Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Dinner - 08/08/2010

My girls love pasta. Anything with pasta. Since my girls are strange kids, they especially love green sauce or pesto. Li asks for green sauce every time I tell her pasta is for dinner. She may even like it more than my mac & cheese. But pesto's main ingredient is oil. Like anything else, the key to making pesto healthier is portion control.  I think 2tbsp per cup of noodles is plenty.  Mix in any cooked meat; chicken, pork, sausage, shrimp. (Well, maybe not beef. But you get the point.) Tonight, I sauteed shrimp to add to the pasta and pesto.

I've messed with the proportions every time I make pesto to get the recipe right. The one below is the best I've made. The recipe makes 3cups and can be stored indefinitely in a well sealed container in the fridge. 

Pesto Sauce (1pt per tbsp)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sticks Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend with Olive Oil, at room temp
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 lb pasta, cooked al dente

Chop basil in a food processor. Add onions and garlic to the processor and puree. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Puree one stick of butter in the processor. Add the olive oil. Then the 2nd stick of butter until Constantin. Add the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Pour the oil-butter mixture to the basil puree. Stir until well blended.

I may have mention this before but I don't like squash, not even eggplant. But squash (eggplants) are healthy and are locally grown here in SE Louisiana. And since I insist my girls eat everything, I guess I should hold myself to the same requirement. So I've tried it fried. Not a fan. Eggplant Parmesan. Eehh. Eggplant stuffing. Not bad but not awesome. But I hit the jack pot with the concoction below. How could I go wrong with the holy trinity (bell pepper, onions, celery,) tomatoes and Italian seasonings.

Eggplant-Tomato Casserole (12 servings, 2pt per serving)
3 large eggplants, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup bell peppers, diced
¼ cup garlic, minced
2 cups water
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp basil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 tsps granulated garlic
1½ cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Sprinkle salt over eggplant and place in a colander, with a heavy weight on top to help squeeze the water from the vegetable. Set aside for 1 hour.

Place drained eggplant slices cookie sheet and bake for 30 min. In Dutch oven, heat oil over med-high heat. Add onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Cook for 5min until vegetables are wilted.

Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, parsley, and basil.

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Season to taste using salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place a third of the slices in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with a small amount of granulated garlic and cheese. Spoon a half of the tomato sauce on top of eggplant.

 Continue the layering and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30mins.

Shrimp with pesto and pasta, eggplant-tomato casserole served with tomato salad. 
Very tasty.

If you have any question/comments about this recipe, pls leave me a comment or email at megmehell at yahoo dot com.

I hope you enjoy this dinner as much as I did. What did y'all have for dinner? 


Jill said...

You mean pesto doesn't come in a jar on the grocery store shelf? I truly need to expand my cooking. On the plus side, I HAVE started watching a little The Food Network - not that I'm going to cook anything but one day I was tempted to at least get online and see how they made it. Progress is a good thing! :). Anyway, your dinner looked awesome!

What'd I have for dinner? A peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat ciabitta bread and a spinach salad. Yum.

Carly said...

Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipes. I am going to have to try them.

Crunchy Nut Mama said...

Looks yummy I'll definately give this one a go! :)

Christina said...

Love that squash/eggplant thing you have there.

I made Vietnamese spring rolls for supper last night. It was good.