Simple Teriyaki Chicken #CareToFarm15

About a month ago, I had a fun opportunity to travel to eastern North Carolina–Greenville, to be specific–with a group of bloggers for¬†#CareToFarm15. Phibro Animal Health sponsored this incredible opportunity to learn more about our food industry! I must admit, initially when I received the email invite I was hesitant.

What a sweet welcome to Greenville! ūüíó #CaretoFarm15 #visitNC

A photo posted by Sarah K. // The Pajama Chef (@thepajamachef) on

Taking time off work is a commitment, and going to a large scale chicken hatchery and farm is a LITTLE out of my comfort zone. But I wanted to go, with an open mind, to learn more about large scale poultry production–even though I suspected I might get some hateful/angry animal activist comments on this blog post or other social media posts. I think eating local and organic is a good thing to aspire to, but with meat and poultry, that’s not usually possible for us budget-wise. And because of this trip, I have become convinced that eating all local/organic isn’t what is best for the world food system either. So what did I think? Read on to find out–and to get a recipe for an easy chicken dish that I love… because yes, I can still eat chicken [and feel good about it] after this trip. :) Spoiler alert: despite my hesitancy, this trip was AMAZING. So educational, enjoyable, and eye-opening.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

We started out our stay in Greenville with a leisurely drive through the North Carolina countryside–cotton fields galore–to dinner in Kinston at Chef & the Farmer. Yup, you may have heard of this restaurant or its lovely chef, Vivian Howard. She even has her own show on PBS! The food here was incredible. We started off with lots of starters, including this pizza with beef bacon [did you even know that’s a thing??! Mmm!] and fried okra with RANCH ICE CREAM for dipping. Ohhh yeah!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!For my meal, I chose a lovely pasta dish made with cabbage and beef sausage… a basil limeade [mmm!]…. and buttermilk pie with a blackberry lime sauce. Every bite was awesome!

If you ever have the chance to visit Chef & the Farmer, do it. But plan ahead–I guess they tend to be booked about three months in advance! It is truly a delicious experience. :)

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

While we ate, we heard from some of our hosts, including¬† Warren Harper [Phibro’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing], Ray Abner [Director of the US Poultry Business Unit and Global Strategic Accounts], and veterinarian¬†Dr. Leah Dorman about Phibro as a company, animal health, and what to expect the next day.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Bright and early the next morning we headed out to Sanderson Farms and one of their partner farms, Three Sons Poultry to get an education in chickens!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

On our drive, we learned a little about the history of Sanderson Farms. Though I had never heard of them before, they are the third largest poultry company in the US, behind Tyson and Pilgrim. Nationally, they produce over 60 million pounds of chicken per week [that’s 9 million birds!]. I know that might sound atrocious, but read on.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

We first visited the hatchery and had to get all dolled up [HA] to protect the eggs. Bio-security is a major part of the poultry industry. Before entering the building [even the office portion], we had to disinfect our shoes and wear booties. Before entering the hatchery, we had to gown up in these awesome blue suits, plastic shoe covers, and hairnets. Should this be my new daily attire?! :) The same thing was required later on at the chicken farm–but also included disinfecting our bus’ tires and our shoes with bleach powder. Crazy stuff–but necessary for healthy animals!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

I expected the hatchery to be cold, dirty, busy, and impersonal… but truly, it wasn’t. And the baby chicks were adorable. :) Though it was definitely an agricultural facility it was efficient and clean. SO clean in fact that I would be more likely to eat off the floor at the hatchery than off the floor in the kitchen at work. #truestory [Not that I actually would eat off the floor pretty much anywhere but my home but still…]

