The Quintessential French Summer Dish
Ratatouille is the quintessential French summer dish using the garden’s harvest. Up until recently I never made ratatouille before. Shocking I know. No clue why I haven’t. Glad that changed.
Simple Dish, Complex Favors
I came across “Ratatouille Reimagined: 8 Ways to Enjoy” in Forks Over Knives, Summer 2021 magazine. They had the basic recipe then 8 additional ways to serve it. I had all of the ingredients so I made it. There are two ways to make it. The traditional way is to slice then arrange veg in a dish and bake. Since it was hot and I was lazy, I took the slow cooker option which is basically chop, dump, stir, then forget until dinnertime. While it doesn’t look as fancy, it tastes delicious.
Ratatouille makes a diverse base where you can build a bunch of different meals. Good idea to make a big batch where you can handle it out. Over the week, I made it with pasta by adding canned white beans topped with fresh basil, and nutritional yeast and then to finish it off, Provencal chili by canned dark kidney beans and corn over brown rice and topped with avocado and cilantro. Both tasty and filling meals. I used canned diced tomatoes and Newport Sea Salt’s Herbes de Provence.
Looking for recipes for eggplant that can be served at room temp or cold? Try Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole.
- 1 pound tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 15-oz can diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 pound zucchini, halved and thickly sliced
- 1 medium eggplant cut into chunks
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped chunky
- 2 cloves garlic minced or 1 tablespoon minced jarred garlic
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
- 1 bay leaf
- 1. Prepare all veg and place in slow cooker.
- 2. Set on high for 4 hours stirring halfway if you remember.
The slow cooker has saved the day many times over the past three months. Slow Cooker Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry has been to the rescue a couple times one. I kept buying butternut squash saying I’m going to make x or y, but then it just sits there in the fridge with the great potential to end up in the compost bin. It is a simple and quick recipe to throw in the slow cooker then forget about it until you need to make the rice or heat the naan.
Now back to my slow cooker saving the day. This year has flown by and I have been on it by the seat of my pants. Between managing a busy family, working at the lighthouse foundation, servicing my public relations clients, attending graduate school, and launching a new business, let’s just say cooking hasn’t been top of my action list. We are attempting to eat well while adding plant-based meals without resorting to pizza or Chinese delivery. And we have done that more than we would like to admit since September. The slow cooker provided us with hot wholesome meals after long days.
This recipe is made with simple ingredients, but packs a lot of flavor. It isn’t spicy nor sweet. Just a nice balance of flavors. Add rice or naan to round it out. I buy the pre-cut butternut squash. I have no patience to peel then cut one up so I do the pre-cut.
If you are looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet then this is a good one to start with since it is so flavorful.
Slow Cooker Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 2 T curry powder
- 1 T minced garlic
- 2T grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained
- 1 small butternut squash (about 2.5-3 lb), peeled and diced or sweet potato
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Combine all ingredients except for cilantro in the slow cooker
- Cover and set to LOW
- Cook 8 hours
- Add chopped fresh cilantro
- Serve over rice
Completely Cheesy Slowcooker Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
Lactose intolerance folks it maybe advised to look away in regards to this very cheesy spinach lasagna. Unless you wish to torture yourself with a recipe with four different cheeses. It is hard to resist the dairy goodness in this one.
An amazingly simple vegetarian slow cooker meal for anytime of year. It is really a dump and go… OK not exactly dump, but layer and go recipe. If you are the industrious type then you can make your own tomato sauce; however, sauce out of the jar is OK. I use Rao’s. It is the really big jar since there is nothing worst with lasagna is to have dry lasagna. And of course uncooked noodles. Not that you will have that issue with it being in the slow cooker for 4-8 hours. I am a cheese addict so the more cheese the better and the cheese in this recipe is very generous.
While meat lasagna tends to be heavy, this spinach lasagna is very light. If you wanted more veggies, then I would saute them first to soften then add to the cheese mixture. Veggie lasagna coming out of the slow cooker does sound rather nice.
Just a reminder, this will feed a crowd. It is a lot of food. Either throw a party adding a salad and bread or expect to enjoy this everyday for lunch for two weeks. Not that that is a bad thing mind you.
Looking for more slow cooker meals? I have a whole section on that.
Slowcooker Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna Recipe
- 4-6 cups tomato sauce
- 12 to 15 no boil lasagna noodles
- 1 32-ounces container light ricotta cheese
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 5-ounces container fresh baby spinach
- 3 cups low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, feta cheese, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, oregano, parsley and eggs; mix until thoroughly combined then add the spinach making sure it is mixed well.
- Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the pot.
- Arrange a layer of the noodles over the sauce.
- Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta.
- Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and 1/3 of the parmesan cheese over the ricotta mixture.
- Top with a cup of tomato sauce.
