Eggplant, Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dip


I knew I would like this dip, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it.  For a quick snack I ate some with pita chips, then later I ate some on a sandwich with arugula and thinly sliced red onion (prosciutto and fresh mozzarella would have been good additions as well).  This dip has so much flavor packed into every bite, also making a perfect appetizer for drinks with friends.  This recipe makes 1 c, I suggest doubling the recipe for more than 3 people.

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Eggplant, Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dip
1 baby eggplant, chopped
3 garlic cloves in skins
1/4 c sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
1 tbs oil from sun dried tomatoes
6 basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350.  Place chopped eggplant on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt until evenly coated.  Place garlic cloves in aluminum foil with a bit of olive oil and salt, then seal and place on baking sheet with eggplant.  Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes.

Carefully remove garlic from skins then place in a food processor with cooled eggplant.  Add sun dried tomatoes, oil, and basil.  Pulse until smooth.  Spoon into a small bowl or ramekin then serve with pita chips or sliced veggies.


Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto


I’m not sure why, but I rarely think to serve pasta as a side dish, unless of course it’s pasta salad.  That being said, it has to be done to drown out the boredom that comes from alternating rice and potatoes.  There’s only so many times you can eat oven fries, even though they are quite amazing.

This dish can be served hot, warm, luke warm, cool, or cold and still be delicious; and as a side dish or a main course.  It’s so versatile that it’s hard to find a reason not to like it.  You could even just try the pesto as a sandwich spread, which will take a boring turkey sandwich to the top of the lunch pyramid.  That may sound a bit dramatic, but I dare you to try it then hold in your excitement.  #Notpossible #Soyummy

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Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
3.5 ounces sun dried tomatoes and oil
1/2 c basil
2 tbs walnuts
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c chicken/veggie broth
1/2 lb spaghetti

In a food processor combine sun dried tomatoes and oil, basil, walnuts, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper.  Pulse until smooth like pesto, set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, reserve 1/2 c of starchy pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, shallots, and thinly sliced garlic.  Cook until mushrooms start to brown, 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, and turn heat to high.  Add wine and broth, let sauce reduce by half. Take skillet off the heat, add cooked spaghetti and pesto.  Use reserved starchy pasta water to loosen pesto as needed.

Italian Franks and Beans


Let’s say your name is “Steve” and you love hot dogs and beans, but your wife, let’s call her “Janet” could do without them.  What do you do? You compromise, after all that’s what marriage is all about, and make this adult version of hot dogs and beans.  At the thought of it you might feel like you’re throwing in the towel, but with one bite you’ll realize you’ve never been more wrong.

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Italian Franks and Beans
1 lb sweet italian sausage
4 c leeks, about 3 or 4 leeks, chopped
2 15.5 oz cans of cannellini beans
1/4 c sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 c arugula, chopped

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add sausages and cook until brown on all sides and cooked through, about 10 -12 minutes.  In a separate skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.  Add cannellini beans, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes, cook for another 5 minutes then remove from heat.  Add lemon juice and zest, and arugula; mix to combine.  Portion beans onto plates along with sliced italian sausage, enjoy!