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

When the eggs arrive at the hatchery, they’re kept in crates on trays in a cozy [but gigantic] incubator. Think industrial size refrigerators, but larger. Once they hatch, they are moved to another part of the hatchery to receive vaccinations. The reason for these vaccinations, though scary-sounding [and honestly, a little frightening to look at since they are pink in color] is to grow healthy chicks. Something I never thought about before is that even though this is a big company, they have excellent motivation for healthy chickens in the long run. They want to treat their chicks well and they have veterinarians on staff to ensure that happens. Think about it… veterinarians are trained to keep animals healthy, and continue to do so… even when their purpose is something we might not want to think about… becoming our food. Mind=blown!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Plus, avian influenza is nothing to joke around about–for the animals OR for people. I now firmly believe that these vaccines are necessary and good, even though the thought of them might make some uncomfortable. The lasting impact on our food system if there is a large outbreak of disease is crippling. For instance, the drought in 2012 still affects beef prices today–and our trip almost didn’t happen due to the bird flu/egg shortage epidemic of this summer. Sanderson Farms’ head veterinarian, Phil Stayer was incredibly patient with us bloggers as we tried to understand the procedures at the hatchery as well as the rationale behind vaccinations and other health protocols. Hearing the perspectives of several veterinarians on this trip was really priceless.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

While we were there, I even got to hold a baby chick that was hatched just that day! Their timetable for hatching is super precise and regimented 365 days per year. Did you know that chicks grow in the egg for 21 days, are hatched and vaccinated, and then live at the farm for six weeks before being processed? Pretty quick turnaround, and the great part about all this is that speed results in an improvement to the gene pool–AND early realizations of problems. After hanging out with just hatched chicks, we headed over to Three Sons Poultry, a family-owned chicken farm.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Three Sons Poultry is part of Sanderson Farms’ integrated poultry system. This is basically a contract growing system, beneficial to both parties. The family farm is guaranteed a market for their product and a steady income, along with support for their business from the parent company. Along with that support, they are required to follow certain guidelines and pass inspections to ensure the health of the chickens.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

The above photo shows a chicken house. A farm can have up to four houses occupied at once–with roughly 20,000-25,000 chickens inhabiting each house. Though that sounds like a lot, these houses are HUGE and the chickens have plenty of space to grow. They are technically “cage free” but not “free range” meaning they can’t go outside… but that is to keep them healthier and as free from antibiotics as possible. Diseases can spread easily so every possible precaution is taken to keep these animals safe. The chickens only receive antibiotics if they are sick, and even then, there is a waiting period between their last dose and their processing to ensure that all traces of medication are gone.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Here you can see the farmer from Three Sons Poultry [I’ll update when I can get his name… he and his wife were SO nice!] with veterinarian Leah Dorman. Though it’s hard to see, there is so much space in the house but the chickens tend to huddle together along the walls and the feeding mechanisms [which move up throughout the chicken’s life]. He doesn’t have to wear all the bio-security gear [except plastic shoe covers] due to his constant work/presence on the farm.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

From beginning to end of these chickens’ lives, they are well cared for and protected. There are some parts of¬† the process that are unsettling to someone from outside the industry but all in all, what the men and women of Phibro, Sanderson Farms, Three Sons Poultry, and all the other players in the game do is for the good of the chickens. I was a little scared I’d come away from this trip wanting to be a vegetarian, but it’s actually been the opposite. Learning about the process makes me appreciate it more, and I learned tons of fun facts…¬† probably the biggest one was that in the US, it is illegal to inject hormones into poultry. Illegal! No poultry is free from all hormones because there are naturally occurring hormones in all living things but no one adds anything… growth is due to feed [and it takes 1.7 pounds of feed for 1 pound of chicken growth]. So you can rest assured that whether or not you buy the fancy local, organic, ____ [insert whatever adjective you prefer here] or the basic grocery store label, your chicken does not have growth hormones and will not affect your family! The labels and whatever they say [or don’t say] are just advertising.

