Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

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 ❤ 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
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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.

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Breakfast, Egg Dishes, Recipes

SRC: Mini Egg Quiches

These adorable mini egg quiches are easy to make and full of great flavor! 

Mini Egg Quiches | thepajamachef.com

This month for SRC I was assigned to the fun blog, Living the Gourmet. This blog was started by Catherine in order to pass recipes down to her children. Aww! Her daughter, Tammy, contributes recipes and son Michael does reviews and interviews for the blog. It’s truly a family affair! When I was looking through the archives, I found several tempting choices, including Feta and Jalapeno Corn Muffins, French Apple Tart, and these Mini Egg Quiches! Obviously… quiche won. 🙂

Mini Egg Quiches | thepajamachef.com

These quiche are much easier to make than the traditional variety. The “crust” is merely sandwich bread. SO smart! And the filling is totally customizable, as all good egg/quiche dishes should be. Here I stuck with Catherine’s suggestions: Parmesan, sundried tomato, garlic, and herbs. I also threw in some spinach for good measure. Ben and I enjoyed these for a light dinner with smoothies, but I think they’d also be fantastic for brunch, breakfast, or even a snack. They’re portable, tasty, and cute! What more could you ask for? Enjoy!

Mini Egg Quiches

  • Servings: 10 mini quiches
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from Living the Gourmet

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 slices soft bread, edges trimmed [I used oatmeal bread]
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped [I used the dried ones from Trader Joe’s]
  • 1/4 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley [I used dill]
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder [I accidentally left this out and they were fine]
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Grease 10 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Flatten bread with a rolling pin or your hands, then press it into the muffin wells, using about 1/2 of a slice for each. Bake the bread for 5-7 minutes, until just crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Fold in tomatoes, spinach, Parmesan, sour cream, garlic, scallions, parsley, baking powder, and pepper.

Divide the egg batter between the muffin wells. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set.

To see what my other Secret Recipe Club pals made this month, check out the links below!

Beef, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

These French Dip Sandwiches cook all day in your crockpot, making a delicious dinner with almost no work! 

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com

I almost hate to admit that I made these yummy sandwiches in March, for Ben’s birthday. And I’m just now getting around to sharing them. #whoops! Sorry guys, sometimes I just blog about what I made recently… what sounds good… and forget about what’s been sitting in iPhoto for ages. What will be really bad is when I start blogging about recipes that I made when we lived in Indiana–more than 9 months ago! Oh wait, that’s happened already. #whoopstimestwo

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.com

Anyways, back to these sandwiches. As it often goes in our house, the only time I cook “big hunks ‘o meat” are for special occasions or on the weekends. The rest of the time it’s vegetarian fare or meat on the side sort of meals. Obviously, Ben’s birthday qualifies as a special occasion, and he chose French Dip Sandwiches. I know alot of people eat them at restaurants all the time, but I’m not sure I’d ever had one before. Now I’m hooked! I loved how tender and flavorful the beef is in this dish, but my favorite bites included all the extras: a little bit of  meat, some soft, meaty onions, and a big hunk of chewy baguette. I used these cute mini baguettes for extra crust on each sandwich. 🙂 Deeeeeelish! I need to make this meal again soon. You can add cheese to the sandwiches if you like too, but it’s flavorful enough as is so we left it off. Enjoy!

one year ago: Kale Pesto Pasta
two years ago: Fresh Tomato & Mozzarella Crostini 

Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

  • Servings: 4
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Easy Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches | thepajamachef.comfrom What Megan’s Making
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large baguette—cut into 4 pieces, split horizontally or 4 mini baguettes
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, optional

Directions:

Add broth, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and flour in the bottom of a large crockpot. Whisk to combine. Season the brisket with a generous amount of pepper, then place in the crockpot. Turn to coat with broth, then cover and cook until very tender, approximately 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. I cooked mine on low for about 7 hours.

Ten minutes before serving, place brisket on a cutting board and thinly slice against the grain. Alternatively, you can gently shred meat with two forks [this is what I did]. If desired, strain the cooking liquid and reserve onions, then bring cooking liquid to a boil and cook about 5-7 minutes until reduced. [I didn’t do this.]

If using cheese, place cheese on bread and toast at a low broil for a couple minutes, watching carefully. Serve brisket on bread with onions, and serve cooking liquid as au jus on side for dipping.