- Repeat these layers until all the ingredients have been used up .
- Top the lasagna with a layer of lasagna noodles covered with tomato sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
- Turn off the crock pot and let stand 30-45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
Slow Cooker Portuguese-style Seafood Soup
Nothing is nicer than a hearty soup as the weather cools to fall then winter. Slow Cooker Portuguese-style Seafood Soup is a recipe that will warm your insides. The aroma coming from this recipe in the slow cooker says, “welcome home!”
The ingredients are straight forward and flexible: potatoes, onions, broth, crushed tomatoes, spices, and seafood. What’s nice about this recipe is that it is a dump and go. You can chop the onion and potatoes the night before and thaw the seafood in the fridge during the day then an hour before serving drop the seafood into the slow cooker. The combination of spices, broth, and tomatoes makes a rich broth to the stew. The addition of red pepper and red pepper flakes gives it a degree of heat.
Slow Cooker Portuguese-style Seafood Soup Recipe
- 1 pound yellow potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup white onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, heaping
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, heaping
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, heaping
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, heaping
- 1/4 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes, heaping
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, heaping
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
- Brisk turn of the pepper grinder
- 2 pounds seafood (1 pound large shrimp and 1 pound cod)
- bunch parsley, chopped
- Chop onions and place in the slow cooker.
- Cube potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in the slow cooker.
- Add the spices, broth, and tomatoes to the slower and mixing it well
- Cover and cook on high 6 hours until potatoes are cooked through.
- Add thawed seafood to slow cooker cooking for 30-60 minutes or until the seafood is fully cooked.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Serve hot with crusty bread.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Red Lentil Soup
Slow cooker vegetable red lentil soup is what you make when your veggie bin in the fridge is fuller than it needs to be. That was the case with my bin this morning. I had some veg that needed to be used before it had to go to the compost bin. Not that it was rotten, but you know what I mean. I hope.
Anyway, I have not made a veggie soup in ages, so I thought today why not? I got a late start of it and did not get it into the slow cooker until after lunch. I was a bit worried since my red lentils (or dal) have lost some of their color. That doesn’t mean they are bad, but just old and may take longer to cook. Simple ingredients for this soup and I used what I had on hand: onions, celery, potatoes, zucchini, canned tomatoes, fresh thyme, bay leaves, cabbage, and vegetable broth. Vegetable soups are so versatile that they can be a big of a dump meal with what’s on hand. I sautéed the onion and celery first in olive oil until softened giving it a little extra flavor.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Red Lentil Soup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2-3 celery stalks diced
- 3-4 carrots diced
- 1 large zucchini sliced and quartered
- 2-3 potatoes peeled and diced small
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 1 14.4 oz. petite diced tomatoes
- 1-2 pieces Parmesan cheese rind
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Generous grinds of the pepper mill
- 1 small thinly sliced savoy cabbage
- Fresh Italian parsley chopped finely
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil over medium heat in pan. Sautée onion and celery until soft. (If you are in a rush then by-pass this step)
- Place onion, celery, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, Parmesan rind, tomatoes, lentils, thyme, salt, pepper, and broth in the slow cooker.
- Set slow cooker to high for 6 hours.
- Add the cabbage with about 2 hours left.
- Remove thyme stalks and bay leaves.
- Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with parsley and cheese.
Slow Cooker Corn Chowder warms the soul as the weather turns cooler.
Soup is one of the dishes that make the world a better place. This slow cooker corn chowder is a good candidate for world harmony. It warms the soul as the weather starts to turn cooler. And as we busy ourselves with fall activities, the slow cooker recipe makes dinner healthy and easy for us. Corn chowder is a hearty vegetarian meal.
The recipe is easy and straightforward. Red potatoes, frozen corn, vegetable broth, spices, unsalted butter, and heavy cream. Most items are already in your pantry or freezer. I use red potatoes and heavy cream, but that is what I had on hand when I decided to make the recipe. Regular potatoes and any milk, but skim would work in this recipe. Key to the potatoes is to have them diced small so they will cook. Once you dice the potatoes (and perhaps your grocery store has diced potatoes), this is a dump and go slow cooker meal. A kind of slow cooker meal I like.
Slow Cooker Corn Chowder Recipe
- 1-2 pounds red potatoes diced small
- 1 16-oz package of frozen corn
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme heaping
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano heaping
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder heaping
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder heaping
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Generous turns of the pepper grinder
- 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Dice potatoes quite small.
- Put potatoes and frozen corn in slow cooker.
- Sprinkle in flour and tossing to coat.
- Stir in vegetable broth, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Cove and cook on low heat between 6-8 hours.
- Stir in butter and heavy cream.
- Heat for about 5 minutes.
- Test for seasoning adding more salt or pepper as needed.