After visiting Three Sons Poultry, we relaxed over lunch at The Peach House. My bacon, cheddar, and tomato quiche was the best! I want to remake it at home! Their desserts were the bomb… and the souvenir glass mugs they generously gave us were so cute too.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

An afternoon to recharge at the hotel and it was time to eat again! This time, dinner was at the Plum Tree Bistro. The husband-and-wife team running the restaurant were sooo sweet, and our group had a great family meal together. And of course, since LOBSTER was an option I had to partake. I think this was the first time I have ever had lobster without my dad [normally he works for the lobster and I just get to enjoy] but this time, we were just given lobster tail so it wasn’t too challenging. :)

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

Over our meal [and my awesomely melty strawberry rhubarb cobbler], we heard more from the Phibro and Sanderson Farms folks I already mentioned and Sanderson Farms’ Marketing Product Specialist¬†LaDonna Byrd about their work and their passion for chickens. And guys… it’s about wayyy more than the money. For many of these individuals, their travels to poverty-stricken areas of the world [and for some, their faith] motivates them to work to improve food sustainability, access, and efficiency. As they have seen people struggling to get their next meal, they want to make our food system better–through animal health and food efficiency.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

This doesn’t just affect them at work, but in their personal lives. Several talked about their work with nonprofits and/or missions organizations through church [and we even discovered some personal church-related connections… fun!]. Others talked about their own food purchases. They buy the Sanderson Farms chicken to serve to their families [psst: Publix grocery stores sells Sanderson Farms under their private label. Just look for the codes P-32182 or P-18557.¬† These numbers are pre-printed in the USDA inspection seal on all Publix film and bags.] They also do not buy the most expensive, fanciest eggs because they aren’t sustainable for our planet. Demand and supply are so interlinked that if we cause more demand for things like fancy brown eggs, that’s what will be created… at the expense of everything else. And the average person around the world [and in America!] cannot afford that. Then what will they eat? How can we buy the best when many struggle to survive on $1 per day? Efficiency, like it or not, is key to helping end hunger–in America and across the globe. And companies like Phibro and Sanderson Farms are the ones working towards that end.

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

And now… like I promised… a chicken dish to celebrate all things chicken! I wish I could share this meal with my new chicken friends but sharing it on the internet will have to do. This simple teriyaki chicken meal is made in your crockpot for maximum ease, maximum tenderness, and maximum deliciousness!

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

I freak out about leaving my crockpot on during the workday because of the potential for fire or a short circuit, so I use it regularly on the weekends for an easy [but tasty] meal that provides lots of leftovers for a busy week ahead. This meal is no exception! Though this crockpot recipe is a wee bit more labor intensive than “dump ‘n go,” it’s not too bad at all and the taste of that homemade sauce is well worth it! Hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading this monster of a post. :) I’m a librarian… what can I say? I’m thorough and wanted to share what I learned with others!

FYI… If you have ANY questions, please comment or email me [pajamachef AT gmail dot com] and I’ll try to answer them or get the answers for you from the wonderful folks I met. Any errors in this blog post are my own. For my blog, all first-time commenters go to moderation so please don’t think I am blocking comments on this possibly controversial subject… I want to have good dialogue but I am not going to argue with anyone. Hateful, profane, or mean-spirited comments may be deleted. Thank you for understanding!¬†

one year ago: Cranberry Mint Relish
two years ago: Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
three years ago: Carnitas
four years ago: Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut
five years ago: Balsamic Roasted Chickpeas

Simple Teriyaki Chicken

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Print

A recipe for simple teriyaki crockpot chicken and a review of #CareToFarm15 - read on to learn more about our food industry!

from The Comfort of Cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • cooked rice, for serving
  • sesame seeds, for serving
  • green onions, for serving

Directions:

Place chicken in the bottom of a crockpot. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and pepper. Pour over chicken, turning chicken to coat. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

When chicken is cooked, gently remove to a cutting board. Pour sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water then pour into sauce, reducing heat to low. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

While sauce is thickening, chop chicken into chunks. When sauce is thick, stir in chicken. Allow to heat thoroughly, then serve over hot cooked rice, adding sesame seeds and green onions as desired. Enjoy!

