Monday, September 13, 2010

Ratatouille with steamed quinoa and grilled lemon-pepper chicken.

Dinner Menu
Steamed quinoa
Lemon pepper chicken

Who knew veggies could be so satisfying and pretty.
Ratatouille is a fall vegetable galore where practically any fall veggie can be included in the dish. It turned out to be colorful and delicious and even the kids loved it. The basic flavor is that of thyme and a combo of eggplant, peppers, zucchini, squash, and potatoes all add their own taste to this dish. I tried to make it look like Remy's dish in the movie "Ratatouille" by thinly slicing all the veggies and arranging them in a casserole by overlapping them slightly. Here is the recipe.


1 small eggplant
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 large red bell pepper
1/2 of a small butternut squash
2 red potatoes
1 small red onion sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 can of tomato puree
olive oil
thyme (fresh or dry)
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion and garlic till they turn pink. 
  2. Add tomato purée along with seasoning and thyme and cook until the sauce bubbles up around 5-7 minutes. It should make a thin sauce. Can add a quarter cup of water if it becomes too thick. 
  3. While the sauce is making preheat the oven to 425 F and grease a large casserole dish. 
  4. Slice all the veggies keeping uniform thickness all around. This is the key to this dish cooking evenly. You can use a mandolin to slice if you prefer. Pour a bit of olive oil and season the veggies with salt, cracked black pepper and thyme and mix thoroughly to evenly coat them. 
  5. At the bottom if the casserole dish, pour the tomato sauce and cover the base evenly with it. 
  6. Arrange seasoned veges the way you see in the picture above. Sprinkle thyme on top. 
  7. Cover the dish with a parchment paper and bake for 40-45 minutes until all the veges are cooked.
Steamed quinoa
This is a new superfood gaining popularity and can be used in many different recipes. My family loved its nutty taste and it was a lot lighter in the tummy than rice. I just steamed it with salt to use as a side dish. Read more about this super grain here.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups of water or chicken broth
salt to taste
  1. Wash quinoa for 2 minutes in a strainer. this is necessary to remove a soapy residue on the seeds. 
  2. Add water and salt and bring to boil. 
  3. Simmer and cook covered for 12- 15 minutes till the seeds absorb all the liquid. fluff with a fork and enjoy.

Lemon Pepper Chicken
Ingredients: (serves 4)

3 chicken breast
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
coarsely cracked black pepper
juice and rind of 1 lemon
salt to taste

  1. Season the boneless skinless chicken breast with salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl combine garlic powder, olive oil and lemon juice and rind. Rub this marinade generously on the seasoned chicken.
  3. Grill on medium high until lightly golden on top and cooked through in the middle. 
  4. Remove from heat, cover with foil and rest the meat for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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