream Sauce

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This was another one of those meals that you just come up with on the fly. I kept trying to think of something for dinner and nothing was jumping out at me. Do I want fish, chicken, steak, pasta? So I decided to throw a few things in a hat and just draw the winner that way. I picked chicken and pasta so that was my jumping off point. I knew I had shredded chicken in the fridge because they had rotisserie chicken on sale at the store so when they do that I will buy a few, shred them, and freeze them to have as a quick chicken addition to a meal.

Then I hit the pantry and found a box of farfalla, yay the main ingredients were found! So back into the fridge I went to see what goodies I had to throw in to the party. Fresh basil…check…..fresh oregano….check….heavy cream..hhmmm this is going to be good! I always have onions and garlic (Duh you’re a food blogger Bobbi) so of course they had to come to the party too.

This ended up being such a simple, easy meal, but had so much flavor and made my tummy happy. I do have to confess I am a pasta girl so you know if there is a noodle in it somewhere I am smiling! In the end, this is a quick and easy meal for a night when you are on the go and need something fast but flavorful

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Pasta with Chicken and Garlic Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package short pasta like farfalla
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 heaping tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped plus a few leaves cut in a chiffonade for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook to package directions. Drain pasta and return to pot.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Then add the onion, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add the chicken stock, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by about half. Add the cream and cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and thick. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cook for an additional minute or until the chicken is heated through.

Open Face Chicken Caprese Sandwiches

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I have been craving tomatoes and I don’t just mean a small craving, I am borderline obsessed with them lately! No big deal right? Tons of people are loving the lovely summertime treasures. Well my dear foodie friends it is very strange for me because I used to despise tomatoes. Not just dislike I seriously despised them!! I loved to cook with them, but a raw tomato? BLEK!! Oh how our tastes change right? Now I want to put them on everything.

I like to come up with food I call “nibbles”. Something small for dinner so people can eat more if they are hungrier but for me 1 is just a perfect meal. I make a Deconstructed Cordon Blue sandwich that everyone here loves. In fact when my daughter Jessi came to visit last month the only request she had was that I make the Cordon Blue sandwiches.
One night I was craving a Caprese salad. It just sounded nice and fresh on a hot summer evening. But I knew better than to present Kevin with just a salad for dinner. I would have gotten the “really?” face so I tried to figure out how I could give my meat lover something that would make him happy but also satisfy my craving. A blogger friend of mine Lisa, from Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish, had made Chicken Caprese that sounded awesome.That was when I thought about my Cordon Blue sandwiches. I would be able to give the rest of the family the meat and bread they like and sneak my salad in as well. A win/win situation yessssss!
The verdict? Everyone loved them. In fact they were gone so fast I wish I had made more! 

Open Face Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
2 good sized chicken breasts
3 good sized vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 16 slices
1 large package of fresh mozzarella cheese (you need 16 slices)
Fresh basil leaves, shredded or cut into a chiffonade 
1 clove of garlic, cracked
1 loaf Italian (or French bread), cut into 8 slices
Italian seasoning blend.
Salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus some for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut chicken breasts in half (like a book) and then cut the halves in half, giving you 8 chicken tender sized pieces. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and Italian seasoning blend.

Place bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Bake the bread slices in the oven just until crispy, approx 5 minutes (times vary). When bread comes out rub it with the clove of garlic.

Turn the oven to broil

Meanwhile in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan and cook the chicken until done, 2 or 3 minutes per side. 

Assemble the sandwiches by placing a piece of chicken, top with 2 slices of tomato, a bit of the fresh basil, and two slices of cheese. Place the sandwiches into the oven under the broiler and cook until the cheese begins to melt. Cook time depends on the thickness of the cheese.
Remove from oven, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some cracked black pepper and basil on top.
ENJOY!!

Greek Burgers for #FathersDay #SundaySupper

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This week for #SundaySupper we are all making things that were/are our Father’s favorite. My Father passed away last November so when Isabel first announced the theme I was a bit apprehensive about how it might make me feel. I knew I was dreading the approaching Father’s Day since it will be the first one without him so I thought focusing any more attention on it would make the day much harder for me. But you know what? It actually made me happy. Instead of thinking about how much I miss him, I was thinking about the things he loved to eat, and boyyyy did he like burgers!! Wait, did I say like? I meant LOVE. They really were his favorite thing to eat. You could keep your filet or rib eye, no lobster for him, just make him a good ol’ juicy burger and he was a happy happy man!!


My Dad was my biggest supporter in everything thing I do, especially my food blog. When I told him it was what I wanted to do he was first in line to say “You can do it!”. He really was a special man. I used to love him coming downstairs when I was cooking dinner and asking, “What experiment are we having tonight?”. That was what spurred me on to make different types of burgers. I wanted to give my Dad different versions of his favorite food.