As I hope you can tell, this trip was a wonderful experience–fun AND educational. It was great to meet all these lovely ladies as well as everyone from Phibro and Sanderson Farms.

Disclosure: My travel and accommodations were paid for by Phibro Animal Health. I was not required to write about my experience but chose to so that others could learn too. I was not compensated in any other way for this post or the trip itself. As always, all opinions [and errors!] are my own. 

Beef Stroganoff #bookclubcookbookcc

Tender strips of beef are sauteed with mushrooms and butter, then tossed in a creamy sauce and served over egg noodles for the ultimate family meal… comfort food at its finest!¬†

Beef Stroganoff - a hearty, creamy, delicious family dinner via thepajamachef.com #bookclubcookbookCCWhen I think of family meals, beef stroganoff is one of THE meals that come to mind. Growing up, my mom served beef stroganoff fairly often and I’ve had it a time or two at friends’ houses also. Though it’s not the most glamourous dish, there’s no denying that it is delicious. If you aren’t familiar with the deliciousness that is beef stroganoff, all you need to know is beef + mushrooms + onions + sour cream = amazingness. Sour cream haters like my husband still love this dish because the sour cream is just used to thicken and add creaminess to the stock-based gravy. And though I am not a fan of traditional gravy, in this dish I¬†love it! The mushrooms help too. :)

There are many versions of beef stroganoff [and like the name suggests it has a Russian heritage], and I’ve read in a cookbook before that this became a popular dish in the post WWII era. In some ways it reminds me of other classic family dishes from that era like Swedish meatballs, porcupine meatballs, or even meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Can you really go wrong with a meaty dish served with rice or noodles and a creamy sauce? No, I didn’t think so. :) Comfort food heaven! If you need any further confirmation that beef stroganoff is a comfort food thing, look no further than the Hamburger Helper aisle at the grocery store. If they have a version, you know it’s a thing! [I’ve never tried that version but I have no doubt that mine is better!]

Beef Stroganoff - a hearty, creamy, delicious family dinner via thepajamachef.com #bookclubcookbookCCThough we regularly eat beef stroganoff at home, I made this batch special for this month’s edition of¬†#bookclubcookbookcc, a cooking project I’m a part of this year. This month, Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm was our hostess and she selected Julia Glass’¬†Three Junes. Though I didn’t make a recipe discussed in the book OR Wendy’s suggested recipe [a very delicious looking white chocolate pumpkin mousse]. I was inspired by the numerous family meals that accompanied events in the life of one family over [you guessed it] three Junes. And what better way to celebrate family than with a delicious family meal? I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. Though this isn’t the beef stroganoff I grew up with [I still need to make and share that recipe], this version of beef stroganoff is so good and is sure to be a family favorite!¬†Don’t forget to scroll down past the recipe for the giveaway. You could win a copy of the The Book Club Cookbook¬†so you can join us in this project in the future, if you wish!

one year ago: Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake
two years ago: Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip
three years ago: Mexican Rollups
four years ago: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
five years ago: Asian Chicken Bowls

Beef Stroganoff

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar [or light brown with a splash of molasses]
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • handful of parsley, minced
  • cooked egg noodles, for serving

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. While oil is heating up, cut beef into bite-size chunks and season with pepper. Working in two batches, brown each side of the beef [about 3 minutes per side]. Beef doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through. When done, place in a bowl and set aside. Add a little more oil halfway through if necessary.

Next, add mushrooms and onion to the pan along with a little more oil. Cook until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Whisk in flour and tomato paste. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then slowly pour in chicken broth. Add the brown sugar and the reserved beef. Stir together and reduce heat to low, then simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 16 ounces of egg noodles according to package directions. When simmer time is done, stir in sour cream, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve over noodles. Enjoy!!

