We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in Texas. It was wonderful to drive to be with our Giese family. Thanksgiving is the only time of year that the entire clan (close to 40 of us) plan to get together. This year we were just outside of San Antonio and next year I get to host!!! (And yes, the spreadsheet is already forming in my head and I’ve determined where furniture will be placed too!) Then on Friday we drove over to see Brad’s parents and had another wonderful feast. Needless to say, we need some vegetables without butter and brown sugar all over them!
I just finished prepping this Ratatouille recipe that I found last winter in “Slow Cooker Revolution”. I served our dish with some Rigatoni Pasta to help my kids be a bit more receptive to this vegetable focused meal. It does take a bit of time to prepare (30 minutes) but then you have 4 to 6 hours to clean up the kitchen and know that later your family will have a warm, healthy meal without any butter 🙂
Cut into 1-inch chunks:
- 2 eggplants (2 pounds)
- 3 zucchini (1 1/2 pounds)
Heat in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat:
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Brown in the heated oil for about 5-7 minutes:
- 1/2 of the eggplant; turning it to brown on all sides. (I pepper mine a bit)
Transfer browned eggplant to your slow cooker.
Repeat process with 1 Tablespoon more of oil and remaining eggplant.
Then, work in two batches again, to brown the zucchini (adding 1 Tablespoon of oil before each batch.)
Put the browned zucchini in the slow cooker.
Heat 2 more Tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add to the shimmering oil:
- 2 onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme (could use 2 teaspoons of fresh if you have some)
Cook the vegetables for 8 to 10 minutes until softened and lightly browned.
While the vegetables brown, drain but reserve the drained juice
- 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Once the vegetables are browned, Stir into them and cook for 1 minute:
- 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
Slowly whisk into the skillet, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out lumps:
- the reserved tomato juice
Transfer everything to the slow cooker.
Stir into the slow cooker:
- The drained, diced tomatoes
Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low until the vegetables are tender.
Prepare your desired pasta just before the vegetables are finished
Stir into the vegetables:
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan Cheese