When we moved from Southern California to Western Washington there was a lot of foods I missed. Mexican of course, but I couldn’t find a good gyros anywhere near me! I used to have gyros at least a couple of times a month when I lived in California but had never experimented with the flavors at home because, well I could get it whenever I wanted and was actually a bit nervous (for some reason) to try to create those flavors at home. Well all of that fear went out the window when I moved and there were no gyros to be found anywhere.

Into the kitchen I went and 6 years later this is what came out. Now there is a great Greek place in town, but I think it might be nicer to stay home with the family, a burger, and a great glass of wine!

This one was for you Dad, I love you!!!

Greek Burgers
1 pound ground lamb
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mediterranean)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 (a generous handful) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
4 ounces crumbled feta
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced vine ripe tomato
Toasted burger buns (this can be made as 2 BIG burgers or 4 smaller ones)
First of f get your Tzatziki Sauce made an in the fridge to sit for a couple of hours. 
Heat the olive oil to a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Grab a medium bowl and add the lamb, all of the seasonings, cooled onions and garlic, spinach, parsley, feta cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix just until combined and form into 2 large or 4 small patties. Heat the grill to medium-high and place the burgers on the grill. Cook the burgers, flipping once, about 10 minutes for medium rare, or until desired doneness.
Top your burgers with sliced tomato and slather the top bun with Tzatziki Sauce.
ENJOY!!!

Here are all of the other wonderful #Sunday Supper tributes to Dad’s. Happy Father’s Day everyone!!

Father’s Day Brunch:
Dad’s Favorite Soup, Salads and Bread:
Father’s Day Favorite Main Dishes:
Wine Pairings for Father’s Day ENOFYLZ

Classic Pesto

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Last night was a very labor intensive meal, it took about 3 hours from start to finish. Ok, I will be honest, a lot of that was inactive cooking, but it sounded good didn’t it? I was just proud of myself that I actually planned a head and we weren’t eating dinner at 9 PM!

One part of the meal called for pesto. I love pesto, but have been disappointed in the store bought pesto that I have tried. I have wanted to make homemade pesto for quite some time but since Kevin has expressed a dislike for the green stuff I haven’t given it a shot. I finally decided I was going to make it anyway since I knew it freezes well. I figured I would just put some in my ice cube tray and that way when I wanted some pesto for a recipe I could just pop one and and be ready to go.

I have seen several different versions of pesto. I mean you can seriously make it with any herb you want depending on the flavor profile you want for your meal, but I wanted to make the classic pesto right down to the toasted pine nuts so that’s what I did.

The thing that takes the longest in this recipe is toasting the pine nuts, seriously! I was nervous about burning them because I have seen and heard so many stories about burning nuts when trying to toast them, and that it can happen in a split second. Nobody likes burned nuts so I hovered over them like my life depended on them coming out perfectly. Well maybe not my life but the recipe for sure since I only bought enough for one batch. I guess subconsciously I have a lot of faith in myself.

I was shocked when I finished the pesto and Kevin came out to taste it. Just that he tasted it was a shock, but the big shock was that he liked it! He said that it was way better than any other pesto he had tried and I have to agree with him. I will never buy store bought pesto again when it is so easy to make, tastes so much better, and you can freeze the leftovers for later use. A total win win recipe in my book!

Classic Pesto
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally to ensure even toasting, about 5 minutes. Combine all of the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until well combined but still rough-textured (You may not use all of the oil or you made need a bit more to get to the desired consistency). Spread on sandwiches or stir into pasta. Freeze leftovers

Bobbi on a Budget – Stove Top Lasagna

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Hope you all are having a wonderful Wednesday. This morning, for whatever reason, I woke up thinking it was Tuesday. I somehow totally missed a day! But I am on the right track now. Hopefully I can remember the recipe!! I am just kidding. Food is the ONE thing I ALWAYS remember!

I decided I wanted to do a lasagna but had been requested to try and do a lasagna that doesn’t cost a huge amount. I am sure you know that making a traditional lasagna can get quite pricey. I kept my cost much lower by doing a stove top skillet version. The only thing I do suggest you splurge on is the name brand ricotta cheese. I have tried this recipe with both name brand and store brand. The taste does not compare. Also make sure to salt and pepper to taste at each step.

This is a great week night meal. I told Kevin it was kind of a fancified hamburger helper but he assured me that there is no hamburger helper in the world that tastes as good as this. You could always change it up and use mild or hot Italian sausage (beef or turkey) but again in trying to keep the cost down, I used ground beef since it was on sale.