Giveaway
This month Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!
One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from October 1st till October 31st at 4 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
*Disclosure: Wendy received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

SRC: Crockpot Barbacoa

Try this easy crockpot barbacoa for your next taco night! It sure tastes great. :)

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

It was a little surprising that I picked this recipe for this month’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club. Sure, I love Mexican food. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has ever met me. The surprising part is that I don’t think I’ve ever had barbacoa, except in one or two bite tastes from my husband’s Chipotle burrito. What can I say? Pork or chicken or even–GASP–vegetarian > beef almost allll of the time in my life. But when I was selecting a recipe to make this month from Sashi’s blog, Get off the Couch and Cook, I was feeling like pulling my crockpot out of hibernation. Sashi has tons of other great recipes on her blog, but I must have been in a savory mood when perusing her blog because everything I seriously considered making was a dinner recipe! Hoisin Pulled Pork, Bean and Potato Tacos, Slow Cooked Pulled Pork… they all sounded amazing, as did the barbacoa. And honestly, I planned to make Sashi’s pulled pork, but the grocery store foiled me! There was nary a big hunk ‘o pork in sight, so beef it was. :)

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

I have to admit, that when reading SRC posts I don’t always click over to the original recipe but if you have a sense of humor, you should definitely read Sashi’s barbacoa post. It is hilarious! Especially the part about how she likes her meat… err, men. ;-) I think Sashi and I would get along well, especially since her husband sounds a lot like mine–he even contributes to her blog, OTT style, and his nickname on the blog is Mr. Onion-Hater! Ben hates onions too, though I think his tolerance of them is a wee bit higher. She doesn’t live all that far away, relatively, as I’m in Nashville and she’s in the Atlanta area. Fun times!

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

But anyway, back to the beef! This crockpot barbacoa isn’t exactly authentic since it’s cooked indoors in the crockpot [hence the name] instead of over an open fire, but it sure is easy and tasty! The only changes I made to Sashi’s original recipe was to reduce the amount of spice with the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I used two to her four, and that was plenty spicy for me. No burn but enough heat. This was a great meal to make on a lazy Saturday to enjoy during a football game. True to Chipotle, I served our barbacoa in soft tortillas with cilantro lime rice, guac, and loads of toppings. I know this will be a repeat meal at our house, and we’ll be devouring the leftovers for dayyys! Hope you try this out too! :)

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

one year ago: Pumpkin Bagels
two years ago: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting
three years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce 
four years ago: Pumpkin Brownies
five years ago: Cran-Tan-Oat Scones

Crockpot Barbacoa - an easy way to fancy up your next taco night! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

Crockpot Barbacoa

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 8 hours
  • Print

from Get off the Couch and Cook

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lime juice [about 2 limes]
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • tortillas, for serving
  • rice, for serving [stir in some lime juice, chopped cilantro, butter, and a little garlic after the rice is cooked for a cilantro lime rice knockoff]
  • lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole/avocados, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc. for topping as desired

Directions:

Place the beef chuck roast in the bottom of a large crockpot. Pour chicken broth, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar over beef. Spread chipotle peppers and garlic on beef, then sprinkle with oregano, cumin, cloves, and freshly ground black pepper. Use the back of a spoon to rub seasoning into meat, then cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

When beef is fully cooked, remove from crockpot and place on a large rimmed baking sheet or dish. Trim fat as necessary, then shred with two forks. Return meat back to crockpot and stir to redistribute the juices.

Serve barbacoa in tortillas with rice and other desired toppings. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out other recipes from the SRC this week here:

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches

A hot vegetarian sandwich that is more flavorful than you ever could imagine! 

