Eggplant Spaghetti



Recently, I feel like I could literally *drink* red sauce. It could have something to do with the fact that I finally discovered a pizza brand that makes a sauce that I actually like – shout out to Romeo’s in Frisco!

About a year ago, I decided to start making my own spaghetti sauce, and ever since I have been on a mission to perfect the recipe and tweak it to my precise liking. I’m getting close!!

We are trying to work a few meatless meals back into our routine each week, and eggplant is always a filling meat substitute. Oddly enough, I didn’t even miss the beef in this recipe! Maybe, just maybe, I might even like this version…..better?

RECIPE

Prep Time  20 minutes

Cook Time  60  minutes

Serves 6 people 

Ingredients

Pasta
  • 1 (16 oz) package thin spaghetti noodles
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Water for boiling
Sauce
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup fresh carrot, peeled and diced (about two carrots)
  • 2 cups eggplant, diced (one eggplant)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 4-5 Campari tomatoes, boiled & peeled
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, drained & chopped
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

**All measurements for seasonings are my best guess. (Sorry!) It’s always better to start with less and add more to taste.**

For Topping
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Start by allowing the eggplant to “sweat”. Add chopped eggplant to a colander, and toss with 1 tbsp salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse well and pat dry before cooking.
  2. Bring a large pot full of water to a boil. Season water with salt and boil pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water for later. Add butter to noodles and toss to coat.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in onion and shallot and cook until translucent, about one minute. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add eggplant and carrots to the skillet, and lightly season with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour in vegetable broth, and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer until vegetables are tender and most of the broth has evaporated – about 5 minutes.
  5. Next, add in tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, and 1/2 of the chopped basil. Stir to combine.
  6. Hand crush your boiled, peeled tomatoes into the skillet, and add tomato sauce. Sprinkle in sugar, as well as all seasonings (salt, pepper, red chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning). Stir too combine, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the remaining basil and pasta water. Allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes, but longer if possible.
  7. Add additional seasoning or sugar to taste.
  8. You can add noodles to the sauce, or you can serve the sauce over the top of plated noodles.

Substitutions

  1. If you don’t want to boil and peel your own tomatoes, you can easily substitute 1 (28 oz) can of whole, peeled tomatoes.

Tips

  1. It’s so important to salt your water as you boil your pasta! It has made a huge difference in the way my pastas taste, and taked the flavor from good to great, every time!
  2. The key to cooking eggplant is to pre-salt and let your eggplant sweat before cooking it. Don’t skip this easy and life-changing step!
  3. Pasta water! Don’t ever let me catch you making pasta and not reserving some of that delicious pasta water for the sauce! This helps the sauce stick to the noodles, the starch content adds a silky richness to your sauce and the salt content contributes to extra flavor.
  4. If you leave off the cheese, and triple check that your noodles don’t contain eggs, this is 100% vegan!

Vegan Sloppy Janes



I’ll admit, when I started cooking this I was not planning a full on vegan recipe. It wasn’t until I finished and sat down to eat that I though, “Well look at that…your girl didn’t even use butter!” which is a huge accomplishment.

I’ve tried to go vegan/vegetarian many times, but was never able to stick to it for long. Even living in a big city like Dallas, it is still a very inconvenient restriction in my opinion. However, what has worked for me is trying out meatless meals a few times a week. I started with Meatless Mondays, and gradually worked my way up to eating a few meatless meals a week without even forcing it.

As a newbie to the vegetarian/vegan/meatless/plant-based (you get the point) world, it has been very challenging to come up with meatless recipes that aren’t pasta or Mexican stuffed vegetable of choice. I received the Impossible Meat in my Imperfect Produce box, and decided I would create a meatless spin-off of the Defined Dish Sloppy Jane recipe.

We loved it, so I hope you do too! Don’t forget to leave a review, or tag me on instagram if you decide to try it out!

RECIPE

Prep Time  15 minutes

Cook Time  60  minutes

Serves 4 people 

Ingredients

“Meat”
  • 1 (16 Oz.) Package Impossible Burger Ground (This one.)
  • 1 (15 oz.) Can Brown Lentils
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Mushroom
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion – Diced
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic – Minced
  • 1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, Finely Diced
  • 1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
  • 3 oz. Tomato Paste (About 1/2 of a can, or 3 tbsp.)
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Aminos
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • Garlic Powder – to taste
  • Onion Powder – to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste
Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 400º. *Carefully* poke several holes in each sweet potato using a fork or a knife. Individually wrap each potato in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender all the way through.
  2. After the potatoes have been in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, begin making the “meat” mixture by heating your olive oil in a large skillet over Medium-High heat.
  3. Add in diced onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute until slightly tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add in your Impossible Beef, and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Then, add in drained lentils, chopped mushrooms and seasonings. Stir to combine.
  5. Lower heat to Medium, and mix in mustard and tomato paste with meat and veggies.
  6. Pour in coconut aminos and brown sugar, and mix.
  7. If necessary, reduce heat to Low to keep the meat mixture warm while your potatoes finish baking.
  8. To Serve: Split potato in half and mash with fork. Pour meat mixture over the potato, and top with finely chopped parsley if desired.

Tips

  1. You can use 4 small/medium size potatoes, or 2 very large ones and serve 1/2 per person.
  2. Impossible Beef is the only brand of plant based “meat” I have tried, which is why I am recommending it here. Feel free to try any other brand of plant based ground beef.
  3. If you’re not into the Vegan thing, just swap Impossible Beef for 1 pound of ground beef.

Hearty Chicken Pot Pie



Wow. What a week month+ it has been! I’ve had this recipe typed up and ready to go since February, but the snow-pocalypse we had in Texas over Valentine’s Day week was quite a huge life interruption, to say the least. To be honest, I just had no motivation to get my life back in order afterwards.

I have also had a major case of writer’s block, and that combined with a moderate to severe case of OCD has been crippling for this recipe sharing adventure.

So here I am, sharing a recipe with nothing heartfelt to say about it.

OH! These do hold a special place in my heart because of my dad. Growing up, he always had a freezer stocked with Banquet brand chicken pot pies, which is how I came to love them so much and why I ever tried making one from scratch in the first place. (Banquet is still the best frozen pot pie brand there is – anyone who disagrees can fight me.) How is that for heartfelt?

RECIPE

Prep Time  20 minutes

Cook Time  30  minutes

Serves 4 people 

Ingredients

Pie Filling
  • 4 Cooked Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) Frozen Mixed Vegetables
  • 1 Russet potato, cubed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Pie Crust

Instructions

  1. To cook the chicken, season with salt and pepper and place in the Instant Pot with 1 cup of chicken broth. Turn Instant Pot to “Meat/Stew” setting, close lid and set timer for 15 minutes. Once pressure has naturally released, remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool for 5-7 minutes. (Don’t throw away the broth yet – you’ll need it for the filling.)
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil and add in diced onion. Saute until translucent – about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add minced garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour about 1/2 cup of leftover chicken broth into the skillet, and add frozen vegetables and diced potato. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables and potatoes are fork tender and most of the broth has evaporated.
  5. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Season generously with onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
  6. Combine vegetable mixture, cream of chicken and diced/shredded chicken in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Follow the instructions on your pie crust box for prepping your crust. Pillsbury has some great tips for getting the perfect pie crust that I have yet to master here.
  8. Pour filling into pie crust, and top with second crust. Brush top crust with egg wash to get the perfect golden-brown, crispy crust.
  9. Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is golden grown.
  10. I know this is the hardest part – but if you want your pie to hold its shape when you serve it, you HAVE to let it cool for at least 20 minutes, if not more.