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Stove Top Lasagna
Olive oil
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (can use Italian style if you can find it)
1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound ground beef
10 curly edged lasagna noodle broken into pieces (at least 2 inches)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 small container ricotta cheese
Fresh basil leaves (about 20), cut chiffonade (see how to cut chiffonade here) for ganish (optional)
Pour the diced tomatoes, along with their juice, into a quart measuring cup. Add enough water to equal an even quart. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet (with a lid) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Add ground beef and cook until no pink remains. Use a wooden spoon to break the ground beef into small bits. Salt and pepper to taste.
Scatter the broken noodles across the beef mixture.Pour diced tomatoes and tomato sauce over the noodles. Do not stir. Bring the skillet to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the pasta noodles are done, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Dot with heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese. Cover with lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil.
Serve with a green salad side.

Cod Ratatouille En Papillote with Herb Salad

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OK I know that is a mouthful (and a tasty one at that, trust me) but really it is just fancy talk for cod cooked in parchment paper with a truck load of vegetables and a yummy herb salad on top of it all. But I figured that wouldn’t fit as a title so I went with the foo foo wording.

I was really excited to cook fish again because it gave me the opportunity to use some of my O Olive Oils. Remember I won the O Olive Oil and eRecipecards.com recipe challenge a while back? Well they sent me some of the olive oils I won and they have been staring at me from my counter saying “use me, use me!!” I didn’t marinade in the oil, which afterward I thought “dangit why didn’t I marinade?” but I did give the veggies and fish a good dousing of their Myer Lemon Olive Oil. I can’t say enough about their oils. The crush process they go through just gives the oils a fresh clean flavor. You can actually taste the fresh fruit in them sooooo yummy!!

I also got to break out the new Cuisinart food processor Kevin bought me for Christmas. He was disappointed because he thought he bought the one with the wide feed tube, but I am happy with it. I can chop the bigger stuff if needed. It sure made quick work of my zucchini I can tell you that!

But enough about my toys and gadgets. Lets talk about the food. I have to admit, this recipe looks a lot harder than it really is. The hardest part is slicing all the veg (unless you have a food processor…or a sous chef  hehe). Once you get the fish in that paper the oven does all of the work. No worrying that you have overcooked the fish or wondering if you should flip it over yet. Bing, bam, boom, fish done. Top it with the herb salad and you have a wonderfully healthy and tasty meal that the family, at least my family, will gobble up in no time flat! We had 2 pounds of fish for 4 people and I only eat small portions because of my surgery. So I will say that between the 3 of them they consumed 1 3/4 pounds of fish in mere minutes!

Even if you aren’t a big vegetable person (this has eggplant which I know some people will say eeewwww to right off the bat) the veggies are sliced so thin and they cook in the oilive oil, butter, and white wine which gives them an amazing flavor. A great way to get your vegetables without having to eat plain boring ones.

Oh, little side note, my parchment paper was not wide enough to wrap completely around the fish so I topped it with another sheet and folded up the sides. I even secured them with paper clips just to make sure it stayed sealed so all of the yummy steam and juices properly cooked the fish and veggies.

I know the dish looks a bit “rustic” but it is oohhhh sooooo yummy!!

This is the fish all piled up on the veggies and buttered up ready to go into the oven.
When it comes out you cut open the parchment paper and top it with the herb salad. And then…..Viola a beautiful, healthy, and darn tasty dish!!
Cod Ratatouille En Papillote with Herb Salad
For the Cod Ratatouille:
2 pounds cod, skinned
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small eggplants, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
White wine
1 red pepper, quartered and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped (we love garlic but you could use less if you aren’t a big fan)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Herb Salad:
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
1 bunch of fresh chives, chopped
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 bunch of celery leaves, roughly chopped (I picked them off a bunch of celery I just bought)
1 bunch of baby dill, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the cod ratatouille, cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper that is about 2 inches wider than the baking sheet on all sides. Alternate the sliced vegetables along the length of the sheet making sure they are tightly aligned and long/wide enough to just peek out from under the fish. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the fish on top of the vegetables, drizzle with olive oil and white wine, season with salt and pepper.
Top with the red pepper, garlic, and time. Then dot it with the cubes of butter.
Top the fish with another sheet of parchment paper of the same size and roll/fold the sides and then ends up to seal the fish and veggies in tight (like I said I used paper clips to ensure it was sealed right).
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the fish is flaky.
Meanwhile to make the herb salad, add all of the chopped herbs into a medium bowl. In a small bowl combine the balsamic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk it up and pour over the herbs. Toss with your fingers to get it combined. 
When the fish is done cut or tear the top open and top with the herb salad.
Serves 4 to 6

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