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

Eggplant… in a sandwich? Umm, is that for serious? That was Ben’s reaction, pretty much verbatim when I told him I was making these sandwiches with–you guessed it–a cache of farmer’s market goodies. Eggplant, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, basil cooked in a rich tomato sauce. The result is an intensely flavorful sauce that is absolutely incredible on a good, thick baguette with some melty cheese. Mmmm! And oh? If you encounter any doubters when making this recipe, the smell alone should be enough to sway them. :)

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

Truthfully I hadn’t ever heard of eggplant caponata before finding this recipe, but it sounded kind of Italian sooo I put my librarian hat on and found out it’s a traditional Sicilian dish. It’s always made with eggplant and usually is made with a sweet and sour sauce seasoned with vinegar and olives or capers. You can serve the caponata on bread like I did, or over pasta. This made a¬†huge batch so I served some sandwich-style, more over pasta, and some actually over rice. We eat a lot of rice in this house so it was a natural choice.

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com #summer #meatless #recipe

I’m not really the meatball sub type, but honestly, this reminded me of a vegetarian meatball sub. It’s hearty and tomato-y, with lots of great flavors and a hearty texture. This is definitely a great meatless dish to try if you like eggplant, or even if you want to introduce it to your family. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed this saucy goodness [and#thatmeltycheese] for dinner for dayyys on end. I know you’ll <3 it too!

one year ago: Baked Cauli-Tots
two years ago: Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce
three years ago: Summery Squash and Chicken Lasagna
four years ago: Watermelon Coolers
five years ago: Tomato Pie

Eggplant Caponata Sandwiches

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

from The Sweets Life

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed – about¬†4 cups
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 ounces¬†white mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†dried oregano
  • baguette, sliced into small pieces, to serve
  • shredded mozzarella, to serve
  • fresh basil, to serve

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot set over medium heat. When hot, add eggplant, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10-12 minutes, until veggies are soft.

Stir in olives, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, sugar, and oregano. Taste and season again as desired. Reduce heat to low, then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding a little water [1-2 tablespoons] if mixture gets too thick or sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Allow caponata to cool for about 20 minutes, then spoon onto slices of baguette, top with mozzarella, and broil until cheese melts. Top with basil and serve immediately. Caponata also freezes well, or can be served over rice or pasta.

Cheesy Veggie Pasta

This pasta is creamy and cheesy, and full of lots of summer veggies. What’s not to love?!?

Pasta bursting with all your farmer's market faves and some yummy cheese! Cheesy Veggie Pasta via thepajamachef.com

Ahhh, pasta. If you’re like me, you probably have it¬†at least once a week in some form or another. No matter how you fix it, pasta is always a vehicle for something delicious. Though baked pastas are my FAVE, in the summer, sometimes that’s too much. So this time, I threw in everything from my local farmer’s market and called it a day. I think the combo of mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and corn was perfect. I thought about just tossing the veggies with an olive oil or butter-based sauce, but instead decided to try for a lighter creamy sauce. After cooking the veggies, I tossed in some flour and added some milk. After letting it cook down, I added cheese and herbs. I truly wasn’t sure how it would go, and was so happy with the results! In a word, or three… Flavorful, refreshing, and satisfying. Mmm!

Pasta bursting with all your farmer's market faves and some yummy cheese! Cheesy Veggie Pasta via thepajamachef.com

I absolutely inhaled this colorful and light pasta! It’s cheesy and creamy and super wonderful.¬†Unlike some saucy pasta dishes, this one reheated well which was a pleasant surprise. You better believe I hoarded the leftovers and will be making this again soon. :) Enjoy!

one year ago: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes
two years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
three years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
four years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce

Cheesy Veggie Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn, cut off the cob
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs – I used dill, basil, lemon thyme, and a tiny bit of mint
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add pasta. Cook to al dente according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and corn. Season with pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant.¬†Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir to coat. Pour in milk and stir. Constantly stir, cooking until thick–about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

When pasta is cooked, fold pasta into sauce. Sprinkle with herbs and mozzarella. Stir until cheese melts, then season with pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, or toss in an oven safe baking dish and cook until cheese on top crisps up. I think some bread crumbs mixed with butter and lemon zest on top could be magnificent too!