Breakfast, French Toast, Recipes

Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake + Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. During fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from May 10, 2012…

This Sunday, May 12th is Mother’s Day, in case you were unaware. I’m guessing most of you are not, but just in case I thought I’d remind you. 🙂 I hope and pray that this Mother’s Day is special for all of you, as you celebrate moms, families, and special women in your lives. One way that we like to celebrate is with food! So what better way to celebrate than with an arsenal of tried and true brunch ideas?

If you’re looking for some new pastries and muffins, be sure to consider these:

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing | thepajamachef.com

royal berry coffee cake | thepajamachef.com

cinnamon carrot muffins | thepajamachef.com

Cinnamon Carrot Muffins

Sunrise Muffins | thepajamachef.comSunrise Muffins

Perhaps you need a side…

Brown Sugar Bacon Twists | thepajamachef.com

Brown Sugar Bacon Twists
Honey Lime Fruit Salad | thepajamachef.com

Or do you need a main dish?
Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole | thepajamachef.com
Sausage, Apple, and Egg Casserole
Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake | thepajamachef.com
Although I would love to dine on any of those tried and true dishes that are straight from my kitchen, I must share with you one last gem: Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake! I made this breakfast bake when we had family in town last week and it was a huge hit.

Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake | thepajamachef.com

I love French Toast Bakes because they’re all the great taste of the classic breakfast dish, but with a small fraction of the work [not that you moms should be working in the kitchen on Sunday anyway though!]. My version has some healthy ingredients like hearty multigrain bread and plump blueberries, and is flavored with fragarent cinnamon for that authentic French Toast taste. Plus, as an added benefit, you make it the night before so it takes next to no work when brunch time rolls around! Hope you enjoy, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake [adapted from Ours to Yours]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound day-old multigrain French bread, cubed
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup  sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

Directions:

Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, then spread bread cubes in pan.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs then stir in milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and cinnamon until mixture is smooth. Add half of the blueberries then pour mixture evenly over bread.

Top with remaining blueberries.

Cover and refrigerate overnight [or at least 1 hour, but no more than 24].

When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator, uncover, and place in cold oven. Then turn oven to 400 and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and set on top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving with additional berries, syrup, or powdered sugar as desired.

Time: 15 minutes active + 35 minutes baking + time to refrigerate

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Notes: If oven is preheated, just let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before baking.

Breakfast, French Toast, Recipes

SRC: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I had the honor of being assigned to Jane’s blog, The Heritage Cook. Jane does so much for the SRC every month, including serving as the hostess of our group [group A, that always posts on the first Monday of the month] so I definitely wanted to do a good job with her blog. 🙂 Jane lives in California and has been into cooking and baking forever–ever since her Easy Bake Oven. How fun! She has tons of great recipes on her site, including lots of chocolate recipes from her Chocolate Mondays posts. So if you need a chocolate recipe, like puddingpeanut butter-chocolate cookie dip, or cake, Jane is your girl! 🙂 But I didn’t make a chocolate recipe today. I made baked french toast. And it is delicious!

Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup | thepajamachef.com

This was one of the last, if not the last meal we made in our old apartment. TEAR! Ha. But I digress… this baked french toast is soft, sweet, super simple to put together. You can mix everything together the night before you want to serve it, and then just bake it up in about 30 minutes in the morning. We topped ours with walnuts and strawberries, and then an absolutely epic strawberry maple syrup. Jane is a genius, I tell ya!

Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup | thepajamachef.comThe original recipe used blueberries and pecans instead of my strawberries and walnuts, but I was using up what I had. And it was excellent. I wished I had an orange to grate in some zest–that would have made a great dish even better. The moral of the story is that you can use any fruit and any nut you’d like, and you can have a great, company worthy breakfast in a jiffy. Thanks, Jane! Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago… Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
two years ago… Pumpkin, Sausage, & Spinach Lasagna 
three years ago… Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup [adapted from The Heritage Cook]
click to print

Ingredients:

for french toast

  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen

for syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups real maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen

Directions:

Spread bread crumbs on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour over bread, then cover and refrigerate overnight. It will appear to be very liquidy–that’s okay.

In the morning, top with remaining brown sugar, walnuts, and strawberries. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

While french toast is baking, combine maple syrup and strawberries in a small saucepan and heat on low until warm. Gently press berries with a wooden spoon to break up.

Cut french toast into squares and serve with strawberry maple syrup.

Time: 1 hour + overnight.

Yield: 12 servings.

For more great recipes from this edition of the SRC, check out the links below!